Planning an International Wedding? Follow These Tips

Erin Steiner is a regular contributor to WeddingChaplain.ca. When she isn’t writing here, she creates content and copy for clients all across the web.

There are lots of reasons to have an international or destination wedding. Who doesn’t love the idea of going somewhere beautiful with everyone you love? This is just one of the reasons the Huffington Post listed in its article “10 Reasons to Have a Destination Wedding.”

There are plenty of articles out there just like that one – articles that try to convince you that a destination or international wedding is the best thing ever. In this article, we’re going to make sure that, once you decide to hop the border for your marriage services, you’ve got the practical stuff covered.


The person you love the most in the place you love the most? Yes, please!

Do you have to have it somewhere specific?

Many international weddings happen because the couple is an international couple. When this is the case, it is common for the family of the “fiancé from far away” to insist upon having the wedding in their home country. If this is happening to you, try not to see this as limiting your options. Instead, try to see it as not having to decide where to have the wedding. Even better, you’ll have locals who can help you with the details you can’t take care of from across the world (or continent).

Where do you want to go?

If you aren’t limited to a specific place, you get to choose where you want your wedding to take place. Most people immediately plan on heading off to somewhere tropical, but if your budget is limited, you might want to try somewhere off the beaten path, like the Middle East. Yes, seriously.


Beautiful, right?

In spite of what you might see on the news, the Middle East is not entirely a war zone that is unfriendly to Westerners. There are many who live there and who represent the region, like Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba, who have worked hard to repair relationships with the West and to open up the different countries there for international tourism. This means that the resorts and hotels there are anxious for your business, which means that your budget will go much further with them than it would at a popular and highly sought-after tourist destination.

Other great destination locations include Australia, Asia and coastal regions of South America.

Work with an “all in” destination – the less coordinating you have to do, the better!

If you don’t know anybody who lives locally, trying to coordinate all of your wedding details is going to be a huge hassle. Instead of trying to do all of that yourself, either hire a local wedding planner or work with a resort or hotel that is well versed in international weddings and can take care of all of those details (like hiring a great local marriage officiant). That way, all you have to do is show up and get dressed.

The one caveat here is with your photographer. If you’ve done any research on international weddings, you have undoubtedly run across dozens of articles that insist that you need to hire your photographer at home and fly them out to the destination with you. Photography is too personal to leave up to someone else.

Make Sure You Have the Legal Stuff Covered

Your passport is just the beginning. Once you’ve figured out where your wedding will be held, make sure you follow all the local marriage laws of that destination. For example, you want to make sure that your marriage officiant is legally licensed to perform wedding ceremonies in your destination.

You also want to make sure that your wedding and marriage will meet your home country’s legal requirements. If you aren’t sure how to go about this, hire a lawyer who can help you navigate all of the systems with which you have to comply. This is not something you want to “wing.”

Finally, try not to freak out too much. Your marriage service is going to be perfect because it’s yours. What matters is that, at the end of the day, you are married to the person you love the most in the world. The rest is just extra frosting, isn’t it?

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