Getting married now costs a whopping £18,000, but is it cheaper to tie the knot abroad?

Getting married in the uk

When you consider the wild winter the UK’s been enduring, it’s little wonder that an increasing number of couples are opting to have their wedding in more temperate climes.

The prospect of saying your vows before a stunning sunset without having to resort to bad-weather backup plans is certainly appealing, and according to recent reports, as many as one in six marriages now take place abroad.

Cyprus, Greece, Las Vegas, Italy, St Lucia, Mauritius and Sri Lanka are among the most popular locations, but it isn’t just the weather which is drawing couples overseas – the hope of cutting costs is also a big motivator.

As wedding consultant Amy Symons observes; ‘There are lots of plus points to getting married abroad. Couples can choose from a wider range of venues, they can enjoy luxurious extras for a fraction of the cost and they can quarter their guest list. When you get married abroad you have a completely legitimate reason for not inviting your great aunt’s first cousin, and a smaller guest list means less expense.’

In the UK the average cost of a wedding has risen to a whopping £18,000, and even those couples who set themselves a much smaller budget can find costs spiralling out of control.

Reasons cited for costs exploding include the pressure to treat guests to an impressive venue and open bar/three course meal and the expectation that the bride and groom should pay for all the outfits in the bridal party.

In fact, aside from the honeymoon, the top five wedding costs include the catering, venue, rings, wedding dress and photographer. The next biggest expenses are the flowers/decorations/wedding cake (which cost almost £800 on average), entertainment (at a cost of £700) and bridesmaids outfits/styling (estimated to set most couples back by almost £600).

When you take all those factors into account it’s easy to see how wedding bills can spiral out of control.

Consequently, many wedding planners are advising that getting married abroad and tying in your honeymoon with the big day can be a great way of cutting costs and still having your dream wedding.

Most of those who tie the knot abroad use a wedding planner or tour operator to help them with the planning stages. As well as sharing their experience and contacts, they can help with all the legal considerations involved in a foreign wedding and eliminate some of the stress.

Traditional wedding packages can be very reasonably priced, particularly if you’re looking to hold your wedding in a nation with a lower cost of living than the UK, but unusual or specialist weddings are also a budget-friendly option
Our tips for cutting costs when getting married abroad include booking flights and venues far in advance, taking advantage of cheaper/regional produce (thereby slashing your outlay on food and drink), wearing less traditional wedding attire (foregoing suits and gowns for clothing which reflects your location) and being very restrictive with your guest list.

If you’re getting married overseas, thinking about how you’re going to manage your foreign currency transfers can also help you cut costs further.

Most banks add on a transfer fee of between £10 and £40 to every foreign exchange transaction, but reputable currency brokers don’t add on a penny in transfer fees or commission. Couples paying for their wedding in stages can consequently save hundreds of Pounds by using a currency broker to handle their payments.

Currency brokers are also able to secure their clients a better exchange rate than those offered by the banks.

The difference of a few pence per Euro (or US Dollar, or Sri Lankan Rupee etc) might not seem like much, but when you’ve got a wedding to pay for saving £50 on a currency transfer can make planning your dream day that little bit easier.

If you’re planning on beginning your marriage on foreign shores, engaging the services of a currency broker could help you cut costs, save money and make the best day of your life even better.

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