What you need to know before having a Destination Wedding

Wedding abroad? Here’s What You Have To Check In Advance

Destination weddings are exciting and unique. They are memories that will last a lifetime. However, laws concerning marriage differ from country to country. Discovering a law that prevents your wedding from taking place or delays it when you have invested in the ceremony can be devastating.

We have put together a basic checklist for couples traveling abroad to get married. We advise you to do your own research concerning the specific city and country you are planning the wedding for. This will save you a lot of stress.

First things first – Wedding planner

Before you do anything else, resolve yourself to the fact that you need a wedding planner. If you were to hold your ceremony in your own home town, you would need a wedding planner. If you are a wedding planner, you would still need a wedding planner.

When you are planning a wedding abroad, you need a wedding planner that is well established in the area. You will need to check references, read reviews online, and interview them carefully. You will not know the vendors in the area. You will not know the venues or issues that people have there. Your wedding planner will be your eyes, ears, and contact. Do not take this suggestion lightly.

Notice of Intended Marriage

If you are getting married in Australia, you must file a Notice of Intended Marriage form within six months of the wedding with the celebrant or official presiding over the wedding. You must file it at least 1-month and 1-day before the wedding takes place. It can be filed and sent from the United States, but the following is required to file it:

  • Must include filing fees which vary by territory

  • Must be signed by both the bride and the groom

  • Must be notarized by an Australian consular or diplomatic officer.

  • Must provide original birth certificates and passports with the form 

  • If the bride or groom has been married before, a certificate of divorce or a death certificate must be provided.

  • Three witnesses are required to witness and sign the wedding certificate. 


The average cost of a basic wedding in Australia is roughly $8,000. This is just for the wedding. It does not include travel expenses or the honeymoon. When you add these expenses, you may have to prioritize your wedding selections. This is where communication with your wedding planner is critical.

The smart couple finds creative ways to fund their wedding. Well before the event, the couple should create their honeymoon registry. There is no cost to create one, and there is no cost to your guests to use them. This is an avenue that allows your family and friends to gift you monetarily or with events and adventures for your wedding instead of traditional wedding gifts. Since most couples either live together or live on their own before marriage, there is little need for household items and a gift of a night in the honeymoon suite, a moonlit dinner on the beach, or luxurious spa treatment is better received. This also eliminates the problem of where to send the gifts or when to present them to the couple.

Other expenses to consider include:

  • The venue

  • The reception location

  • Food

  • A bar

  • The wedding cake

  • Flowers and decor

  • Music

  • PhotographyTransportation from location to location

  • Attire

  • Gifts for the bridesmaids and groomsmen

Tip: check with your hotel for package rates. If you use their hotel, vendors, and venue, it may be possible to get a discounted rate. Let your wedding planner know if you are open to this option. 

The wedding gown

There is nothing more important than the bride’s dress. This is the single item that cannot be recreated and substituted if something interrupts your plans. Your dress is selected months in advance. It is tailored to fit you. It is your style, color, and the main focus of the majority of the wedding photos. Buy your gown before you travel and take it on the plane in your carry on. Do not chance a lost bag destroying your perfect day. If you are traveling with bridesmaid’s have them take their dresses on the plane with them.

The guest list

You must be realistic when planning a wedding abroad. Everyone cannot get off work, arrange childcare, and/or afford the trip. You need to keep the guest list to a minimum. You can video the ceremony and play it at a welcome home reception for those you love who do not attend the wedding.

There may be people that you really want to include. Maybe it is your sister or best friend. Be prepared to help foot some of the expenses to include them. This can be added discreetly on your honeymoon registry as “wedding party” or “travel”.

It is possible to have the wedding of your dreams even if you are going across the globe to do it. It takes some planning and flexibility. Understand that you are in a different country with a different culture. Embrace it. Do not let preconceived ideas ruin what should be a unique and beautiful experience.

This blog was written by Wendy Dessler, a super-connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.


Eva Kaszycki