How Brexit might affect your wedding
With the looming Brexit deadline, many couples are reviewing how this major change could affect their wedding day. During 2019, nearly 1 in 3 couples felt that Brexit had made their wedding more expensive. A further 30% said Brexit had put them off a destination wedding. Whether you’re marrying in the UK or abroad, we’ve put together advice on how Brexit could affect your wedding preparations…
If you’re marrying in the UK, the cost of importing goods from abroad will be more expensive for wedding businesses. As a result, brides and grooms may end up paying the difference.
Food and drink
One of the areas likely to see changes is the hospitality industry, due to an increase in the cost of food and drink. Depending on the Brexit deal, food prices could rise between 6 and 10%, which could have a significant impact on your wedding catering and alcohol budget! However, while there could be an increase in costs for imported items such as Champagne, you could take this as an opportunity to use cheaper alternatives, such as English sparkling wine.
Changes to import paperwork and increased border checks could result in longer delivery times than before Brexit. For example, about 80% of the flowers sold in the UK are imported from the Netherlands. As a result, the British Flower Association (BFA) predicts that, if there is a no-deal Brexit, UK florists could have 50% fewer fresh flowers to sell. Border delays may make it harder for florists to import flowers into the UK, and may extend delivery times. We’d recommend discussing options for using locally grown flowers with your wedding florist. Not only will this give you peace of mind, but it’s kinder on the environment!
European Destination Weddings
Cyprus, Italy, and Greece are incredibly popular wedding destinations, and we doubt that will change any time soon. Luckily, Brexit won’t change the validity of overseas weddings, but problems may arise with budgets and paperwork, and we know couples and their guests are concerned about long queues.
One immediate impact of Brexit has been on the exchange rate. This means that couples planning destination weddings may see a rise in the sterling cost of their wedding. Even a small fluctuation in the exchange rate can impact your costs, and could put you over your wedding budget.
A way to combat any exchange rate fluctuation is to open a Euro bank account and put regular amounts in over time to lessen the effect of the fluctuations. Alternatively, you can keep an eye on the exchange rate and transfer large chunks into this account when the exchange rate is good. Be aware though – the more payments you make, the more the charges will add up! Regardless of what you do, make sure to budget a little extra than you normally would for a European destination wedding, just in case.
This will vary by wedding destination, but couples definitely need to do their homework post-Brexit. One area to take particular note of is apostille stamps. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issues apostille stamps to prove to other countries that the stamped document is an official UK document. A lot of European countries already require these, but others have changed in preparation for Brexit. Malta, for example, now requires that some paperwork have apostille stamps. Apostille document stamping usually costs £120, which is definitely something to factor into your wedding budget. However, it’s definitely worth paying when the alternative is invalid paperwork and no wedding!
Passports in Europe are split into two areas: Schengen and non-Schengen. The Schengen area allows free travel without needing border and passport checks. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the UK will be considered a ‘third-country’ by countries in the Schengen area, so UK passports will need to have been issued within 10 years and have at least six months left from date of arrival. When it comes to the Non-Schengen area, such as Cyprus, these should have the same passport requirements as the Schengen area after Brexit. However, government advice isn’t currently concrete on this matter.
Visa changes will depend largely on if there is a deal or no-deal Brexit. If there is a no-deal Brexit, British citizens should not need visas for short stays of up to 90 days in the Schengen area. However, you may need to provide evidence of sufficient funds and a return or onward ticket. If the UK leaves with a deal, Brits will be able to travel visa-free in the Schengen area until at least the end of the transition period in 2020. After that, experts predict that EU and the UK will reach a reciprocal agreement with no visa required. If the country is in the EU but not part of the Schengen area, the official government advice is currently very vague. So, you may need to incorporate visa costs into your wedding budget and consider that cost for guests.
With all of the paperwork changes, we would recommend checking out the official government website for comprehensive details before you travel.
With all these paperwork issues complicating travel, you may see a reduction in guests able to make your destination wedding. You might even end up limiting guest lists yourself to cut costs! In 2019, destination wedding guest numbers have still averaged 50-80 guests, so the appeal of a holiday in the sun might combat any significant drop in wedding guest numbers.
A potential, sneaky extra cost is roaming charges for mobile phone data. In 2017, all abroad roaming charges for mobile phone users ended. However, when we leave the EU, those charges could come back with a vengeance. So when you’re booking wedding venues abroad, check that they have good WiFi!
Of course, it’s impossible to accurately predict what planning a wedding will look like in a post-Brexit world, but hopefully these points can help you feel prepared. We know that the vast majority of brides won’t be affected, but we recommend keeping an eye on the news and official government advice, particularly if you’re planning a destination wedding.
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