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Nice day for a beach wedding

06 Jul 2011

Nice day for a beach wedding

Want a guaranteed sunny day for your wedding? Got your heart set on a snow-covered back-drop for your big day? Why not consider a destination wedding?

Marrying abroad is becoming increasingly popular. It can provide a romantic alternative in which the couple and a small number of close family or friends – or maybe completely alone – travel to an exotic location to marry and stay on for the honeymoon.

Family and friends left at home may feel excluded by the choice of an overseas wedding and it is therefore a good idea to have a celebration of some sort on the couple’s return.

Marriages in foreign countries are recognised in the United Kingdom if they do not contravene the laws of eligibility in the United Kingdom. If there is any doubt about the legal standing of a marriage, advice should be sought from the Home Office before any travel arrangements are made.

It is advisable to consult a doctor at least three months before leaving to find out which vaccinations and other medical precautions, such as malaria tablets, are necessary.

Tour operators

Many companies offer package deals which include combined wedding ceremonies and honeymoons. They produce specialised wedding brochures and a representative at the holiday destination who has specialist local knowledge and makes sure that everything runs smoothly. The tour company organises the ceremony and may also offer other services such as providing a wedding cake, photographer, or a celebratory meal. Using a tour operator avoids the problem of organising a wedding in a foreign country and having to deal with local officials.

The most popular destinations provided by tour operators include The West Indies, Seychelles, Thailand, Kenya and the Gambia.

Most tour operators ask for photocopies of the legal documents required, such as birth certificates, to be sent to them around two months before travelling. The original documents should be carried on the journey.

Wedding outfits

Choosing suitable clothes for a wedding overseas is an important consideration. Factors to consider include the degree of formality that the couple want and the local climate.

For practical reasons the dress should be easy to pack and crease resistant. Fabrics which contain Lycra keep their shape well and will require less ironing when unpacked.

For a wedding in a hot climate, such as a beach wedding in the Seychelles, natural fabrics like cotton, lace and linen are recommended. Silk blends are also acceptable, but pure silk is likely to be uncomfortably warm.

Short dresses are popular in the hot and informal atmosphere of a wedding abroad. If choosing a long dress it should be a light fabric. Closely fitted styles of dress are best avoided as they cause overheating. A train can be cumbersome and particularly inappropriate for a beach wedding, but a detachable train might be the answer if the bride has her heart set on it. This can be removed when it is likely to get dirty or wet. Halter-necks, spaghetti straps and off-the-shoulder styles are especially suitable for a hot climate.

The groom should wear a lightweight or linen suit, perhaps in a light colour. Although many grooms marry in morning suits or tuxedos, they can lead to overheating if worn during the hottest part of the day or for a long period.

Meanwhile, if you’re heading somewhere colder, then a cape with a fur-trimmed hood is ideal.

Legal requirements

It is important to find out the legal requirements (for example, is there a minimum period of stay in the country) and which documents are needed before making any travel arrangements. This can be done at the embassy or consulate, or the tour operator if booking with one of the specialist companies which organise weddings abroad.

Most countries will require birth certificates and passports and evidence of single status (eg divorce documents or death certificate of former spouse for people entering second marriages). The majority of countries also have minimum residency requirements before allowing a couple to marry. This is usually between one and seven days. Some countries have special requirements. In some states in America, for example, a blood test has to be taken before a wedding can proceed. In Bali couples have to belong to one of five religions recognised by the government.

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