A Guide to Destination Weddings Post-Lockdown
Depending on where you are heading, overseas travel may be restricted. So, destination weddings and honeymoons may seem difficult to plan or even consider! But, many couples are still dreaming of an overseas location for their special day and, as the country unlocks, are feeling more confident about booking. So, we explored how planning a wedding abroad might look post-lockdown as well as the top overseas wedding destinations.
Weddings abroad, although currently with a limited guest list, are possible again. Confidence is increasing thanks to gradual unlocking, vaccine rollouts and covid testing requirements before you arrive in different countries. However, for international travel, you must still consult the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office travel advice for your destination. So, with all these aspects in mind, here we have some top tips for planning an overseas wedding as we come out of lockdown.
Hire a wedding planner or travel agent to assist you
Before you look at the rest of our list, you might want to consider finding someone to help you. Planning a wedding is tricky at the best of times, let alone an overseas wedding during COVID! Wedding planners will usually have the expertise to help you plan a wedding overseas and can assist in researching the legalities, documentation and restrictions. There are also individuals who are experts in travel. These people can assist you in finding and planning the perfect wedding abroad or honeymoon, such as Rachel Tredwell at Not Just Travel. They can listen to your dreams, take your budget into consideration and then go away and plan your dream destination wedding or honeymoon for you! So, you can minimise your wedding planning stress. However, if you want to do it yourself, here are some key points to consider.
Prepare for the legalities
Your destination wedding won’t be valid if you haven’t got your paperwork in order! When getting married abroad, you might need certain documents from the UK government. You’ll also need to contact the local authorities where you want to get married to find out what you need to do. This can vary from country to country so be sure to check the exact requirements for your wedding destination. You can use this government tool.
We would also advise you to purchase travel insurance as well as wedding insurance. However, this may be more difficult due to the current impact of coronavirus. Also, following the UK leaving the EU on January 1st 2021, visiting Europe may require extra checks and requirements. You can check what countries and travel elements may be affected by these changes here. Ensuring you fully understand all the regulations and have all paperwork in order is where a specialist wedding planner might be useful!
EHIC and GHIC Cards
If you are getting married or honeymooning in Europe, it may be sensible to consider getting a GHIC card. This is the UK Global Health Insurance Card; it allows you to get healthcare in Europe at a reduced cost or sometimes for free.
Many of you may already have a valid UK-issued European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) card. If this applies to you, your EHIC card is still valid and offers the same cover as GHICs in EU countries until it expires. Once your EHIC has expired, you’ll need to apply for a GHIC to replace it.
Please remember, the GHIC and EHIC cards are not a replacement for travel insurance and it is recommended to get travel insurance before going abroad.
Consider your choices carefully
COVID-19 has had a considerable impact on the hospitality industry across the globe. So, it is possible that your choices may be limited for the time being. For example, venue closures or limited dates, as well as government restrictions in different countries, may significantly alter your decisions. So, keep on top of your chosen destinations restrictions and be prepared to adjust your plans so you can get married abroad safely.
We’ve all learned that coronavirus restrictions can change overnight. So, make sure you check the travel advice right up to your date of departure. You might also want to prepare a backup plan in case you have to either postpone your wedding or honeymoon or if you get stuck in your wedding destination!
Top Wedding Destinations
There are certain countries which are always incredibly popular with couples looking for a wedding abroad. Here, we have included all popular countries, regardless of their current status, so you can make an informed decision as to your destination. So, we have included why these countries are popular as well as where you can find the information on the legalities of getting married in each country and any current COVID-19 protocols that are in place.
Looking for a specific country? Find it quickly below:
- The Caribbean
- New Zealand
From the Great Barrier Reef to the rugged outback, Australia has every possible backdrop you could want, including stunning beaches! Australia has five major cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, and Brisbane, which are all located on or near the coast. The expansive coastline boasts countless beach wedding locations, as well as upscale eateries influenced by Europe, Asia, and homegrown spicing. And don’t forget to sample the local, world-class wines!
The Caribbean remains the most popular part of the world for destination weddings. With beautiful clear blue water and sandy beaches, the Caribbean islands make idyllic and romantic locations to say ‘I do’. Each has its own personality and unique culture. So, it’s worth looking at the options and choosing the right island for you. However, these are some of the more popular choices…
Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda is one of the most popular destinations for overseas weddings. The twin-island nation boasts some of the most beautiful vistas in the Caribbean. Many stunning buildings remain from the colonial era, giving couples many incredible venues. In fact, Antigua and Barbuda have been voted as the Caribbean’s most romantic destination for the past 5 years. It’s certainly easy to see why!
Take a look at the legalities of getting married in Antigua and Barbuda and check the latest travel advice for Antigua and Barbuda.
The Bahamas is an incredibly popular wedding destination due to its sunny weather and mesmerising blue waters. There are 30 inhabited islands in the Bahamian archipelago plus some stunning deserted cays. You can enjoy complete privacy by renting your own island, or host hundreds of your favourite people at a mega-resort! Nassau and Paradise Island are two of the most touristy destinations, while more remote areas such as Harbor Island and the Exumas tend to feel more relaxed.
The west coast of Barbados is often referred to as the ‘Gold Coast’ which is hardly surprising when there are so many miles of beautiful golden sandy beaches. Here you will find a tropical landscape complete with sandy coves, calm turquoise waters, and excellent water sports. Barbados has a bit of everything, from a famously chilled-out vibe to thriving nightlife! So, whether you want pure relaxation on a sandy beach or something more adventurous, Barbados is a romantic and thrilling wedding destination.
