Have you always dreamed of getting married in Europe? Well, who could blame you. Full of history, amazing historical sights, landscapes and breathtaking views, this continent really has a lot to offer. Whether you dream of being married in a medieval castle, on Julliet’s balcony, in a charming french vineyard or a Tuscan villa, Europe has a plenty of wedding locations fit for any couple’s budget. Yep, your dream can come true! Having your wedding abroad sometimes can be cheaper than having it held at home. You may ask how? There are a number of ways that you can save your money, from the location to the favourable exchange rate.
To make this planning even easier for you, here are our 16 tips on how to plan your Europe destination wedding on a budget. Check it out!
1. LOCATION AND VENUE
No matter what your style or budget is, there is a destination in Europe for every couple. For the history lovers, stunning castles in Austria and United Kingdom, for beach lovers and more laid-back atmosphere, Spain and Portugal. And for true gourmets, idyllic Italy. And we can’t forget the adventurers and those with a taste for whimsy, there is a location in Europe for them too.
Things you should keep in mind when choosing a location:
- decide what type of wedding you want
- it must have all of the resources you need ( hotels, transportation…)
- travel convenience ( is it just one direct flight, or connecting flights )
Our recommendation for Venue:
Oxfordshire, United Kindom
A masterpiece of Baroque architecture, home to the 12th Duke of Marlborough and his family, and the birth place of Sir Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace provides an awe-inspiring experience. With more than six venue options suitable for up to 2000 guests, this palace is a perfect place to celebrate your wedding.
2. PLAN ON TIME
Most of the popular locations in Europe can be booked up to 18 months in advance, so planning well ahead is crucial. If you want to save a little bit of money, plan your wedding just outside of peak periods. Not only you’ll have more choices for your wedding date, but you’ll pay hotels and restaurants less, sometimes for only half a price.
3. RESEARCH LOCAL MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS
Each country in Europe has a different rules when it comes to getting married. So find out if it’s legal to get married in the country of your choice and if it will be valid by the international law. You can usually check this out on the government website of your home country.
For example, in Spain it is not possible for non-residents and foreigners to legalize their marriage. Either one or the two needs to have a Spanish nationality or have been a Spanish resident for at least two years. In comparison to Spain, France requires only 40 days residency before you can legally marry there, and getting married in Italy only involves providing some paperwork that certifies your identity and that there are no legal impediments to your marriage. It can get really complicated, right?
The easiest choice is to have a legal ceremony at home and them have the wedding ceremony abroad.
To find out more about each European country, legal requirements, culture and etiquette go to www.destinationweddingdirectory.co.
4. SEND INVITES EARLY
Guest are usually responsible for their own travel and accommodation expenses, with that in mind, you should provide them with detailed information as soon as you have it. Sending save-the-date cards 6 months in advance would be perfect!
Be sure your save-the-date cards consist of:
- detailed instructions on transportation from the airport to the wedding venue
- several options for accommodations of varying price levels
And how cool is the idea to have a save the date cards that look like passports? It is the destination wedding, after all! Design of this card really resembles an actual passport while your photo and wording are found inside. Best of all, you can choose the colors and fonts. You can find these cards on Invitations by Dawn.
5. HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER – TRAVEL CONSULTANT
Planning a wedding is not an easy job, especially when it comes to destination weddings. You have to think about the vendor, photographers, musicians, transportation… and the list goes on. What we recommend to you, is to hire a wedding planner. They would be your local expert on the ground, and take care of many of the small but significant details we’ve already mentioned. And will do the job much faster and easier. They will know all the local legalities for ceremony planning, secure the marriage officer and also suggest you a beautiful location to exchange your vows.
Choosing a wedding menu can prove to be quite complicated. If you’re having a lot of guests, there is a huge possibility that they won’t have the same taste in food. Local seasonal food is a great choice. Why? Not only that it’s cheaper, but it is safer and tastier. In this way, you can save money and your guests will get to try out food that they maybe haven’t eaten before. If your wedding is held at sea or on the coast, guests will be thrilled with the selection of fish, shellfish, a lot of fruits and vegetables, risottos and light cakes.
If your wedding is inland, guests can try out some of the local specialties that are characteristic for that region. For example, in Germany you can have sausages, Tirol dumplings, Kasespatzle, or apple strudel. In France, they can have the famous Ratatouille, fish soups or croissants. Have your guests get acquainted with the culture of the region you’re getting married in. And it is known that smells last longer than pictures, right?
7. GROUP ACTIVITIES FOR GUESTS
The times when guests only arrived to attend only the wedding ceremony have past. Today’s guests want to have other activities when traveling to the wedding. Make them happy with group activities. In this way you will have them meet other guests, have fun with them, and leave with happy memories. Your guests can play group games, go on a hike, walks, boat rides.
