The Planning Checklist for Getting Married Abroad

The Planning Checklist for Getting Married Abroad

Getting married abroad is a really exciting prospect for many couples, but the admin can feel a bit overwhelming at times. Don’t let the management of the big day get in the way of all the fun you should be having. Our planning checklist for getting married abroad will help you along the planning process and help to remind you of what needs doing, so you can relax and enjoy the finer things.



Selecting your wedding abroad destination. You may have had a destination long held dear. Some couples choose to make their vows where they first met, where they spent a treasured holiday or at the scene of the proposal. Other couples simply feel a wedding abroad is the right thing for them and there starts their decision-making process. With so many options available, the Luxury Wedding Guide by GHM hotels is a good place to start. It includes some amazing destinations and spectacular venues, with hotels to match. It is definitely worth taking a look through their four inspiring destination recommendations before committing.

Screenshot 2015-11-18 08.23.43

Image Source: GHM Hotels


Legal & Residency Requirements

Probably the most important aspect of getting married overseas. You must be aware of how you plan to get married there, and the venue options available from beaches and hotels to churches and courts. Many couples get married legally in their home country and opt for a symbolic ceremony in their chosen country as a celebration.

Contact the Foreign Embassy or Consulate to confirm the legal and residency

requirements for your chosen country. They will be able to help you and advise you on any travel and legal documents you will need. It is important to investigate time-frames and required steps that need to be completed prior to your wedding. Make sure you are clear on the marriage laws and requirements before you book anything.

Screenshot 2015-11-18 08.23.50

Image Source: GHM Hotels


Set A Date

Decide what time of year you would like to get married and select a preferred date. Some countries boast year-round sunshine and can be enjoyed any season. Other more changeable climates would require some initial research to check you won’t be wading through the wash of a tropical storm season in your wedding dress!

Guest List

Speak to guests as soon as possible so you can get an idea of numbers. This will be a great help when speaking to wedding planners, tour operators and suppliers, as the number of guests will influence the options available to you. Save-the-dates and invitations should go out as early as possible for weddings abroad, as people will need to save for the flights, book time off work and, if applicable, make arrangements for childcare. We would recommend you send your save-the-dates 9-12 months before, for a destination wedding and follow up with your formal invitation 3 months prior to the big day.

Screenshot 2015-11-18 08.24.03

Image Source: Flickr



Wedding Planners

If you are getting married abroad, quite often a wedding planner will be assigned to you. This will help as you have someone on the ground in your destination at all times to co-ordinate the day on your behalf.

Extra Celebrations

When you are hosting a destination wedding, you may wish to entertain your guests for the few days prior and post wedding. Rehearsals are commonplace, but this will need to be planned and should you wish your wedding party to all be present, you must not forget to mention this early, before they book their travel arrangements.

Pre-wedding day meals and post-wedding meals are a lovely way to spend some quality time with your family and friends who have travelled to spend your special day with you. They will appreciate being involved as much as you will their support and friendship. Sightseeing for guests is another option, especially if you are getting married close to some interesting tourism sites. The hotel’s concierge should be able to arrange any excursions for you.

Wedding Suppliers

Do you need any additional suppliers? This may be managed by your wedding planner, but if you are taking care of all the elements yourself, this may serve as a handy checklist:

  • Ceremony venue
  • Celebrant / priest
  • Reception venue
  • Caterer
  • Florist
  • Wedding cake
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Musicians
  • Transportation for wedding party
  • Hairdresser
  • Make-up artist
  • Beauty therapist

Screenshot 2015-11-18 08.24.11

Image Source: Flickr



Find the ceremony type to suit you and your partner. Blessing and Commitment ceremonies are the most common for weddings abroad. They are not legal ceremonies, but a romantic celebration of your vow to one another. Legal ceremonies abroad will require legal paperwork and may call for one, or both of the wedding couple to be a resident of your chosen country. Religious and cultural ceremonies can be beautiful and some countries are more than happy for you to celebrate using their customs and embrace their culture on your special day.

Venues available will depend on the chosen ceremony, but there are often a plethora of options open to you. Once this is decided, you can then plan the personal elements of the ceremony by selecting any music, readings and vows.

Screenshot 2015-11-18 08.24.17

Image Source: GHM Hotels




Decide where to host your reception, from relaxed beach front venues, to glitzy hotel dining rooms, the options are endless. Some venues offer packages where guests can enjoy canapés by the pool before being shown through to the dining room for the wedding meal, and then finally being directed to the evenings entertainment venue. Make the most of your chosen destination and embrace everything it has to offer.

Food & Entertainment

Drinks reception, canapés, wedding meal; enjoy planning the food and drink for your wedding. This will be one of the main focusses of the day and it’s always nice to see your guests enjoying the meal. A great way to embrace your wedding abroad is to include some local cuisine in your wedding meal, and celebrating your chosen destination.

Music plays an important role at any wedding. Ask your planner for recommendations on local bands for some enlivening live music, or set-up a playlist of your favourite songs.

Screenshot 2015-11-18 08.24.23

Image Source: Flickr



Once you have made it through the planning process, there’s just one more list!


  • Passports
  • Marriage documents
  • Plane tickets
  • Insurance documents
  • Wedding attire
  • Wedding rings
  • Speeches
  • Cameras

Wishing you every happiness in your marriage and a wonderful wedding day!

Screenshot 2015-11-18 08.24.30

Image Source: GHM Hotels