It may be the midst of winter out there and ridiculously cold, but today I...
This afternoon we are talking Destination weddings. Instead of inviting a wedding expert in as I normally do, today I have invited real bride Jedia to the blog to discuss her experience of getting married in Cyprus. Everyone has their own reason for getting married abroad. When Nik and I decided to get married in Ibiza, part of it is because we absolutely love the island and were going there for our honeymoon anyway. However there was another reason that sparked our decision. We had already started planning a UK wedding but the size and planning had just got totally out of control and it had turned into a wedding we felt we were having because that was expected of us. We decided to scale things down and move the planning to a different country. Destinations weddings aren’t necessarily for everyone but if you are considering it then they can work out brilliantly. YOU just have to choose the right place for YOU and the day YOU want.
Destination weddings are on the rise with loved-up couples leaving the dreary, unreliable weather behind in the UK to jet off overseas to a more exotic backdrop like Mexico for destination weddings under 10k. But the weather and scenery aren’t the only attraction to a wedding abroad. It’s also significantly cheaper. While a UK wedding will cost you an average of £27,000, a wedding abroad could cost just £6,585. Of course, your guests have an extra cost to consider but there are plenty of holiday deals available to lower the costs for them – and they get an excuse for a holiday too.
Once you know you want to go abroad, you need to decide where you are going to go. A country that often tops the list for those planning their upcoming nuptials is Cyprus. The ‘Island of Love’ boasts plenty of places for you to say your vows, spectacular beaches and beautiful weather. Plus, your wedding will be recognised in the UK.
Bride Jedia and her now-husband, Sam Page, flew over to Cyprus with family and friends to say ‘I do’ last year. Recalling their wedding, Jedia said: “We got married in Cyprus, at a restaurant called Viklari (or The Last Castle). We chose Cyprus as Sam’s dad and wife live out there and we’ve been visiting at least once a year for the last 8 or so years and have always loved going over to see them.”
She continued: “The restaurant is in a place called the Akamas, a very rugged coastal area just north of Paphos. When we first went there, we loved the location, the views and the food. Sam and I weren’t engaged, but we always said that we loved the place so much that if we ever got married, we would do it there. We wanted to share all the things we love about Cyprus with all our guests/loved ones. Also, the relaxed nature of the setting was perfect for us as we wanted to enjoy the day, instead of getting caught up schedules, speeches, seating plans.”
The couple actually didn’t consider the UK at all: “There wasn’t really anywhere in the UK that we felt as strongly about as The Last Castle. The weather is difficult to get right, and it would have been a lot more expensive. But they did momentarily consider elsewhere overseas. Jedia added: “For a split second we considered going to the little white chapel in Las Vegas, but realised we wanted our families to be there and with nieces and nephews, knew this would not be a viable option.”
Jedia says planning the wedding was easier with her husband’s parents in their chosen country, other wise they may have had to use a translation service like Magma Translation. “In terms of planning, Sam’s dad and Carol did a lot for us. From confirming available dates, costs, buying booze and getting in touch with caterers for the after-party – which was held at their villa. She continues that it would have been difficult to plan without them. “In fact, that might have been enough to put me off getting married abroad!”
There is only one element that would be easier in the UK. “I think it would have been more straightforward to understand the documents we needed to get registered.” But she added: “Another positive for us is that getting married in Cyprus meant our wedding is also legal in the UK.”
You may also have to take the destination into consideration when choosing your dress. Jedia explained: “I wouldn’t have wanted anything too big anyway, but luckily the venue was quite cool due to the sea breeze that comes in, and the shade provided by the grapevines overhead.”
Of course, there are both pros and cons when it comes to getting married abroad. For Jedia as well as the weather and the price, she said: “In terms of guests, we didn’t feel bad about only inviting those we really wanted to attend. For destination weddings in 2023, the average package price was $5,550” The cons, however, included having less control over planning and the details – something that might have been a problem if they hadn’t had the family connections. Jedia added: “Our wedding was during term time, so my nieces and nephew had to get permission to get time off school.”
Your wedding day can go by in a blur and be over before you know it. A benefit to many couples who choose to get married abroad is that it is also a holiday and the opportunity to spend a few days with your nearest and dearest. That’s exactly what Jedia and Sam did. She said: “Overall we were there for two weeks. A few days before the wedding, then a few days having a mini moon in Paphos. One week after we got back to the U.K., we then flew to the Philippines for two weeks.”
Having got married abroad, Jedia says they both ‘loved and enjoyed the day’, so there isn’t anything she would do differently. But, her top tip for any brides currently planning a destination wedding is: “Be prepared not to be in control of all the little details and be open to compromise. If you’re choosing to get married abroad, you will get everything that comes with it – the lovely setting, amazing local cuisine, as well as the possible language or cultural barrier! Just focus on why you chose the location and enjoy yourself.”