Croatia’s popularity as a wedding destination has increased in recent years. The epitome of Mediterranean beauty, Croatia has a breathtaking coastline with over 1,000 islands surrounded by crystal clear waters, perfect for a beach wedding. Cast your eyes to the old town of Dubrovnik, filled with charm, baroque churches, palaces, and sea-view terraces, which make for a truly magical day.
Basking in the Mediterranean sun, Cyprus is one of the most popular wedding locations in the world! Nicknamed ‘the island of love’, it boasts breathtaking beaches, picturesque coastal villages, and fantastic food. The island is also famed for its romantic atmosphere, helped by the presence of Aphrodite’s Rock in Paphos, said to be the birthplace of the Greek goddess of love. Cyprus is absolutely perfect for couples dreaming of a romantic beach wedding followed by partying the night away at a fun-filled wedding reception!
Dubai truly is a city with luxury and unparalleled romance and this is reflected in their incredible destination wedding venues. It is the perfect place for couples wanting an exotic escape for their wedding of any size. As Dubai has grown to become one of the world’s most popular air travel hubs, many couples are choosing this destination if they have guests coming to their wedding from different parts of the globe.
You can have your wedding in the splendour of some of the most luxurious hotels in the United Arab Emirates, such as the Address Downtown and the Armani Hotel Dubai. Or, you can say your vows on the spectacular stretches of white sand on the famed Jumeirah Beach. A Dubai wedding is like no other.
In a country famed for love, good food, wine, and romance, there’s no doubt that you will find the perfect wedding venue in France. Many couples dream of a romantic, fairy-tale wedding and France has something to suit everyone. Whether you wish to wed in the romantic surroundings of Paris, the spectacular setting of the Alps, or on the relaxing Riviera, you won’t be short of choice for your dream destination wedding.
Greece’s unique history and mythology help to create a wonderfully romantic atmosphere that enchants couples from all over the world. With the Ionian Sea sparkling in the distance, a Greek wedding on the golden sands of Greece’s beaches will be divine. From a romantic escape inside an acropolis to villas overlooking the Aegean Sea, the locations that you can choose from are endless. Also, the stunning weather, relaxed Mediterranean charm, wonderful cuisine, and breathtaking scenery make it easy to fall in love with Greece.
With beautiful Irish castles, rustic barns, and chic country houses, Ireland offers some magical wedding venues. From romantic, idyllic, and picturesque settings to an abundance of green pastures, Ireland is enchanting and wild, offering an impeccably beautiful setting for any wedding.
Italy’s sun, sea, style, and sumptuous cuisine make this country a magical wedding destination. Italy provides magical wedding venues from the snowy Alpine north, the romantic and alluring Venetian canals, to the sun-kissed sandy beaches of Sardinia. Marrying in the ‘land of love’ is an obvious choice as Italy is one of the most gorgeous and romantic places on the planet.
As a Mediterranean country, Malta has all of the things that make an appealing wedding destination. The sun, the sea, and the relaxed atmosphere are perfect for couples seeking an idyllic overseas wedding. Whether you choose to wed on the main island or either of its two other inhabited islands, you can be sure that Malta will provide you with a wonderful wedding day.
Mexico boasts several perfect wedding destinations. Los Cabos stretches along the southernmost coast of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula and is made up of a string of cosy hotels, winding horse trails, and white-sand beaches. Or, the coastal stretch of the Yucatan Peninsula along the Mexican Caribbean mixes ancient Mayan ruins with palm-fringed beaches to give your wedding a real tropical feel. Whether you want to relax or have an adventure, Mexico is an ideal wedding destination!
New Zealand is an incredibly magical country. So, where better to begin the ultimate romantic adventure? Choose the jaw-dropping, mountainous landscape of the South Island or the mystical and volcanic North Island. One thing is for certain, no matter which of its two main islands you visit, you can’t help but be struck by the natural beauty of the country. Widely considered to be one of the most spectacular environments in the world, the island nation has plenty in the way of amazing views, as well as a rich and wonderful culture, making it a great place to say ‘I do’.
Norway might not be the most obvious option for a destination wedding. However, Norway’s appeal lies in its stunning natural beauty. From gorgeous fjords to spectacular mountains, you won’t be short of staggering scenery for your wedding, making Norway one of the most picturesque places on Earth to get married.
Spain has been a long-time favourite wedding destination. The nation’s rich culture, amazing architecture, and diverse range of wedding opportunities all increase its allure. Of course, the gorgeous weather and sandy beaches certainly help! From the Andalusian coastal regions of the Mediterranean sea to the heart of Madrid, a wedding in Spain will be one to remember forever.
This exotic gem is filled with ornate palaces, tasty food, and rich wildlife. The beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and luxe resorts of destinations like Phuket and Koh Samui are why Thailand is an absolutely magnificent wedding destination. There is an incredible range of options when choosing a Thai wedding, with venues spanning from magnificent gold temples and tropical beaches, to rustic mountains and all-inclusive luxury resorts.
Turkey is an increasingly popular wedding destination. An exotic country straddling eastern Europe and western Asia with incredible history and architecture throughout. Resorts host thousands of beach weddings every year for couples seeking an idyllic location. The Blue Lagoon is an ideal place to tie the knot overlooking the mesmerising blue waters. Visit the borderline of Istanbul or head to the Roman ruins of Antalya for a wedding unlike any other.
Visit the UK Government website for more information about getting married overseas, as well as any impact that the pandemic might have on your travel plans.
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