Getting married abroad was no easy smooth ride.
It certainly was not an easy choice to make, going abroad and doing something so special with no friends or family surrounding us, sharing in the event. In the light of all the pros and cons, the fact that it perfectly suited myself and Lee and our relationship was the only reason to jump in head first.
The plan was for everyone to come out with us, but then certain important members could not travel, and unable to find anything as special or as unique as NYC, one Monday we booked it and bam! We were getting married in 6 months.
Considering I am an incredibly organised person, I certainly decided to leave planning for the big day to the last minute.
For anyone thinking about taking the plunge in eloping abroad or wanted to get a few ideas, here are my top tips for planning a destination wedding:
First thing first, get your budget in order before you even get browsing. There is no point in looking at something that is an absolute dream if there is no way you can afford it. Consider everything, the actual cost of the wedding/ holiday, the cost of the traditional wedding bits, spending money, purchasing things to actually travel, legal fees. So many things crept up on me at the last minute so thank god I had a bit of money saved to one side just in case.
The next thing is to consider the legality of it all- will your marriage actually be legal? When looking though New York was always the first option, we did consider France as it was a little be easier for travelling. However when looking into it, your marriage is not actually legal unless you live in the country for 30 consecutive days (which work were never going to let me do) or you are marrying a French citizen (which Lee isn’t). Whilst we could have gone to the Registry Office once we were back in the UK or before, we really didn’t want to bother with that faff. Just consider it when looking at locations.
To make sure your marriage is legal, ensure you pack your paperwork. Almost all destinations require seeing your passport or your birth certificate. Pack them and keep them secure, I took ours through with my hand luggage and kept them locked in a safe at all times.
It is worth booking your wedding through a wedding planning company that specialises in this area. A wedding planner is essential. We book our wedding through Virgin Weddings and we had our own wedding planner and holiday assistant for any questions or concerns we had. Our flights, hotel, transfers and ceremony were taken care of and they kept us informed of any documents we needed to fill out.
Think about your luggage situation. I can garauntee that you are 100% not going to want to put your wedding dress in your check in luggage. You can purchase special boxes to put your wedding dress in but honestly, the cheapest I saw was for £35.00. For even less I got a super nice hard shell cabin suitcase and my dress travelled to and from the airport with ease.
While you are out there, get copies of your marriage licence. This was the one thing I didn’t do and now I am seriously regretting this. For things like my passport and driving license I require copies as companies do not accept the original and as the UK does not hold records of my marriage I am not having to work out how to get them from the New York City Clerk Office If anyone knows, do let me know.
A main thing to think about is where your hotel location is. If you are getting married in the hotel you are staying in, then you have no problem, but if you are needing to travel to your location then think about how far and how easy it is to get to. We got married in Central Park and our hotel was mid- town so not too far to travel to our ceremony.
I hope you enjoyed these tips; so let me know if they helped or if you require any additional information- I would be happy to answer any questions you have.