• Gina Dover-Jaques

Planning an overseas wedding

Updated: May 1


Planning your wedding overseas is incredibly exciting and so romantic, but with some important practicalities to consider.


This article focuses on the practical aspect of planning your wedding or event overseas and includes a 'Countdown to your big day.



In Part Two I will focus on styling, aesthetics and take a deep-dive into some gloriously talented suppliers that I have had the privilege of working with overseas - be sure to come back in a couple of weeks time.




Top of my list is Wedding Insurance


I recommend to all my couples that they invest in insurance for their wedding, and with the advent of Covid 19, having insurance is important more now than ever before.

Visit 'Your Wedding Event - Covid 19?



There are hundreds of top UK wedding insurance companies for weddings in the UK and abroad on the internet to choose from. Most will cover your wedding abroad, but it’s important to check for geographic limits, that you are covered for personal and public liability, illness, failure of suppliers and bad weather.



Pay for as much as you can on your Credit Card, as your credit card provider will provide compensation between £100 and £30,000. 





Define your Wedding Budget


How much you spend on your Wedding is up to you. However, most couples underestimate the cost of their wedding, so be prepared to go over a little bit! I will always recommend to my couples that they ask themselves how much they can afford to spend on their wedding, then consider what elements are the most important to them, then look into prices for each element of their day research


My couples place importance on the beauty of their day, such as the beauty & ambiance of their venue, its backdrop, the dress, shoes, florals, tuxedo and styling, so heirloom photography that reflects their day as they remember it is of prime importance to them. It is wise to carry out some research to understand typical investment costs.



Talk to your partner and families to conclude a maximum amount that you can spend on your dream wedding abroad and what you and maybe family members will pay for. Perhaps you will pay for the accommodation for your close family members and everyone else pays for their accommodation.





Consider who you would like to invite to celebrate your day with you



It’s wise to draw up a list so you know the number of guests before choosing your venue, so you know it can accommodate your wedding party. Your guest list will be determined by whether you are planning an intimate or large affair, but then it’s good practice to invite who you absolutely must i.e. your nearest and dearest, who you should invite, then those that it would be lovely to include.


Whomever you invite, they will relish the invitation to join you for a beautiful two day affair or more abroad, in a beautiful place, surrounded by glorious culture, fine food and an excuse for a holiday.





Choose and book your venue



Now you have decided on either an intimate wedding or larger, the number of people that may be attending your wedding and the sort of wedding ceremony you will have, it is time to find your perfect venue. It's crutual to get this done as soon as possible because if the venue you have fallen in love with is not available, it is so hard to find another 'one of a kind' venue.


Choosing a venue overseas can sometimes be challenging as there are so many to choose from. I certainly recommend that you discuss with your planner if you have one and/or look at the wealth of inspiration on Social Media and Wedding Blogs. This will help you to discover the vibe and aesthetic that you favour and therefore help you to hone in on your top choices. We know that the number of guests will influence your venue selection but you can now take into consideration the style of wedding you prefer, such as elegant, rustic, luxurious, chilled. Consider too, if you want to get married near the sea or a lake, in a city or overlooking a city, the culture you love, perhaps from a previous holiday destination that you fell in love with, and location and accessibility are some of other factors too.


Once you have chosen venues that appeal to you, contact them for details, quotations etc, then ask them your questions. I would recommend you speak to them over the phone/Skype etc. if possible. My couples plan a visit to the location/s of their chosen venues, so that they can really get to know the venue/s. This is so very helpful as they will know instantly how they feel about the venue/s and which one they fall in love with.


In 'Part Two' in a couple of weeks time, I will guide you through the aesthetics and characteristics for consideration when choosing your venue.





Choose and book your photographer



1. Establish what style of photography you like


Today there are so many styles of photography, so it is important that you find a photographer whose work you love and, ideally, you feel you connect with.



Pinterest & Instagram are good for honing the aesthetic and style

of photography that you like



The trend nowadays is to search via Pinterest, Instagram and/or Google Images. With a  collective display of images it is easier for couples to hone in on the style they like.  




My style is described as Fine Art, Luminous, Romantic & Authentic

Discover more >>



As you search through the images you will start to pinpoint a style and aesthetic that you like, which will enable you to Google search using the specific keywords that define the style of photography you are looking for.





It's important to ask about a photographer's experience and approach when it comes to the practicalities of working with you abroad.



