The thought of planning a wedding abroad can be overwhelming, but our expert wedding advisors are on hand to make the process a smooth and enjoyable one. Here are their top tips to get you started…
Start a Pinterest board and collect images and ideas that you love – a shortlist of destinations should start to reveal itself naturally. With that shortlist in hand, it’s time to look at the venues available in each destination. The world really is your oyster when it comes to getting married, and Thomson puts it on a plate and hands you a fork.
This is the clapper board point. You can book weddings abroad by calling our Weddings Team on 0871 664 0131 or by visiting a Thomson travel shop. Once you’ve done it, the rest of your wedding plans can roll.
Agreeing on numbers and who to invite is notoriously tricky, so sit down together and kick off the conversation early. If you’re struggling to cut down your guest list, why not hold a drinks and nibbles party for everyone when you get home? If you’re of the mind that more is merrier, however, take a look at Thomson’s Bride and Groom Incentive, which gives you little privileges as your party gets bigger.
Pin as many gowns as your data allowance will allow, and factor in the cost of veils, lingerie and shoes when setting your budget. And even if you think you know exactly what style you want, try something utterly ‘not you’ when you get to the shops, too – you never know, it might surprise you. Above all, have fun. Once you’ve found ‘the one’ in the Bruce Springsteen meaning of the word, the best part is finding ‘the one’ of the wedding dress variety.
One of the best parts of getting married abroad is being able to bring local flavours onto the wedding breakfast menu. Venue-wise, if you’re getting wed on the beach in front of a hotel it’ll seem obvious to move into the hotel’s function room or gardens for your first meal as man and wife. Or go for a barbecue on the beach. If you’d rather dine at the grass roots level, you can ask your wedding advisor to suggest some local restaurants that could accommodate you and your guests.
VIP airport lounge access, Champagne on ice and private transfers are just some of the ways to give your single selves the send-off they deserve. There are loads of special arrangements you can make for travelling to your wedding destination. And if you’ve taken up the Bride and Groom Incentive, some of these added touches will come as standard.
From sun-kissed beaches in Mexico to snowy fairytale landscapes in Lapland, the world’s your oyster when it comes to choosing a wedding backdrop.
Smudging footprints in the sand with your wedding train and having your veil carried by the sea breeze make beach weddings the stuff of daydreams. They can be as low-key as you like. Don’t bother with the bridal shoes and have a barefoot wedding with only the waves as witnesses. Or have a wide aisle constructed and say your vows in front of a plane’s worth of friends and family.
Contrary to popular belief, tradition is transportable. Overseas weddings can contain as much custom and convention as those in the UK. If one of you has been baptised or christened, you can have an Anglican Church religious wedding in Cyprus. For these nuptials, you’ll be able to pick your own hymns and choose readings that strike the loudest chord with you and your partner.
Footprints in the sand and the rustle of palms might do it for some. But for others, wintry landscapes are the real scene setters. In Iceland you can say I do against a backdrop of volcanic national parks, huge waterfalls or pretty geothermal pools. And ceremonies in Lapland are defined by snow-covered woodland and fairy lights that twinkle in the twilight. Most people associate the latter with Father Christmas, but those in the know understand it’s also starry-eyed territory as far as winter weddings go.
We’ve got a string of luxurious venues in the ‘only the best of the best will do’ bracket. So if you picture a wedding abroad that’s a push-the-boat-out, once-in-a-lifetime affair that calls for only the finest Champagne and the biggest, most luxurious, suite in the house, we can do just that.
Whether it’s your first anniversary or you’ve got married children of your own, there’s never a bad time to re-live your big day. It may be that you had a colossal celebration back home, and want something more intimate overseas. In which case, we’ve got venues where you can re-visit your vows with just a congregation of palm trees, and nobody else. On the other hand, if yours was a tiny ceremony the first go around, this could be the blow-the-budget, spoil-yourselves-silly commemoration that calls for an entourage of friends and family in attendance.