If you’re having a wedding in Istra, Croatia, or Tuscany, Italy, you can have them go look for truffles in nearby forests with local people. Or they can pick grapes in vineyards and go wine tasting. In Provence, France, you can take them to the lavender fields. If you’re in the Alps, a hike in the beautiful nature will leave them speechless. Ask around with the local tourist agencies what kind of excursions and activities are available, don’t make this just about you, make sure that your guests have the best memories of your wedding possible.
If you’re having a wedding in a different country, organizing one can be a big problem. How to communicate with the wedding planner about your desires, the venue, what flowers do you wish for, or tables…this seemingly small problem can easily grow into a huge one. But, Pinterest is here to help you out. Make a board on Pinterest with your desired venue, decor, food…mark and pin everything you like. When you are sure about your wishes, send them to your wedding planner. This way, he will be informed with every single detail, and will be able to organize the wedding of your dreams. Sound like a great idea, right?
When organizing a wedding, the most problematic thing is the weather. It is important before picking the date to try and find out what kind of weather can be expected on that day. In some parts of Europe, summers can be pretty hot, and heat waves can come quite often. On the other hand, some parts can have a lot of rainfall. Try to find out, inquire about the weather, and pick out the best date for you.
10. ORGANIZING THE DETAILS
As we already said, when planning a wedding outside of your home country, it is important to plan it to the very last detail. Transportation to the venue is a very big issue. Make sure to buy tickets as early as possible, because you can save a lot of money that way. Also, if you make early reservations for accommodation, you can save at least 20%.
Photographer is one the most important parts of the wedding, everybody wants nice pictures from the wedding to cherish them for a long time. Finding a good photographer is hard, so if you found one whose work you really like, book him immediately. Music is a crucial part of the wedding, so ask your planner if he can recommend some bands or DJs. Check out their music, and immediately book the one you like the most. Wedding venue is usually booked a year in advance, especially if there will be a lot of people attending. Make reservations as early as possible, you don’t want to wait with this sort of things.
Food and cake tasting is something newlyweds usually do, but if you’re not available to go and try, you can check out reviews of the restaurants, hotels or pastry shops on the internet.
11. REDUCING THE GUEST LIST
If you’re going to have a large number of guests attending, maybe having a wedding in Europe is not for you, especially if you’re looking to save some money. Choose the closest circle of people, your parents, closest relatives and best friends. In this way, you will save money but your most loved ones will still be with you. Intimate, small and private. Make that as your wedding organisation motto.
12. WELCOME PACKAGES
Let your guests know that they are more than welcome on your wedding. Surprise them with little things that will cheer them up. Put fresh water, some souvenirs from the country that wedding is held in. Sweets. Tissues. Souvenirs can also be food items, like lavender from France, cheese from Austria, cakes from Italy. Find out what the local specialty is and make your guests happy with them.
13. WEDDING DRESS
Choosing a wedding dress depends on the location. If you’re going to have a wedding on beautiful Spanish beaches, we recommend a light dress because the heat in Spain can get really high, up to and often more than 40°C. Backless dresses, or short ones will fit you perfectly. Same goes for the bridesmaids. On the other hand, if you’re having a wedding in Germany, make sure to opt for thicker materials, or furs, shawls or wraps because of the significantly lower temperatures than in Spain. Also, take the transport of the dress into consideration. Imagine to haul a princess dress in the airplane. It is very exhausting even thinking about it, right?
But, if you always dreamed of that dress, you can buy it in Europe, only important thing is to make reservation online a few months in advance to make sure that you will get it when you arrive at your wedding venue.
14. DON’T OVERDO WITH DECORATIONS
When it comes to this type of weddings, decorations are the least thing to think about. It is a good chance that you will get married in a place that is probably already stunning on it’s own. Add only a few details to make the location your own, and so the guest can recognize your personality in it. That way, you will save a lot of money, and use the extra funds for something else.
15. MAKE YOUR WEDDING A LIVE INTERNET EVENT
This is perfect for relatives and friends ,who couldn’t make it to attend the wedding. Ask your videographer if he can make a live webcast. By doing so, your online guests will get to share and witness the emotion with you, and will feel like apart of your big day. All they’ll need to do is click on the link 10 minutes prior to the wedding, sit back on a couch and enjoy the ceremony. And bring out the tissues and champagne.
16. THE END
The day after, make sure that everything that is rented is returned, pay the accommodations, wedding planer, etc. Make sure to send out thank you cards. Take your wedding dress and groom’s suit to the cleaners. And if you’re changing your last name and the address, make sure to do it right away. This way you will make yourself free of any post wedding worries and tasks, and you can go to your honeymoon carefree and enjoy it to the fullest.