Getting Married Abroad – What will it cost?

What Not to do when Planning a Wedding Abroad - By The Bridal Consultant

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The cost of getting married abroad will vary greatly based on your chosen destination, Greece is an excellent value for money destination, along with Turkey and Malta. There are the destinations that are obviously more expensive, such as the luxury hotspot of Santorini Greece and the Lakes in Italy. (after all it’s where all the celebs like Clooney go.)

The cost will also depend on what style of wedding you would like to have, a simple low key wedding ceremony for 2 with candlelit dinner on the beach is going to be much more cost effective than a hiring a private beach followed by BBQ dinner for 40 in Greece.

The above is obvious yes, but it’s important to consider your budget before embarking on your venue search.

There’s no point looking at Lake Garda Weddings if you have a tight budget and 80 guests to host. Being honest from the outset will save a lot of frustration and time in the long run.

Consider too, that size doesn’t always relate to cost. For example we’ve planned very beautiful and luxurious weddings for smaller more intimate parties and amazing larger scale weddings on a budget, you just need to manage your expectations and be honest about what you can and cannot afford.

So the second in our series of articles focuses on the both the cost of getting married abroad and setting a budget that will give you the wedding of your dreams but not ‘break the bank’ in the process.

Our team are always available to chat about your wedding and help you figure out the cost of getting married abroad in your dream destination or venue. We’ve planned over 1600 weddings now so we know a thing or two about what’s realistic and possible.

If your budget wont stretch to the destination you have in mind then we may know another destination that may be similar and give you a similar experience. It’s all about defining what is most important to you both.

So first lets look at figuring out what you can afford to save and spend.

‘Overall we spent around £18k which is over what we originally planned to spend. However, this also included the rental of the whole villa for 5 days, making it excellent value relative to a UK wedding’ Jessica and David married in Tuscany, Italy.
Santorini Table Decoration

How to Budget for a wedding abroad

I’ve always believed the key to a stress free wedding abroad is being realistic and honest about your budget. At the Bridal Consultant we plan weddings with varying budgets, big and small, but no matter the budget for a wedding abroad, you still need to decide what the budget is AND more importantly, decide the budget before you start planning.

Here to help are some easy calculations to work out a budget for a wedding abroad.

  1. How much can you save each month between now and the wedding day, remember that final balances could need to be settled 8 to 12 weeks in advance. Try not to overextend yourself financially and give up all social activities and annual holidays, you may end up resenting it.
  2. Speak to parents or family, will anyone contribute to the wedding financially?
  3. Whilst we’d never recommend it we’ve had clients in the past take out loans to help pay for their wedding, if you’re considering a loan then this is the time to start looking for the best possible rates. Make sure you consider interest rates and how long you’ll be paying the loan back for AFTER the big day.

We love this tool from Brides Magazine, for working out your budget, although it’s developed for a UK wedding many of the suppliers are very similar when working out the cost for getting married abroad. You can simply ignore anything that doesn’t apply.

Even once you’ve calculated your budget for a wedding abroad, it’s important to realise there may still be compromises to make along the way, this happens even with the largest budgets we’ve worked with. The cost of getting married abroad varies just as much as our expectations.

I think it’s our human nature to want more and the best of everything, so before you start planning your wedding consider;

At some point you may need to compromise.

Unless you’re budget is unlimited (don’t we all wish) at some point in your planning journey you’ll have to make a decision on where to allocate portions of your budget as it may not stretch to everything you’ve want, it could be to have all the flowers and decoration that you want you have to forgo the amazing photographer you’d planned.

When it comes to allocating the budget for a wedding abroad I suggest taking time to consider what parts of the day really mean the most to you both,  of course you want your guests to be comfortable and have the most amazing experience,  but this shouldn’t be at the expense of having the day of your dreams. You’ll likely find most guests will never have attended a wedding abroad before, they’ll be so overwhelmed by the excitement of it all, they wont notice if you haven’t spent 1000’s on floral decoration.

Dream weddings come in all shapes and sizes, so list your priorities and make sure you give most attention and the biggest portion of your budget to where it matters most.

Be realistic from the outset.

Don’t get carried away looking at 5 star hotels in Italy if your budget won’t stretch.  Whilst there may be ways to save and still have the luxury venue, consider how much you may be compromising if you don’t have anything left in the pot to decorate or add entertainment.

Be realistic about how far your budget will stretch. Weddings abroad can be cheaper than the UK but you still get what you pay for! Make sure you understand all the conditions before you decide on a venue, for example if the price of your ‘private beach’ wedding seems too good to be true make sure it truly is private.

Set your budget based on your guest numbers.

As most budgets for a wedding abroad aren’t flexible, be careful not to let your guest list balloon once you’ve booked the venue.

Don’t invite 100 people hoping that only 50 will accept, it’s a dangerous tactic and it’s caught many a couple out. Don’t be afraid of capping your guest list to a number that you can  comfortably afford. You can always blame it on the venue not being big enough….they’ll never know.

Once you have your budget for a wedding abroad you’ll want to stretch it as far as possible so here are some tips to do this.

Intimate weddings abroad by The Bridal Consultant

6 Tips for stretching your budget for a wedding abroad.

  1. If you really want the 5 star venue but you’re struggling to make the budget work then consider reducing your guests list, most of your budget will go towards venue hire, food and drinks so having a smaller wedding will naturally reduce your budget. But make sure the compromise is worth it.
  2. Most venues abroad enjoy amazing settings (it’s one of the main reasons we go abroad), it could be the view, a beautiful beach or a pretty vineyard so make most of it and cut back on the decoration, simple is often very beautiful.
  3. When deciding on what to feed your guests it’s worth noting that buffets are not always cheaper than set menus(like in the UK), especially if you’re a large party, so always compare set and buffet menu prices, find out which is the most cost effective. As long as the food is good quality and tasty then I’m sure guests wont mind how it comes.
  4. Most weddings abroad take place later in the day due to the heat, so don’t worry about adding canapés, especially if guests will be eating an hour or so after the ceremony.
  5. Go for local champagne or sparkling wine instead of expensive champagne, will anyone even notice?
  6. Does your venue have a sound system? If yes, not take your own music and curate your own playlist. Ask guests in their invites for their favourite dance songs to make sure everyone guests up to dance at some point in the evening.
  7. Go DIY with your decoration, table plans and invites for example can be easily transported, if you’re not particularly creative then get some friends involved. Word of warning, before you consider taking LOTS of decoration make sure you research courier costs and that someone is at the receiving end to collect it for you. Not all venues will store items of decoration if they don’t have space or insurance for it. I think our largest courier parcel sent by a client to date was 13 KILOS!
  8. Consider booking in the less popular or low season months, venues often offer discounts or different terms during these months.

Always remember why you’re getting married in the first place, try not to get lost in overwhelm trying to please everyone and stressing about the things you can’t afford.

I promise your guests will have such an amazing experience they won’t even notice.

I hope this helps you plan your budget for a wedding abroad, if you have any suggestions or tips of your own that you would like to share please contact us on [email protected]

Other articles in this series

To read the first in our series of articles to help you with getting married abroad click here.

To read about choosing the best venue abroad for your wedding click here

For more information about our services please click here

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