Along with moving house and starting a new job, getting married is up there as one of the most stressful events in a woman’s life. Throw an abroad destination into the mix and double what you’d imagine the stress levels would be and you’ll pretty much arrive at where I am right now! While we toyed with the idea of getting hitched on UK soil, that thought process lasted all of 10 minutes. Although I have a deep love of Britain (yep, even the weather sometimes!), there was no doubt in my mind that when we get married, we get married abroad.
As tempting as it was to opt for the Californian sunshine in a trans Atlantic do, we knew early on that it had to be Italy. I’d been to Tuscany a couple of times for fashion photoshoots and knew that Toff, as a self-confessed foodie, would love it. I surprised him with a 4-day trip there for his 30th birthday and we fell in love, not only with each other but with the country as a whole. The people, the weather, the stunning scenery and, of course, the carbs! And the fact that my husband-to-be (ooh that still sounds weird!) is quarter Italian cemented our decision to go back to where it all started.
While I appreciate the traditions of getting married in a church on home turf, it never had a place in my visions of what my wedding day would look like. I didn’t want religious and I didn’t want formal, I wanted a simple, romantic celebration of our relationship with everyone I love, preferably in the sun! But it hasn’t come without its challenges. As we enter the home straight of our wedding countdown, I thought I’d sum up a few reasons why we decided to get married abroad, in case you’re torn!
Come on, you knew I was bound to lead with this one! Depending on where you get married abroad, the weather is probably a big factor in your decision making. And it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re looking for balmy climes. If a winter wedding is your dream, somewhere with guaranteed snow is going to be top of your Pinterest search. For us, however, we were looking for sun. Not Caribbean sun, just something comfortable and warm. Granted, it may still r….nope I can’t say it!… but it might and there’s nothing we can do about that. But the odds can’t be any worse than England, right?!
As a true outdoor girl, I always envisioned getting married outside. Not only does that natural light give gorgeous photos, for me, I can’t think of anything better than being surrounded by nature when you’re celebrating the most natural thing in the world with the people you love.
From the reactions I’ve had from people when I say we’re getting married abroad I gather that it is perceived as quite an extravagant way to say ‘I Do’. Again, this widely depends on the location, for example, if you’re thinking of Australia, USA or some exotic island in the middle of the Indian Ocean then yes, I’d imagine that’s going to cost a little more than a village hall in Putney!
So far, getting married in Italy has, honestly been A LOT cheaper than the average costings in the UK. Although we’ve spent money on flights going to our venue twice, we tend to go mid-week and off season so it’s ridiculously cheap. Tuscany, in particular, tends to house more independent businesses like florists and caterers that work genuinely with you according to your budget and are flexible with their invoices. Their overheads are less and most of what’s available to them is sourced locally making shipping costs minimal. Everything is seasonal which means that specific flowers and ingredients that we would normally pay more for in the UK are crazy cheap.
THE TIME SPENT
From the many weddings I’ve been to in the UK, one aspect of the day I wanted to avoid was to spend the entire time frantically trying to get round to talk to every guest and occasionally wave to my new husband across the room. I’ve seen it time and time again and I feel so sorry for the bride and groom who would probably rather soak up every second of their day.
Getting married abroad means that you have so much more time with your loved ones to chat, laugh and catch-up. With most of our guests flying out for at least 3 days, it means that the day is reserved for all being together without the pressure to get round everyone.
Getting married abroad takes away the dilemma (and cost) of where to head off to on your honeymoon. While Italy wasn’t somewhere we had discussed as a honeymoon destination, as we’re going to be in this stunning country at the height of summer, we thought it would be silly not to travel around and make the most of where we are.
Although we’re planning a bigger honeymoon later in the year or perhaps next year, further travel, packing and airports fills me with dread after riding the high of the best day of my life. Sometimes, it’s best to keep things simple and preempt how you’re probably going to feel afterwards.
I’ve never been one for formalities – from calling my teachers by their name to treating job interviews as friendly chats and I knew my wedding would follow suit. The thought of tops, tails and line-ups brings me out in a cold sweat and I don’t think it makes the day any more enjoyable. When I thought about my wedding abroad, I wanted everyone to be relaxed and comfortable. While black tie do’s are smart and elegant, it brings with it a sense of standing to attention which can put people on edge.
The location we chose for our wedding is chic and luxe in a warm and informal way. We’ve shunned a lot of wedding day traditions and have adopted a more easy-going approach to what we deem ‘traditions’. In the end, you can’t control every aspect of your wedding and as long as you create that kind of atmosphere, everyone’s going to be a lot more relaxed.
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