Monday, 30 July 2012

On a Foreign shore... - The Ins and Outs of getting hitched abroad

Planning a wedding is stressful enough as it is.  Trying to plan one abroad adds another dimension to the process.  Would you consider taking that challenge on?

There are many reasons to hold your nuptials abroad.  Whether it is for reasons of sentimentality, or simply because the UK can't accommodate the kind of event you're looking for, you should research your destination as much as possible before honing in on the perfect location.  Whether that be on a tropical island or a snow capped mountain, it helps if you've visited the location before.  Maybe you've been there on holiday.  I would recommend visiting your selected destination, if at all possible, before signing any contracts.

As with any wedding, there are some very important points to consider:
  • The legal side of things: you need to create a record of your overseas marriage once you're back in the UK.  You can do this at any time after the ceremony.  If you marry outside of the Commonwealth, you will need to contact the Foreign Office about depositing your marriage certificates.  There is no provision as yet for those who marry in a Commonwealth country.  For more information, visit
  • You will be unable to sample items such as food, decorations and flowers ahead of time.  Most suppliers may be able to send you pictures, but while a picture tells a thousand words, it may not tell you the whole truth.
  • If you plan to purchase your dress/outfits ahead of time, you will need to make provision for them in your luggage allowances when travelling.  If travelling a long distance, you will also need to make provisions for them to cleaned/steamed/cared for once you arrive.

I've heard mixed reviews from brides planning their weddings in another country.  Some said it was the most stressful thing that they'd ever experienced; others said that putting their plans to into the hands of wedding companies meant all the stress was lifted from them.  One theme that came through loud and clear was trust.  You had to trust the photographs you were sent to be accurate; you had to trust other people's recommendations; you had to trust the hotels and airlines to deliver on time.

The most important thing with going abroad is to allow yourself enough time to prepare.  You may want to consider visiting the destination and talking to as many of your suppliers as possible before signing any contracts on 

This article is dedicated to the lovely Claire Arbon, who inspired it.  Claire is planning her wedding in Ireland.  Best of luck to her! x x x

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

All For One - Where do you stand on same sex marriage?

I do not generally use this blog to talk politics or take the world too seriously.  By and large, I try to offer advice about the wedding industry and I endeavour to keep the tone as light-hearted as possible.  But sometimes, there are topical issues that are too big to ignore.

The question of gay marriage has reared it's ugly head again.  (It's the question that's ugly, not the marriage.)  Today the Scottish National Party (SNP) announced plans to introduce gay marriage as soon as 2015.  Earlier this year, President Obama came out saying that he is in favour of it.  Everywhere you look, someone has an opinion on it.

The issue is far less contentious here in the UK.  We've had civil partnerships, granting equal rights to homosexual couples as  since 2005.  Religious groups cried 'Hell!' and 'Damnation!' left right and centre when it was announced, but to no one's great surprise, it hasn't caused the end of the world.  Life carries on pretty much as normal.

My position on the issue is this: I do not give one jot for semantics - marriage, civil partnership - the ultimate point is that so long as the legal rights are in place, the terminology does not matter.  Love is love is love, no matter who you are.  I also believe that the government are missing a trick with civil partnerships.  Marriage should be as it always is: two people entering into a contract with the state via a ceremony.  This is whether they are a man and a man, a woman and a woman or a man and a woman.  Civil partnerships would be exactly the same thing, except for the ceremony part.  Instead, a contract would be signed and agreed - in the presence of two witnesses and local official - and couples would sign a document, agreeing to do all the things that couples promise to each other when entering a marriage.  A civil partnership would in this way, I believe, cut out the one element of marriage that co-habiting couples would rather avoid: the ceremony.

Whilst I am all for weddings - in fact, my business kinda relies on them! - it's an inescapable fact that some people are downright allergic to them.  The thought of being obliged to spend so much money on one day just to keep friends and family off their backs is more than enough to put some people off the idea.  This is a shame because marriage has been proven to be legally, socially and scientifically better for you than co-habitation.

It is certainly not place to tell you how to think or feel, but I would urge anyone considering their opinion on gay marriage to think carefully about the implications from all sides.  I believe firmly in love; love at all costs.  Marriage relies on love, and I believe if you crush opportunities for marriage, you crush love too.