Skip to content

Getting married abroad and travel insurance

Guide to planning your dream wedding abroad

Mehdi Punjwani
Written by  Mehdi Punjwani
5 min read
Updated: 20 Mar 2024

Many people dream of getting married abroad - and with the opportunity to have a destination wedding somewhere warm and sunny, it’s as good a reason as any to book a trip away. However, there are plenty of logistics to consider to ensure things go smoothly - read our guide to planning your dream wedding abroad to learn more.

Can I get married abroad? 

Yes, you’ll be able to have your wedding abroad - not only is it a great excuse to holiday with your closest friends and family, it can even work out cheaper. But it will require a lot of planning to ensure things go smoothly. You’ll need to have all the relevant documents for travelling and getting married, and all the right permissions depending on where you’re thinking of getting married. 

wedding

What are the benefits of getting married abroad? 

Getting married abroad can offer the following benefits: 

  • It can be cheaper than the UK: Depending on where you choose to get married, you might find basic costs like food and entertainment are cheaper 

  • You might even get freebies or discounts: Hotels and venues might even offer a discount for group bookings or freebies like decorations, champagne, or even upgrades to your booking  

  • Take advantage of exchange rates: If you look around for countries with a beneficial exchange rate to the pound, you could save money here too 

  • Book off-season: You could even book off-season and benefit from cheaper hotels and flights  

  • Weather: Finally, and hard to overlook when you think about the weather we get, a wedding abroad gives you the opportunity to get married somewhere warm and exotic 

How much does it cost to get married abroad? 

The cost of getting married abroad will significantly depend on your chosen location, but you’ll also have to factor in the usual costs like your venue, number of guests, entertainment, food and drinks, and plenty more. It will be up to you to decide how much you want to spend on the ceremony, and what things you’ll want to include. 

However, another thing you’ll need to consider is the cost of arranging your guests’ transport and accommodation, as if it’s something you’re going to pay for then it can get expensive.  

What needs to be arranged before getting married abroad? 

In addition to the usual long checklist of sorting out a wedding, getting married abroad means thinking about a few extra things: 

  • Required documents: While it will depend on your exact location, you’ll normally need a passport with at least six months left before expiry, as well as birth certificates, and if relevant, things like adoption or divorce certificates and visas for the country in question 

  • CNI: A CNI or certificate of no impediment is required if you’re getting married in certain countries as proof from the UK government that you’re allowed to get married abroad. To get a CNI you’ll need to contact your local council and give notice of marriage 

  • Travel insurance: Some travel insurance providers offer specific policies for weddings, which offer cover for things like venue issues, wedding rings, or personal and public liability. While we do not offer specialised wedding insurance, you can still compare wedding travel insurance policies with MoneySuperMarket  

Legal requirements for getting married abroad 

Some countries will have their own requirements for people travelling to get married - for example, you might need to stay in the country for a certain number of days prior to getting married. You can use the UK government website to find out what you’ll need for the country you choose. 

While travel insurance isn’t generally a legal requirement for travelling or getting married abroad, it can be immensely helpful - particularly as medical treatment can be much more expensive overseas. However, it’s vital that you declare any medical conditions you might have when you take out cover, as if you don’t then you likely won’t be able to claim for treatment if it flares up while abroad. If you have a serious condition it’s worth contacting a specialist provider to ensure they offer the cover you need. 

Will my marriage be legal in the UK if I get married abroad? 

As long as you follow local regulations and laws when getting married abroad, and your marriage is legal under UK laws, then it will be recognised in the UK. For example, in France you must have a civil ceremony before you can have a church service for your wedding, while Turkey only mandates civil marriages with legal standing, regardless of any other religious ceremony. 

Where can I get married abroad? 

Some of the most popular locations abroad for UK nationals to get married include countries in the Mediterranean like Greece or Italy, as well as the Caribbean, India, Australia, and Pakistan. However, not all countries allow foreigners to get married as and when. Some, like France, may require a residency period of a month – and at least one person has to have a home or other residence in the country. And while you can marry in the Maldives, the wedding is not legally binding.  

In addition, unfortunately some countries do not recognise same-sex marriages, which may restrict your options further if you want to have your legal marriage ceremony abroad. As such, you might consider getting ‘legally’ married in the UK or another country, then having a symbolic celebration in your country of choice.  

How can I organise a wedding in another country? 

Organising a wedding can be painstaking at the best of times, but getting married abroad means you might be facing a whole new set of challenges. To get your ceremony organised efficiently and effectively, you might consider the following: 

  • Hiring a wedding planner, especially someone with local knowledge who can help you navigate language barriers, get a better handle on logistics, and even possibly save you a few quid 

  • Familiarise yourself with the destination of choice, and if you can try and visit beforehand so you can get to know the locals and the area. Also take note of the local weather and climate to ensure you can time your wedding ceremony perfectly 

  • This can also help you find better deals on suppliers and services for your wedding, especially if you plan in advance 

  • Plan with your guests in mind, so you know if your plan is realistic and suitable for your friends’ and families’ budgets - remember to be considerate as asking people to fly out for your wedding can be a big ask 

Frequently asked questions

Is travel for a wedding abroad considered ‘essential’ travel?

Whether or not a wedding or civil partnership is defined as ‘essential’ travel will depend on the country involved as well as any surrounding circumstances. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic travel for weddings was still permitted under certain circumstances, usually only if it was your own wedding or a family member’s wedding where at least one of the married couple did not live in the UK.  

It will often be up to you to decide, but be sure to reach out to the necessary authorities if you need advice. 

Will I be able to have a same-sex marriage abroad?

It will depend on where you want to get married, as unfortunately some countries do not allow or recognise same sex marriages. Be sure to read up on local laws and requirements before booking. 

How far in advance do I need to book a destination wedding?

It’s recommended that you try to book a destination around 18 to 24 months ahead of time, as this will give you enough time to sort out logistics and planning, and cater to any unforeseen circumstances. 

Can I also have a wedding in the UK if I get married abroad

Yes, and many do - whether you want to undergo the legal ceremony abroad and have something symbolic in the UK or the other way round, how you decide to plan your wedding is up to you. 

How can I have my marriage abroad recorded in the UK?

You can fill out an application form for a UK marriage certificate through the General Register Office. However, this isn’t always necessary as in many cases the UK will already recognise your marriage abroad as long as it follows local laws and the marriage itself is legal in the UK. 

Looking for travel insurance?
Get a quote now