Wedding Series: Part 1 – Planning a Wedding Abroad
Planning a magical wedding abroad.
You can find top wedding hotels in Cyprus by reading part 2 of the series here.
So you’re engaged, congratulations! Now the fun begins with venue picking, dress fittings and cake tastings. It seems just like yesterday that my husband and I got married in Limassol, Cyprus. In reality, this was in July of 2015. Now that the wedding is well behind me, I’m here to share my tips, ideas and share my mistakes (so you don’t make the same ones). Let’s plan your wedding abroad!
I must admit, I was already married for a year before we had our official wedding ceremony so that cut down our actual ceremony bill and the marriage licence. However, getting married in Cyprus is simple and all the same documents are required as if you were to get married in the UK! (Thank you, Lydia, for the clarification)
My husband and I got married in a court house in the US. It was just us two and one of my friends who was there to take pictures. We read our vows with a Greek judge perfomring the ceremony (it must’ve been a sign that Greece or Cyprus would be our destination). After our ceremony we went out for lunch and spent the day just taking in our newly gained married status. It was such a good idea doing the official ceremony on our own, not only did it take the pressure off but it’s also something that we shared just between us. We spent $30 on our marriage license, so I think that’s a good deal!
If you’re thinking of having your wedding abroad, then you’re in the right place! First and foremost you need to …
Decide on a region.
My husband and I decided to have our wedding in Cyprus. I am originally from Russia and my husband is from England, so to be fair to both of our families we decided to have a wedding on a neutral territory.
Most likely you already have some part of the world in mind, whether it be somewhere in the Mediterranean, Caribbean, a magical place in Europe or an exotic location in Asia.
Consider your guests.
If you’re planning on celebrating your wedding with other guests, consider how much it would cost for a flight to your destination. Cyprus was the perfect middle point for us as flights both from Russia and England were about the same price, so everyone was paying about the same. You need to consider that if you are coming from the UK and plan on having your wedding in Hawaii, it’s very unlikely that you will get many guests attending, as the flight costs would be quite steep.
Decide on your specifics and must-haves.
This is the time to sit down with your husband-to-be and decide on what is a MUST at your wedding. For example, we wanted to have a wedding near the beach but did not want to walk on sand, therefore, a pier seemed like the perfect option. We also wanted to make sure that our reception took place outside. Having our specifics in mind allowed us to narrow our search down to just a handful of hotels that met our requirements.
Inquire potential venues regarding costs and dates.
If it’s in your plans to get married in the next year or so, your main concern should definitely be finding venues that have that availability. From my experience, booking a year in advance gave me plenty of options with my dates, and the venue we ended up choosing only held one wedding per day. Some of the popular hotels may have a 2 year wait, so make sure you find out as soon as possible and put a deposit down to secure it!
Decide on a budget.
I’ll be honest, we didn’t have a budget for our wedding, we just knew that we wanted the cost to be reasonable. This was very important to us because I have just moved to the UK and we were just getting on our feet, financially. One of our main reasons for having a wedding abroad was because after doing some research we realised that a destination wedding would still be less expensive than having a wedding the UK or Russia.
Since we did not discuss a budget, I had to set a budget on my own and I knew that I did not want to spend more than £3,000 on anything wedding related. Our flights and accommodation did not go in to our budget; this was a separate cost and we thought of it as just a holiday and were going to pay for it once the time came. I believe we reserved our rooms about 6 months before the wedding and the Russian side of the family made the reservation about 2-3 months before (they were stressing me out!)
Cost breakdown for our wedding in Cyprus
Please note that these prices were for 2015 and may have gone up.
We had our wedding at the Elias Beach Hotel in Limassol.
Venue for Ceremony, Sunset Pier: 400.00
Venue for Reception, Blue Paradise Beach Bar: 400.00
BBQ Buffet Menu (for 30 people, minimum requirement): 1,500.00
Bridal Radiance Package from the hotel: 179.00
5 hours of Music – 330.00
Decor + Ceremony –
Special Moments: 500.00
New York Sweets: 130.00
Capture Photography: 480.00
Grant Total: 3,919 euros or about 3,160 pounds
The wedding dress is not in this budget because I bought it in Russia and it cost me only about 200 pounds.
In Part 2 of the series you can read about the Top ten wedding hotels in Cyprus.
I think it’s worth planning the wedding on your own rather than paying a tour operator, here is how I’ve done it.
All photos are taken by Capture Photography.