If having your wedding half a world away from every other couple in the UK appeals, so might the thought of having a big day that’s a world apart. Customising your wedding doesn’t have to end with self-penned vows and red wedding dresses. Your big day can be as out-of-the-box as you want it to be.
Beachfront settings in Cyprus, luxurious private villas in Ibiza, and pretty fresco-painted town halls in Croatia are some of the venues we’ve lined up for symbolic same-sex ceremonies and blessings. We also offer same-sex marriage ceremonies in Iceland, where you can tie the knot in a choice of unique locations. Say I do on top of a volcano, behind a 200-feet waterfall, at the otherworldly geothermal Blue Lagoon spa, or against the dramatic volcanic landscape of Thingvellir National Park.
Think of this as our wedding favour to you. As your party grows, we’ll give you the following tokens to make your wedding abroad even more memorable. And to get you off to a flying start, you and your other half will count as the first members of your party – so you’ll only need 6 more to hit the silver level.
Bride And Groom Incentive
8-10 guests including bride and groom
11-15 guests including bride and groom
16-24 guests including bride and groom
25-40 guests including bride and groom
41 guests+ including the bride and groom
We gave one loved-up couple the destination wedding of their dreams – with a twist. In a UK first, our Facebook following handpicked the couple from a shortlist of finalists, then made the key decisions for their big day – including the venue, the cake and even the dress.Read The #YourBigDay Story
Whatever backdrop you’ve got in mind for your big day – from far-flung tropical beaches to Europe’s most beautiful and historical cities – we can make it a reality.
Pick Europe for your big day and you can tie the knot anywhere from a Medieval monastery to a chapel made entirely of ice. Marry in Italy and you could be saying I do in a 13th-century Sicilian palazzo or on a cliffside terrace overlooking the Amalfi Coast. Or head to Cyprus for a church wedding with added sunshine. Greece, Ibiza and Turkey mainline in sea-view ceremonies, while Malta offers up weddings with a backdrop of ancient palaces, boat-flecked harbours and rolling vineyards. Over in Croatia, you’ve got storybook-pretty town halls and receptions in laid-back harbourside restaurants. Iceland gives you the chance to say I do at the foot of a waterfall or on a volcano. Or opt for a winter wonderland wedding in Lapland, with snow-blanketed scenery, roaring log fires, flickering candlelight and – if you’re lucky – an appearance from the Northern Lights.
White-sand beaches, Bombay Sapphire waters and an infectious party spirit mean the islands of the Caribbean were made for weddings. Each island has something different to bring to the wedding table – Aruba is home to some of the longest, whitest beaches going, the Dominican Republic livens up evening do’s with merengue music and rum cocktails, and Jamaica offers a reggae soundtrack and a laid-back attitude. Jamaica is also the go-to island for more unusual ceremony locations – exchange vows on horseback or on a bamboo raft on the Martha Brae River.
The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius doesn’t just deliver dream weddings, but wraps them up with aquamarine lagoons and ribbons of veil-white sand. If you don’t fancy saying your vows with the sand between your toes, you can also opt to wed in pretty gardens, or on ocean-view terraces. Receptions could feature fresh seafood, Creole cuisine, and cocktails made with local rum, while post-big day adventures can include hikes to rainforest waterfalls, snorkelling over coral reefs, and daytrips to deserted offshore islands.
Whether you fancy golden sands and golden sunsets, or beaches whiter than your wedding cake, Latin America delivers. Opt for Mexico and you’ll have a choice between the east and west coasts. In the east, it’s all white sands, Tiffany-blue waters, and A-list-worthy hotels, while on the west coast you can expect sunset ceremonies overlooking caramel-coloured sands, with the Sierra Madre mountains as a backdrop. Further south, Costa Rica has the same gold sands and sunset vistas, but with an added dose of adventure – post-ceremony activities can include soaking in volcanic hot springs, flying through the rainforest on a zipline, and surfing Pacific breakers.
