The guaranteed sunshine, holiday feeling and sunkissed tan are all reasons Brits choose to get hitched outside of the UK, but is it actually cheaper? Experts at money.co.uk have looked into the average budget for weddings in 190 countries and created a tool to reveal the cheapest and most expensive countries to get married overseas.
If you’re saving up to get married abroad, it’s important to compare savings accounts to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
The tool below allows you to input a country, whether you’re looking to get married in low or high season, how many guests you want to have, and spits out the average cost of a wedding in said country plus how much you’d save (or extra you’d spend!) compared to a wedding in the UK. Try it now:
When getting married abroad, couples have to add certain additional costs to their budget, such as accommodation, flights and even flying out suppliers if applicable.
Generally though, your budget per head will tend to stretch further for things like venues and catering abroad, than if you got married in the UK. Furthermore, the guest list at abroad weddings tends to be smaller, with only your nearest and dearest willing to get on a plane and take several days out to celebrate your wedding.
On average, weddings abroad do tend to be cheaper overall.
According to data collected by money.co.uk, the average cost of a wedding abroad is £11,099, and the average cost of a wedding in the UK is £20,493, making a wedding abroad £9,394 cheaper!
Obviously wedding costs will differ depending on the country you choose to go to for your nuptials. Somewhere like Greece will be undeniably beautiful, but will set you back £22,821 on average, which is £2,328 more expensive than a wedding in the UK. Although weddings abroad tend to be cheaper, it’s worth noting this isn’t always the case, so if you’re on a budget, choose your location wisely!
If you’re looking for a warm, exotic location with beautiful beach backdrops and sea views, then locations such as Mexico or Saint Lucia are perfect, with average wedding costs of £7,028 and £5,664 respectively.
When getting married abroad, you’ll need to factor in some additional costs to your budget, such as:
Hotel & Accommodation
Food and Drinks throughout your stay
Destination Photographer & expenses
Potential travel fees for suppliers
Exchange rates and added tax- dependent on destination
Welcome and farewell meals
Often, couples getting married abroad will hire the services of a wedding planner, due to the language barrier between them and foreign suppliers. As well as the language issue, wedding planners can help couples understand their overseas destination better and advise on area and local legalities. You can of course choose to take the wedding planning on yourself, but this will likely mean visiting your wedding destination of choice more often before the wedding to ensure the smooth running of proceedings.
The costs involved to fly out beforehand for wedding prep meetings can be anything from £500 to £5,000 depending on the destination and how many times you both visit.
For this reason it might be more cost effective to hire a wedding planner to undertake these tasks for you. This has many benefits, including not having to travel to the venue as often, and potentially gaining discounts from their network of local wedding contacts. Depending on whether you go for full wedding planning, on-the-day coordination or something in between, you’re looking at spending between a few hundred to £10,000+.
If you want to save money on your wedding, there are a few easy ways to cut the budget. Choose your wedding destination wisely; if you’re looking for somewhere warm and exotic for example, somewhere like Mexico will cost you £7,028 on average whereas popular warm European destinations such as France and Greece will cost £24,818 and £22,821 respectively; that’s more than three times as much!
Be brutal with the guestlist - just because someone invited you to their wedding doesn’t mean they necessarily need to come to yours. Another easy way to whittle down the list is to not allow children or plus ones. If you’re having an abroad wedding, it’s more socially acceptable to invite less people and make it an intimate affair for your nearest and dearest.
According to our research, the average cost of catering a UK wedding for 80 people is £4,419, so if you were to stick to 50 guests you’d save £1,657! The same principle applies to weddings abroad.
Being flexible with your dates will enable you to easily save money on your venue, suppliers and more. Consider choosing a weekday as these are often cheaper, and provided you’re happy with predicted weather conditions, choose to get married in low season in your overseas country of choice to save on flights, accommodation and more.
If you’re getting married somewhere beautiful and romantic abroad, logistically, it makes perfect sense to extend your stay and have your honeymoon there too. By doing this you will save money on flights, potentially get a better deal and let’s be honest most wedding destinations are the ideal location to relax, indulge and smooch up as newlyweds.
There are lots of ways to do a wedding abroad and keep costs low, without compromising on your big day. Instead of an official wedding venue, which are often pricey and booked up way in advance, many couples opt to instead hold their nuptials at a restaurant in order to keep costs down.
In terms of the wedding dress, many brides abroad choose to wear a white summer dress rather than a traditional white wedding dress; this is often a lot cheaper.
Furthermore, instead of a wedding cake (which are often eye-wateringly expensive!) why not opt for a traditional dessert, local to your wedding destination? Not only will this be cheaper due to locally sourced suppliers, it will also be a lovely, authentic way to nod to your wedding country of choice.
Although some brides will buy a seat for their wedding dress on the plane to ensure it gets to its destination in perfect condition, this often isn’t an option for brides on a budget! However, there are ways you can take your dress on board at no extra cost.
If you’re going on an aeroplane, most airlines will allow you to bring the dress on board as hand luggage, but make sure to double check with your airline personally before you travel. Many of the major carriers will hand your wedding dress in the first class cabin for you if there is enough space.
Finally, always ensure that your wedding dress is well packed and protected before attempting to transfer it abroad. Your wedding dress designer/provider will often offer to pack it up professionally for you when you are taking it home.
If you’re getting married abroad, you will not only need travel insurance, but a wedding insurance policy also. Specialist overseas wedding insurance can cover everything from the rings and dress to the photographer falling ill or your venue burning down. Some providers offer it as an add on to travel insurance, or you can buy a standalone policy. Be sure to do your research into exactly what your level of insurance covers to make sure you’re prepared for every eventuality.
Whether you are looking for a big, traditional wedding or a small and intimate ceremony, it is important to work out how much you can afford in advance. We look at budget wedding ideas and how to have a wonderful Big Day without breaking the bank.Where you can save cash
As a trained journalist, Lucinda has spent the past 10 years writing and editing content for regional and national titles, including The Mirror, WalesOnline and Manchester Evening News. She is now a personal finance editor and specialises in savings, helping people to make confident financial decisions so they can save for what matters most.