Here are some of my essential practices:


  1. My liability and indemnity insurance covers me to photograph weddings & events abroad

  2. I have a collection of professional photographers in Italy and France, whose approach and style is like mine, should I need to call on them as a second or backup photographer

  3. I create backups of my captures to 'iCloud' and iPad the evening of the wedding/event. The safety of a couple's images is of prime importance to me

  4. I have extensive knowledge of travelling to Italy & France to photograph weddings & elopements which has enabled me to create and work to a comprehensive 'checklist' that comprises of a detailed travel plan, together with a backup plan should I need to find a travel alternative

  5. I speak sufficient Italian and French to ensure I can, more than, 'get by'

  6. I am familiar with the format that venues in warm European countries follow, which means I can help you make the most of your day and my photography

  7. I have a catalogue of some of the most talented suppliers that I respect and admire, that I can recommend with confidence

  8. I can provide examples of full galleries from the weddings I have captured abroad

  9. I have backup photographic kit and on the occasions when I work with another photographer, they do too

  10. I seek accommodation no more than 25 minutes drive from the venue and ensure I arrive at the venue at least 1 hour before I am due to commence work on the wedding day

  11. The venues I have worked at love my approach and professionalism.



Once you have booked your venue & photographer you can immerse yourselves in the details and styling of your wedding day!


Come back in a week or so for 'Part Two' when I will be focusing on 'Styling your wedding day & finding your ideal suppliers.




My countdown to your Wedding Day




12 MONTHS BEFORE

  1. Research and secure a Wedding Insurance Company

  2. Set a budget

  3. Set a date

  4. Decide on the number of guests you would like to have at your wedding i.e. an intimate or large scale wedding

  5. Choose and reserve your venue and photographer/videographer

  6. Compile your guest list and organize addresses

  7. Send save the date cards

  8. Consider potential wedding planners and day-of coordination help if needed and within your budget.



8 - 6 MONTHS BEFORE

  1. Choose your bridal party and attire

  2. Shop for a dress, shoes, and accessories

  3. Select your ceremony officiant

  4. Book hotel rooms or reserve a block of rooms for your guests

  5. Reserve music for ceremony and reception

  6. Set-up your registry

  7. Choose your calligraphy & stationery

  8. Choose and book a florist.



5 - 4 MONTHS BEFORE

  1. Order your wedding stationery

  2. Secure your travel: flights, car hire, and driver permits

  3. Reserve any rentals needed for ceremony and/or reception

  4. Confer with photographer and videographer

  5. Choose a special gift for each Wedding Breakfast guest i.e. mini bottle of Lemoncello!

  6. Book the rehearsal dinner venue

  7. Book your honeymoon

  8. Hire a hair stylist and makeup artist and reserve trials if supplier is in your home country

  9. Send out your wedding invitations



3 MONTHS BEFORE

  1. Discuss details of menu with venue/caterer

  2. Select and prepare your ceremony service with officiant

  3. Schedule the rehearsal time

  4. Make a list of the people giving speeches/toasts

  5. Finalize the readings

  6. Purchase your undergarments 

  7. Finalize the order of the ceremony and the reception

  8. Order or print menu cards as well as programs

  9. Purchase the rings

  10. Finalize the menu and flowers



2 - 1 MONTH/S BEFORE

  1. Purchase a guest book

  2. Obtain your marriage license

  3. If you intend to change your name, prepare the necessary documents to do so

  4. Send a change of address information to post office

  5. Final dress fitting with veil, shoes, and accessories

  6. Prepare a seating plan

  7. Secure refreshments with the venue for the morning preparations on your wedding day

  8. Confirm final guest count with vendors

  9. Prepare toasts for rehearsal dinner and wedding reception

  10. Don’t forget to break in your wedding shoes indoors

  11. Finalize speeches and itinerary



1 WEEK BEFORE

  1. Check in with your suppliers

  2. Try on your gown/attire

  3. Practice your vows

  4. Keep your beauty routine simple

  5. Finalize the outstanding details

  6. Pack your suitcases

  7. Check-in your flight/s

  8. Have a Manicure & Facial



THE NIGHT BEFORE

  1. Drink plenty of water

  2. Get an early night

  3. Wedding night lingerie

  4. Heavy duty make-up remover - oil based ones are great for lifting layers of makeup

  5. Cotton wool

  6. Deodorant

  7. Day after your wedding outfit/underwear, shoes etc.


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