Jet off to the Far East favourites like Thailand for your big day and you’re promised a wedding that’s anything but run of the mill. Ceremonies in Thailand tend to play out beneath shady pergolas on white-sand beaches, with a peach-tinged sunset in front of you. A path of scattered petals forms the aisle, while post-vows, you can sip sparkling wine looking over the Andaman Sea. For something completely different, you can tie the knot in an ornate Buddhist temple, with a blessing from orange-robed monks. Wedding breakfast menus feature flavour-packed Thai specialities – you’ll dine on sand-side tables with the waves as a soundtrack.
From Cinderella’s Castle to 19th century chapels, fairy-tale wedding backdrops are what the USA does best. Tie the knot in Florida and you can arrive in a horse and carriage, say your vows with Cinderella’s Castle in the background, and toast your nuptials while fireworks explode in the sky behind you. If you’d rather have more of a Southern Belle feel, you could walk down the aisle at a 1920s plantation, or pose for photos under a moss-hung tree outside Winter Park’s 19th-century chapel. Lakeside ceremonies are also something of a speciality, and thanks to Florida’s balmy temperatures, al fresco receptions are easy, too.
We can take care of all the little extras that put the polish on your Big Day.
A romantic candle-lit meal. Breakfast in bed. A pampering treatment or two. Book an upgraded wedding package and you can really tie the knot in style.
We’ll sort your bouquets and buttonholes when you arrive and help you tailor them to the destination, season and climate.
Naturally you’ll want to capture as much of your special day as possible. We can arrange for the whole wedding to be photographed and filmed – and even set up a live feed for friends and family to watch at home.
If there’s one day you want to look your best, it’s your wedding day. We can arrange for you to get your hair styled and nails polished to perfection.
Our standard wedding package includes a cake. But if you want to cut into a frosted, multi-tiered affair, you can opt for something with a little more flair.
Tinkling steel drums, a string quartet, or perhaps a good old-fashioned live band – whatever you want to waltz down the aisle to, we can sort the soundtrack to your wedding.
It’s all about arriving in style. Whether you want a vintage car, a limo, or a horse-drawn carriage we’ll do our best to sort it for you. Plus, we can arrange transport for your guests, too.
Start as you mean to go on in an exclusive airport lounge with a glass of Champagne, or by pre-ordering a bottle of chilled fizz and a box of chocolates to be waiting for you on the plane.
We know planning a wedding abroad can be a bit daunting, so we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to take you through all the need-to-know details. If we haven’t answered your questions here, call our weddings advisors or Ask A Question.
Once you’ve decided on a destination, it’s up to you where you stay. You can choose any of the hotels in this brochure, or team your wedding venue with a hotel from one of our other brochures.
Once your hotel’s booked, we’ll send you a booking form to complete and return to us with your preferred date. Then we’ll speak to our overseas team and get your date confirmed – this can take up to eight weeks. When it’s all set we’ll send you a destination pack and the email address of your weddings advisor.
You’ll receive a checklist with your destination pack which will tell you exactly what documents you’ll need. Our Weddings Team usually need photocopies at least 12 weeks before you fly out and you’ll need to take the originals with you.
The ceremony is usually a civil service led by a local registrar with two witnesses. In Cyprus, we also offer church weddings, which are Anglican services carried out by an English minister.
You need to travel under the name on your passport, which matches your plane tickets. If you’re changing your name, you can have your passport amended once you’re back home.
Yes. All Thomson weddings are carried out by official marriage officers in line with British law and are registered in the country where the ceremony took place. If you want to have your marriage recorded in the UK, you can lodge your original marriage certificate with the General Register Office. Usually, you’ll get your marriage certificate while you’re away, sometimes it’ll be sent to you once you get home.
Yes, it’s available as an extension to our travel insurance. For full details of the cover, give our Weddings Team a call.
For weddings in romantic destinations, it has to be Thomson Weddings.