Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Planning a Destination Wedding from the UK

Since we have so many couples that come to us from the UK, I'm adding this article which should be very helpful.

Planning a destination wedding

Florida is one of the world`s most famous and popular holiday destinations. Renowned for hour after hour of unbroken sunshine, sizzling summer temperatures, miles of golden sands and superb entertainment venues including Disney World, Florida continues to attract literally millions of tourists each year. For many of these reasons, Florida is also a popular location for the so-called destination weddings, which simply refers to weddings between foreign nationals that take place abroad. Thus, for example, a couple from the United Kingdom could organise a destination holiday in Florida.

Destination holidays are primarily designed to offer something a little more exotic than the run-of-the-mill church or registry office weddings. Furthermore, a more cynical stance on destination holidays is that they not only combine the expense of a honeymoon with the wedding itself but also manage to streamline the number of guests that will likely attend, which can often be a good thing where families are concerned. Nevertheless, planning a destination wedding in a location such as Florida requires a little work beforehand.

Naturally, there are some legal points to consider. First, it is not possible to register a marriage abroad with the relevant authority in the UK, which happens to be the General Register Office (GRO), unless it involves a serving member of the British Armed Forces. Assuming a traditional civilian wedding, a couple getting married abroad, of which at least one is a British national, can apply to record the wedding with the GRO. This will involve sending the marriage certificate to the GRO, who have a fairly extensive list of countries from which the notifications are accepted. As could be expected, the USA is one such country.

A further legal requirement of getting married abroad is that the couple complies with the relevant laws of the destination country. In Florida, there are a number of laws to consider but the most crucial points to answer are what, how and when? In this respect, a marriage licence must be applied for well in advance of the proposed wedding date and, once issued, is valid for a maximum of sixty days. Costing around $100 or less, an additional fee can be paid to have the licence posted to the recipients. Marriage licences in Florida can be issued to non-residents of the state, although passports will be required to complete the application. Whilst these rules are generally accurate, certain legal requirements may differ between counties in Florida, so always check with the relevant authority to make sure.

The tedious legal work should never cast a shadow over wedding preparations, however (unless they preclude the possibility of a destination wedding!). Indeed, financial considerations are typically far more stressful and deserve greater attention. A summary of the basic steps that are required of a destination wedding includes choosing the location and venue, setting a date, applying for the marriage licence, booking the venue and services of a wedding officiant, purchasing travel tickets, arranging the ceremony, hiring a wedding planner and then choosing where exactly to spend the honeymoon. As previously mentioned, Florida is a fantastic holiday resort anyway so the honeymoon ought not to provide too many headaches.

The total cost of a destination holiday in Florida will vary considerably, although it would be sensible to reserve an additional £5,000 on top of what would ordinarily be spent on a wedding in the UK. The strength of the pound against the dollar will provide some financial respite, although it would be sensible to shop around for cheap flights to Miami, which is one of the key destinations in Florida.

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