Example Day of a Wedding Abroad
What do I wear?
Of course what you wear for your wedding is entirely up to you and there are no real dress rules if you are marrying in the grounds of your hotel. However, if you have arranged for a religious service in a chapel or church you will most likely be expected to respect local custom and cover your head and shoulders. Also in some Eastern countries, such as Thailand there is a specific dress code. Your tour operator or the relevant embassy will advise you.
If you have chosen to marry in tropical climes you should choose a dress that will give you the maximum comfort in the heat. The traditional style of wedding outfit worn in the UK may not be practicable for a beach wedding as not only will you have to contend with your dress dragging in the sand, but heeled shoes could be a real disaster as you sink backwards and find yourself tilting at a 45 degree angle. However, if you particularly want a full-skirted dress, wear it without the layers of petticoats for maximum cool. Otherwise, choose a short dress with shoestring straps or a lightweight, loose fitting trouser suit, the brave Pamela Anderson type can even wear a white bikini covered by a sarong. Grooms can choose a lightweight suit, casual trousers and shirt, or even go ‘David Beckham style’ with a swimsuit and sarong.
Transporting and caring for your outfits
Check with your airline for advice on transporting your wedding outfits. Some recommend that they should be boxed or packed into separate suitcases. They will then be placed into the hold. Others suggest that you use suit carriers and, space permitting, they will be hung in the cabin of the aircraft. Outfits can always be carried as hand luggage but this will restrict you to keeping the rest of your hand luggage to a minimum.
As soon as you arrive at your hotel, unpack your wedding outfits and hang them up. A warm and humid tropical climate should allow creases to fall out naturally however, your hotel or your wedding representative can normally arrange for your outfits to be pressed if necessary. Or try hanging it in a steam-filled bathroom or use a hair dryer.
Hair and beauty treatments
Hair and beauty treatments can be arranged when you arrive at your hotel. If your hotel does not have these facilities then appointments can be made through your representative at a nearby hotel or beauty salon. For total peace of mind, practice styling your own hair and make-up before setting off.
If you have chosen to marry in a hot destination, do beware of the sun. As wonderful as you may look wearing you wedding dress with a tan, it is all too easy to end up looking like a lobster with a mayonnaise dressing! Pace your sunbathing on the run-up to your wedding to ensure the glow of a blushing bride or help nature with a good quality fake tan.
The wedding cake
Expect the wedding cake to be a sponge cake of simple design with white or pink icing. There are UK companies, such as Helen Houlden Cakes, who make cakes especially for overseas weddings and will pack them appropriately for travelling.
If you have booked your wedding through a tour operator you may be asked to choose your wedding flowers before you go. As many flowers are seasonal it will be necessary to discuss your requirements at an early stage. If possible wait until you arrive at your destination to decide what you want so that you can have a clear idea of what is available. Alternatively, you may like to consider taking a bouquet and headdress of silk or dried flowers that have been made up in the UK.
Photography and videos
Photographers and videographers can be booked either through your tour operator or hotel and will almost certainly be an optional extra, but don’t cut costs here. It is your big day and it is important to have a record to show your friends and family who could not be with you. You must also be realistic about the quality you expect from your photographs and video as although they will be produced to the highest possible standards, in many circumstances they will not have the equipment or facilities that you would expect in the UK
At most hotels it is possible for you to have your own choice of music played at your wedding, but if you want a steel band or other form of entertainment you can expect to pay extra.