If you mention weddings abroad, people think of destination weddings. There is no doubt that that is a very important sector. In fact, it seems to be growing in popularity all the time.
But “destinations” can be somewhat less exotic than many people imagine. This is usually because the venue choice is determined by where the family of one of the families is based. It may also be because the couple work in different countries and have to opt for one.
Weddings abroad, however exotic the location, bring a major problem in their wake. If you’re getting married in a foreign country, what do you do about those guests who can’t be there?
With a genuine destination wedding, there are various options available.
In some cases, you ensure (as much as possible) that the people you really want to attend actually get there by organising and paying for their flights, transfers and hotel. You need to start planning this well in advance, so your guests can make sure they are available. Then it’s a question of organising the flights and hotel. Whether you use a travel agent or do it yourself, of course it isn’t going to come cheap!
However, you will be surrounded by your choice of people on your big day, and how do you put a price on that?
The other possibility is to give details and plenty of warning, but not do most (or any) of the financing. You leave your guests to sort out their travel and reservations. That way, they have the option to turn their trip into a holiday and stay out there as long as they want.
The longer they have to consider this (ie to ensure they can be free and can budget for it), and the more information you can send them in advance, the better.
Other Weddings Abroad
As a celebrant, I conduct a number of weddings where this is one of two ceremonies that the couple will be having.
For example, Lucy and Dave got married (in a small legal ceremony) on a Greek island. A month later, in London, I conducted what, to all intents and purposes, was their wedding. Everyone knew they were married already, and this was more of a ceremony of blessing, but as most guests had been unable to attend the original wedding, this was a perfect solution.
Of course, this idea of a “wedding blessing” (call it what you will) can work well after a destination wedding too.
Tania and Magnus decided to have their official ceremony in Windsor. After the registrars had legally married them (in one room), they had the ceremony of their dreams in another chamber. A lot of Swedes (from Magnus’s side, obviously) came over, but they did have the option of attending a small ceremony in Sweden too, if they had been unable to get to London.
Sometimes, people choose an intimate ceremony abroad. I am conducting a wedding for a Greek couple in London, where there will only be a dozen guests. Once they are legally married, they will return to Greece and mark the occasion in a different way for those who didn’t come.
So there are ways round the problem of accommodating those who can’t attend a wedding abroad, and these can be simply stunning.