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Plan your destination wedding without any drama

Planning a destination wedding doesn't need to be overcomplicated. Certain locations make it much easier to get married than others, meaning you no longer need to be limited to UK locations just so you can get through all the paperwork. Find a romantic location for the most important day in your life without having to cut through any red tape. The best part: you can include your honeymoon without worrying about any extra travelling.

Our Top 10

1. Denmark

More people are choosing to get married in Denmark nowadays due to the simplicity of the process: all you need to do is get a basic certificate, prove your marital status, and wait until you are appointed a marriage date. After this, you'll be able to reserve a trip to Denmark for your wedding. Choose to get married in the magnificent Copenhagen city hall, or find one of the smaller, more romantic city halls where marriages are officiated. Arrange your wedding in Denmark to forget about all the bureaucratic complications associated with nationality, residence status, and sexual orientation. However, it is important to note that you need to stay in Denmark for a minimum of two weeks before your wedding date, so get ready for plenty of sightseeing with your fiancé before you say your "I do"s.

What you need:

  • Marriage licence - apply approximately four months before your wedding date.
  • Pay a EUR 217 administration fee when applying.
  • Wait until you have a confirmed wedding date before booking your trip, as dates are subject to change.
  • Bring along your passport, visa, and certificate that confirms your marital status.
  • Remember minimum stay of two weeks is required before the wedding and two days after.

Unique wedding features:

  • Enjoy an intimate wedding in the Copenhagen city hall.
  • Find your way to one of the outlying islands for a romantic beach wedding.

2. USA

A prime destination for a foreign wedding: in the USA you can enjoy a delightful uncomplicated marriage ceremony. With a wide variety of options, you can let your imagination run wild with wedding plans - whether you have always pictured a quickie wedding in Las Vegas, a seaside wedding in Miami, or a traditional church wedding in San Francisco, the options are endless. You could even make your way to the endlessly exciting New York City for your dream destination wedding. With the proper documentation, you can register your marriage in just a few short days even if you aren't an American citizen.

What you need:

  • Marriage licence - apply online 30 to 60 days before your wedding date.
  • Fees range between $10 and $115 depending on the state.
  • Keep your travel visa, passport, and proof of residence with you.

 

Unique wedding feature:

  • In Las Vegas, request to have your wedding officiated by an Elvis impersonator!
  • Take a road trip across the states for your honeymoon.

3. Hawaii 

The Hawaiian archipelago is a great setting for your wedding abroad. It is, of course, breathtakingly beautiful and, as it's an American territory, the marriage process here is quick and simple. Decide to get married on one of the sandy white beaches with all your guests adorned in floral Leis, or make your way up one of the mountains for a wedding ceremony with a view. Once you have chosen the perfect setting, get your marriage licence, invite your guests, and wait for the big day to arrive. To authenticate your marriage, all you'll need to do is provide your visas, passports, and wedding licence.

What you need:

  • Wedding licence - apply at the local registry office 2 weeks before the wedding date.
  • Marriage licences cost $60.
  • Supply your passports, travel visas, and marriage licence at the ceremony.
  • Provide proof of divorce if you have been married before.

Unique wedding feature:

  • Enjoy a traditional lu'au party for your reception.
  • Get married at the base of an active volcano.
  • Have local artists perform a hula dance to welcome guests to the ceremony.

4. Gibraltar 

Conveniently located on the Mediterranean coast, Gibraltar is a great option for your destination. You'll find that it's much easier to get married on this beautiful stretch of land than anywhere in neighbouring Spain. With the option to arrange a special marriage licence in just 48 hours, you could even opt for a spontaneous wedding with a view over the ocean. If you prefer the romance of getting married in a courthouse, you'll need to take some time to plan to ensure you get all the proper documentation. After a quick and easy marriage ceremony, enjoy a honeymoon with your new spouse at one of the coastal resorts.

What you need:

  • For special marriage licences, apply at the registry 48-hours before the wedding date.
  • Wedding licences for registry office weddings must be obtained 21 days before the marriage.
  • Provide your passport, visa, and proof that you spent the night before the wedding in Gibraltar.
  • All documents must be in English.

Unique wedding feature:

  • Arrange a sunset wedding with views over the ocean.
  • Have the reception catered by a local tapas bar.

5. Jamaica

With endless stretches of golden beaches and tropical forests, Jamaica is one of the most popular locations in the Caribbean for weddings. There is a good reason for this: it is a dream destination with great photo opportunities and the marriage process here is quick and easy. Unlike in other Caribbean countries, you won't need to take a blood test before you are allowed to get married; all you need to do is collect a few basic documents, get your marriage licence (known locally as a Minister's licence) and plan your special day. Get married on the beach or find a secluded church nestled between the trees.

What you need:

  • Apply for your Minister's licence 24-hours before the wedding day.
  • Complete a declaration at the Justice of the Peace's office.
  • Have your Minister's licence stamped at the registry office.
  • Bring your passport.

