A Foreign Wedding

A Foreign Wedding

A foreign wedding can be exciting and so different! Your surroundings are likely to be beautiful and even exotic. You can probably look forward to better weather than the UK will provide. The atmosphere will be a holiday one, and that can add to the occasion. People will have a chance to get together before the wedding in a relaxed way, and get to know each other.

What’s not to like?!

A foreign wedding may make one set of family and friends very happy. It means that your honeymoon starts even before the wedding!

On the debit side, cost, travel and accommodation arrangements for yourself are likely to be an issue. Even more so if you are looking after your guests’ arrangements.

And which guests do you invite, anyway?

Language may be an element that works against you, especially if the wedding co-ordinator does not speak good English. Making arrangements at a distance can be difficult anyway.

Who are you paying for? Is it just yourselves? Perhaps it’s you and your close families? Maybe you’re paying for your guests’ accommodation? And meals?

Are you going to arrange a subsequent ceremony, like a wedding blessing, for those left behind in this country?

There’s a lot to consider, so planning a foreign wedding is not a step to be taken lightly, appealing as it may well be.


You’ll have to decide how long before the wedding you arrive at your destination. Allow time to recover from the journey, and long enough to sort things out with the wedding co-ordinator (if you have one). You may also want to arrange a rehearsal.


You need to make contact with the co-ordinator at an early date. Have a look at the ceremony space, and then the reception area. Do (or will) they have everything you need and asked for? Can you arrange a rehearsal (if required)?

Check that all suppliers are confirmed (celebrant, catering, photographer, make-up, florist etc.).

You may be in charge of your guests’ arrangements. How will they get from the airport or station to the hotel? Are the rooms booked? And meals?

Every wedding will be different. Nonetheless, I hope this will be useful as a starting-point before you decide whether a foreign wedding really is for you.

Destination Weddings

Destination Weddings

Destination weddings sound fairy-tale, and tend to be fabulous. Most of us can only dream of one. They are mostly for the very rich only.

Actually, the “average” ceremony may have the same elements as a foreign one, but will probably be less ambitious and cost a lot less.

However, one thing that unites a more modest and a destination wedding is the ceremony. Whether religious, part-religious or secular, somebody will have to be hired to officiate.

I was lucky enough to be the civil celebrant at a Cyprus wedding a couple of weeks ago.

So how was that wedding different from the ones I usually tend to be associated with?

Same old, same old …?

In terms of preparing the ceremony, I worked with the couple as I normally would. We had a preliminary meeting, and I found out what sort of ceremony they were looking for and we exchanged ideas. Some of these would gradually be refined, but now we had the skeleton to start the process off.

Over the months, we exchanged some calls and texts, but the main business was an exchange of e-mails making amendments to the initial draft. We settled on a final text (well, almost “final”!) in good time.

Partly because of rehearsal time, we kept in more frequent touch in the last month.

On the day, I arrived an hour before the start time. I made contact with the relevant people (eg event planner, groom, etc.), a microphone was strapped on to me. Otherwise, it was just waiting around until the “off”. One unusual requirement was for me to read some Russian. Otherwise, the actual ceremony, though beautiful, was not really out of the ordinary.

(No photos of the ceremony because I had to sign a confidentiality agreement!)


The ceremony stood out, however, because of the setting and the astonishing floral decoration. Moreover, the entire 5-star hotel had been taken over by the wedding party, so eating, drinking, the ceremony and canapés, and the entertainment all took place in different parts of the beautiful hotel.

Hotel Anassa

Obviously, the fact that I was flown out, fed and accommodated for a couple of days was different from conducting a wedding in Harrow. (I didn’t stay at the 5-star hotel, tragically – though I was given a studio in a 3-star hotel, which, I confess, was more than acceptable!)

So why a “destination wedding”?

Is it worth paying a vast amount, when a destination wedding (in most cases) gets you the same basic elements as many an “ordinary” wedding will offer? You end up with a similar ceremony, maybe canapés, a meal and drinks, flowers, caterers, entertainers, etc.

However, the extra cash should provide peace of mind (with a professional wedding planner to do the big tasks and also look after hiccups) and quality – whether of venue, food, supplier or whatever. And this will make a difference.

My own small experience of destination weddings has left me more than willing to head out and conduct more!