Destination wedding – yes or no? Claire Clarke Weddings shares advice about getting married abroad.

Destination weddings tend to be like marmite…people either love the idea or hate the idea but there are lots of things to think about when looking at getting married in a different country.

Destination wedding advice - the pros and cons by Claire Clarke Weddings - photo thanks to Jez Dickson Photography

Destination Wedding Advice

Claire Clarke from Claire Clarke Weddings – destination wedding planner has been planning weddings and events for over eight years. Some include in-house at some of London’s most iconic venues such as Firmdale Hotels, Corinthia Hotel London and The Savoy Hotel. She wanted to bring a touch of five-star styled service and planning to the countryside so Claire Clarke Weddings was born – planning weddings UK wide and more recently in destination locations. We asked her our key questions about destination weddings and she has loads of helpful advice, thank you Claire!

Gorgeous sunset wedding photo by Sung Blue Wedding Photography - Claire Clarke Destination Wedding Advice

Photo courtesy of Sung Blue

The positives

For couples considering a destination wedding, what are the benefits of having a wedding away from home?

Whether you choose to have a destination wedding including just the two of you, a selection of close family or friends or a full wedding party, there are many reasons to choose a destination location for your wedding.

  1. The majority of destination weddings are more stress-free than having a traditional wedding in the UK. Many resort locations have a wedding planner on site and offer an all-inclusive package. This can include florals, cake, decorations and catering meaning with less suppliers for you to contact, your wedding planning will always be simpler.
  2. A lot of couples feel they need to bear their family and parents’ wishes in mind when planning a wedding, especially if they’re fronting some of the bill. Having a destination wedding allows you to have the wedding you’ve always wanted without juggling two sets of parents to keep happy.
  3. Of course, it depends on the location you choose but most destination weddings offer more value for money than a wedding in the UK.
  4. They’re a great option for those with family and friends dotted around the globe allowing you to make your wedding into a holiday to spend time with your loved ones while celebrating your big day.
  5. Your wedding doesn’t need to be just one day. You can extend the experience with many now opting for a weekend of celebrations including arrival pool parties and post wedding brunches, the opportunities are endless!
  6. A destination wedding allows you to ‘break the rules’ and have the wedding you’ve always dreamed of, the way you want.

Table set up outdoors for a destination wedding - Claire Clarke Destination Wedding Advice - Photo by Cat Lane Weddings

Photo courtesy of Cat Lane Weddings

The challenges

What are the challenges couples need to consider when planning a destination wedding?

Depending on the location you select, you may never see your chosen venue in person. This can be un-settling. If seeing your venue is a must, I would always suggest a European location as opposed to a far-away destination.

Bringing items from home to ‘personalise’ your wedding is always tough with a destination wedding and unless you’re willing to ship a trunk of items, I always explain to my couples that if a DIY wedding is what you’ve always dreamed of, a destination wedding may not be best suited to you.

The biggest challenge many face is with the delays of communication. We’re so used to pinging emails back and forth within minutes. However, many destination locations don’t prioritise emails the way we do. This can be stressful for many clients. Having a wedding planner hugely helps here as we can answer many of the questions you’d likely be asking the venue with regards to logistics and by acting as your liaison with the suppliers and venue we can ensure you relax and enjoy the process rather than refreshing your email every few hours for a response.


If the wedding is abroad is the marriage still legal in the UK?

Your marriage or civil partnership should be recognised in the UK if you follow the correct process according to the laws in your chosen destination. I find many of my couples prefer to have a secret UK wedding and a blessing or humanist wedding abroad to curb this common worry.


What advice do you have for couples concerned about budget and guests travelling?

As long as you give your guests the relevant notice, various options for their budget they’ll find a way to be with you. Sadly, many people have their own home life and may not be able to attend your wedding. You need to just remember not to dwell on those that can’t make it. Instead put your efforts and appreciation to those who have. A good videographer will allow those unable to come relive the wonderful memories. You could have a dinner party with them once you return – double celebrations!

Romantic sunset wedding photo by Jez Dickson Photography - Claire Clarke Destination Wedding Advice

Photo courtesy of Jez Dickson Photography

As a planner in the UK can you coordinate weddings abroad? Or is it better to find a planner in the host country?

This really does depend on your chosen location as some venues only work with certain local planners. Having a planner in the country you reside in allows you to stay in touch more regularly. This makes the overall process less stressful for you. Knowing there is someone close-by on hand for a wedding pep talk when needed can really help.

An Italian Destination Wedding

What’s been your favourite wedding you’ve planned?

This one is easy- my own wedding. I actually had a destination wedding myself in Italy. I truly enjoyed the whole process of planning our big day. Being a planner, many expected I wouldn’t be able to relax on my day however I was the complete opposite. The sounds of the birds tweeting, the sun shining and having a week with my favourite people in the world, meant every moment of the experience was treasured and enjoyed. The Italian wine ‘on-tap’ certainly helped me to relax too!

What’s the best way for couples to contact you about planning their wedding?

I’d love to hear from you to discuss planning your wedding either in the UK or abroad!

Please drop me an email to [email protected] or visit my website for more information about my services and about Castello Monaci; a destination wedding location in Italy that I proudly represent!