Like the sound of tying the knot in Europe? We are with you there… The luxury resorts, the picturesque views and architecture, the guarantee of sunshine…
We have recently started providing our photography services on the South Coast of Spain, the surrounding Balearic islands and Amalfi Coast in Italy, so we have gathered some tips that we wanted to share when planning a wedding in Europe.
Now, we wouldn’t say that planning a wedding in Europe is any harder than planning one in the UK, but there are a number of things that you should tick off your list that you may not have considered.
Picking your location
This is the very first part of your wedding planning. You may have a location in mind that you have previously visited before or means something special to you, or you may have just decided that you want to get married under that sunshine!
Whatever your reason, have a think about the style of wedding you want and if that will fit into the location that you are considering.
Also, as us Brits are aware, the weather can change plans dramatically at home. How will the weather be at your chosen time of year? This is definitely something to bear in mind - Seville in August has hit 45c, but the coast can be more temperate.
Picking your wedding date
Once you have picked your location, next comes choosing the date of course!
There are certain dates that we all know in the UK that are bank holidays, days when shops are usually shut, school holidays – but do you know all this information at your chosen destination?
We highly recommend that you do some research into the holiday seasons of your chosen location. Are there national holidays? Is it a time when businesses often close? This will make it hard to get suppliers if so.
Is it a popular tourist time and destination? Will it be really busy with other guests? Does that bother you? Did you know that Spanish and Italian weddings tend to be earlier in the year and not mid summer?
Equally important are the dates back at home too. For instance, if it is a public or school holiday then this could make the flights much more expensive for your guests.
Our top tip here is to make it as effortless as possible. Give them as much information as you can early on. Perhaps set up a website with all the information with links to accommodation etc.
A friend of ours made a group booking for the hotel and flights which they paid for up front. They then set up ‘tickets’ on Eventbrite for people to log in and buy, which was them paying their share for those bookings back. It was a great way for the bride and groom to keep track of payments.
Your guests are going to need somewhere to stay and not everyone will have the same budget to play with.
Make sure you find options that cater for all budgets. It would also be worth finding out if any hotels take group bookings as this can help save money for your guests.
It is also advisable to find out from your guests if they would like you to book their accommodation, or if they would like to take care of it themselves.
The weather is likely to be different abroad depending on the location and time of year. This could even be the whole reason for choosing a wedding in Europe in the first place!
For this reason, it is worth planning the wedding party outfits practically.
This doesn’t mean that you must pass up the wedding dress that you have always dreamed of, but it is worth thinking about if you will be comfy in it should it be extremely hot, or if you will be warm enough if it is cold. If you have a wedding dress maker they should be able to suggest some alternative fabrics to suit the climate. You may also know a relative who is driving there; perhaps put the dress in with them.
For the suits, it may be worth looking into a lighter fabric suit to make sure they are comfortable. We have used suitsupply in the past and the range of materials for all weather available is fantastic.
Travelling to the location
If you are flying to your location you may need to plan ahead with your luggage allowance as you may have a lot to take! Did you know that EasyJet and British Airways have options allowing you two carry on bags for not a lot of extra money.
We recommend that you contact the flight company in advance and check that you can take your dress into the aircraft as hand luggage, rather than putting your dream frock in the hold!
It is also worth finding out if the airline has group booking options to save a bit of cash.
At home celebrations
Have you considered if you will have an additional celebration at home? This could be a dinner, just a party or a second full blown wedding.
This can be a great way to see elderly relatives or extended family who may not be up to flying… and it’s a second celebration!
The legal bit
Time to get your admin game on!
The legal requirements of weddings abroad vary from country to country. Your wedding must be legally recognised in both the country you are having the ceremony and your country of residence. Weddings in Europe are popular now so you shouldn’t have too many problems, but it is worth a quick check.
If in any doubt it is best you contact the foreign office or embassy in your chosen country as far in advance as possible to make sure you have all the correct documentation and that it is submitted within the correct time frames.
A wedding planner
Many brides and grooms are happy to plan their big day themselves while others would rather use a wedding planner to help with all or even just a bit of it. We work with the IWPcollection in their wedding planning in Tuscany & the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Give Claire and her team a call and let them know we recommended them! They also speak fluent English, Italian and French!
European destination weddings have so much to offer and we at Bloomfield Wedding Photography cannot wait to help you in planning your day and offering the ultimate bespoke photography package. We are based in the UK but are an international wedding photography service. If you have a European destination in mind and would like to book us for your wedding photography please do us an email at email@example.com
Ciao… Arrivederci…Adiós…Au Revoir!
Helen and Sam