Church wedding? Register office wedding and ceremony? Or register office and a bespoke Celebrant-led ceremony?
Choosing a Celebrant-led wedding gives you the option to include religious elements, blend multi-faith traditions, embrace customs from different cultures and incorporate symbolic rituals.
But the choices don’t stop there! Having officially contracted your register office marriage will you then opt for a Celebrant-led “outdoor wedding” in your own country or a “destination wedding” abroad?
There is a joke that the difference between an English summer and an English winter is warm rain or cold rain. An outdoor wedding at home can be very special and very beautiful, but depending on where you live it can also be wet, cold and windy so you also need a Plan B, just-in-case the weather gods are not in a good mood on your special day. You also need to consider your photos – grey skies and goosebumps don’t make the best images for your social media!
A wedding ceremony abroad definitely offers better weather. A more settled climate is one concern you can immediately cross off your “what if?” list.
Favourite places to have a wedding ceremony overseas include Italy, Greece, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Arizona and Colorado in the USA, South Africa, St Lucia and Bali. Obviously your budget will factor into your ultimate destination, so let us see what savings we can make along the way.
With destinations as close as Southern Spain (nearest airport Malaga) offering an average of 320 days of sunshine a year, a year-round wedding destination can be closer than you think!
Just pausing with Southern Spain in mind, the Sierra Nevada in Granada has the longest ski season in Europe and at less than an hour from the beaches of the Costa Tropical, you really can ski in the morning and sunbathe in the afternoon from late November to March… which leads us on to benefit number two, combining your wedding with your honeymoon!
What a great way to save money, have your wedding and your honeymoon in the same country, in the same resort even! In fact, arrive a week before your wedding to chill and get a fab sun tan before your ceremony and take the second week to luxuriate in your new wedded status!
With many couples having their stag and hen parties abroad, consider combining the pre-nup holiday with the wedding date. Not having to afford to travel to your hen/stag break as well as your destination wedding venue is a potential financial saving from the couple’s perspective, but a decision you should not take lightly! Because if your hens and stags decide to extend their stay beyond your wedding day itself, you might find yourself sharing your honeymoon with them too – and that’s taking even the best friendship a tad far!
Now depending on your family and your point of view, having a wedding ceremony at home, where you may feel obliged to invite all of your distant relatives may be a good thing or a bad thing.
With a destination wedding you are more likely to have a bespoke guest list of family and friends who are extra special to you. Then when you return home, you might decide to extend the celebrations to a party where you get to wear your wedding finery for a second time. Bonus!
Remember that with guaranteed sunshine, comes guaranteed heat. Whilst local florists will know the blooms that will last and those that will wilt, the trend is for silk flowers – the bonus being that you can keep them for your party back at home for example! But you don’t want to wilt in the heat either! Choose natural fabrics tailored with a fashionable cut when selecting your bridal gown or groom’s clothes. For a beach wedding you could even wear a less structured outfit with bare feet – and forget waistcoats for the groomsmen, they will swelter! Think, “Less is more” which can also translate to saving money.
Finally, those who live in a hot climate often have two distinct parts to their day, separated by a nap or “siesta”. This is for good reason, nobody wants to do anything in the blistering heat. So avoid the hottest time of day for your wedding ceremony (you will only be squinting in your photos) and live like a local. Sunset weddings are perfect and can provide the most glorious backdrop for your bridal selfies and mean your guests can party late into the night.
So, outdoor wedding at home, or wedding ceremony abroad? Weigh up the options and you might discover that your dream destination wedding location is closer and cheaper than you think!
Debbie Skyrme is a wedding celebrant (former UK Deputy Superintendent Registrar) who crafts English speaking symbolic wedding ceremonies in southern Spain.See Debbie's profile here
24th January 2020
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