Considerations for getting married as an expat abroad

With the (slow!) relaxation of travel restrictions, destination weddings are coming back into consideration. We welcome a guest article from Property Guides for some practical suggestions for the expat.

More than 5.5 million Brits now live overseas. With so much travel disruption over the last year, many have been unable to show off their home abroad to close friends and family. But, as international travel slowly restarts, your wedding day could be the perfect opportunity.

Before you decide on a destination wedding, there are a number of things to consider when planning your big day. The writers at Property Guides explain all…

Choosing where to wed

Often, the biggest consideration for expats living abroad is where to get married. Do you have the wedding in your new country, or will you travel back to the UK for the ceremony?

You’ll likely want as many friends and family at your big day as possible. If most of your guest list live back in the UK, it could be sensible to have the wedding there. Alternatively, if you have a smaller guest list (and guests that are willing to fly out!), getting married abroad can be a wonderful option. You’re almost always guaranteed great weather, whereas in the UK, even a wedding in the height of summer can be a gamble.  

It’s important to think about the financial side too. With the average UK wedding costing around £30,000, tying the knot abroad can be the cheaper option, especially if you already live there. Getting married overseas can save you money but remember that it could be costly for your guests. They will be expecting to pay for their own flight tickets and accommodation, so if you do choose a destination wedding, make sure there are affordable options for them.

Marriage laws abroad

If you think you’ll return to the UK in the future, it is important to make sure that your overseas marriage will be recognised and legal there too.

This sounds scary but as long as your marriage follows the laws of the country you marry in, then it should also be recognised in the UK. Don’t worry, your wedding celebrant will explain everything.

Spain is a popular location for destination weddings; however, it is actually quite tricky to get married there. To get wed in Spain, one of you must either be a Spanish citizen or have been a resident for two years. This includes the Spanish islands too. If you’re an expat who has residency, or you’re marrying a Spanish citizen, this shouldn’t be a problem.

If you and your partner don’t meet these criteria but still want to celebrate in the Spanish sun, a great way to get around this is to do the legal part in the UK but have the party in Spain.

Integrating cultures into your big day

As an expat living abroad, you’ll likely want your wedding day to reflect your new country’s culture as well as your British roots. And, if your partner is from your new country, it can be a lovely way to feel even closer to them.

Speak to your local friends or anyone who has grown up or got married in the country to get an idea of the traditions and customs that would be appropriate to adopt.

Combining cultures can make for a fun, and truly memorable, wedding day!