Unique wedding feature:

  • Have an underwater wedding officiated by a professional scuba diver.
  • Arrive at your wedding ceremony on the back of a horse.

6. Mauritius 

With a plethora of wedding packages available at many luxury resorts across the island, Mauritius is an ideal destination for anyone looking for a fairytale wedding. Besides it being a more beautiful wedding than you could ever imagine, there are several other benefits associated with a wedding on the island. The practicalities behind the marriage are simple to get through and won't take up a significant amount of time to complete. And, of course, you won't need to worry about travelling to another location for your honeymoon, as the resorts offer you everything you could ever wish for. With a backdrop of luscious mountains and endless beaches for your perfect day, you'll know you're in paradise.

What you need:

  • Have two copies made of each of your passports and birth certificates.
  • Send copies of your documents as well as two passport photo pictures to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages in Port Louis at least 6 weeks before the wedding date.
  • Bring two witnesses to sign the marriage certificate.

Unique wedding feature:

  • Arrange a beach wedding with flowers from the island.
  • Spend your honeymoon in a bespoke resort.

7. Iceland

Make your way to Iceland to enjoy a classic wedding complete with Icelandic traditions. Be sure to start planning early so that you don't need to worry about any of the paperwork and remember that you need to get a marriage notification at least five days before your big day arrives. Then relax and enjoy your wedding! Iceland is full of awe-inspiring natural phenomena which are sure to take your breath away. With an Icelandic wedding, you could say your vows in front of a volcano, on top of a glacier, next to a waterfall, or under the Northern Lights. What more could you wish for?

What you need:

  • Marriage notification - apply online at least 3 months before the big day.
  • Last-minute marriage notifications can be acquired 5 days before the wedding date.
  • Keep your passports at hand for the ceremony.

Unique wedding feature:

  • Get married under the Northern Lights in the winter months.
  • Dance the night away with the near-constant sunlight during the summer.

8. South Africa

As one of the most diverse countries on the globe, South Africa is a great destination for anyone looking for an easy wedding experience. Find the perfect wedding package to suit your relationship, regardless of your sexual orientation or religion. In addition to finding the process inclusive and effortless, you may just be surprised by the wide variety of options that are available to you. You could get married in the mountains, on a beach, in a romantic vineyard, on safari... the options are endless! Whichever beautiful landscape you want as your destination, South Africa is sure to make the best day of your life even better.

What you need:

  • Copies of your passports, visa stamp pages in your passports, and letters of non-impediment.
  • Necessary documentation to receive your Declaration for the Purpose of Marriage at least a week before the wedding.
  • Sign an affidavit on your wedding day.

Unique wedding feature:

  • Arrange your wedding at the former prison on Robben Island.
  • Enjoy a honeymoon on the South African garden route.

9. Canada

Canada is an exciting destination for your wedding abroad. Enjoy the landscapes that range between prairies dotted with lakes to frosty mountain ranges. One of the biggest attractions for getting married in Canada is the ease of the process: you only need a tourist visa, a marriage licence and copies of your passports. Opt for a traditional white wedding, or go for something a little more daring by strapping on your snowsuit and enjoying a wedding in the icy fields in the north of the country, followed by an ice-fishing excursion. After you have tied the knot, explore the wide Canadian expanses on a honeymoon you are unlikely to forget.

What you need:

  • Pay the $125 (Canadian dollars) fee for your marriage licence.
  • The licence is valid for 60 days after application.
  • Keep your passport and travel visa at hand during the ceremony.
  • Ensure you have two witnesses.

Unique wedding feature:

  • Serve your guests delicious maple whiskey cocktails at the reception.
  • Decorate your ceremony with local wildflowers and maple leaf wreaths.

10. Gretna Green

This sweet Scottish town is famous for being one of the top settings for destination weddings, and with good reason. Gretna Green has a wonderful romantic history: young lovers have been running here to elope since the 1700s! Here you'll find a traditional blacksmiths shop where 'Blacksmith Priests' officiated for many runaway couples, as it used to be the first stop over the border into Scotland. You can still get married in that blacksmiths today! In this picturesque town, the paperwork process has remained quick and easy: just visit the Gretna Green registry office with the relevant documentation, sign your marriage certificate, and seal your marriage with a kiss.

What you need:

  • Obtain a certificate of non-impediment from your government.
  • Provide your passports before the ceremony.
  • Registration fees are estimated at £70.
  • Pay approximately £175 for a minister to officiate the ceremony.

Unique wedding feature:

  • Create a sense of luxury with a wedding at one of the magnificent castles in the surrounding area.
  • Touch the famous old anvil at the Blacksmith's shop - it's said to bring you luck in your marriage! 

To ensure that your wedding is as special as you always dreamed it would be, start planning early. Gather all the necessary documentation well in advance. Keep in mind that laws and conditions in the various countries are subject to change, so it's a good idea to stay up to date with your destination's. The more you get sorted now, the less you need to worry about later, so you can spend the big day concentrating on what really matters. With thorough planning and a little imagination, you can give your marriage the unforgettable and distinctive start it deserves.

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