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Destination Weddings: Top Tips

You’ve decided to tie the knot abroad, but how do you start planning?  

Sifting through the confetti of details, Caxton FX has compiled a list of useful tips, to help you begin organising your dream wedding abroad.

Research your destination
Choose your time of year carefully. Places like Kenya have wet seasons and September is hurricane season in the Caribbean. Once you’ve decided on your dream location, the next step is looking into what documents you should have. The legal paperwork you need to complete for an overseas wedding can be confusing. Hiring an overseas wedding planner will certainly eliminate much of the legwork. However, if you are keen to ‘go it alone’ head to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (, where you’ll find an array of useful links, including embassy details. Remember to check if your foreign wedding will be recognized in the UK and look out for extra costs such as document translation fees.

Look into your Venue
If you're planning your wedding well in advance, it’s a good idea to visit the hotel/area/venue you’ve chosen beforehand to make sure that it's what you're looking for. You can then meet any managers or wedding coordinators. Lisa Burton, principal consultant at advises, “Check what the venue has in place for all eventualities like; what if it rains? Can you choose your flowers? Can you play your own music? Are there any beauty facilities in place (hair, make-up etc)?” If you decide to arrange your wedding through a tour company, ensure you read the small print. What may look like a very desirable price might not include everything you want. Things like receptions are very rarely included. Also check how many weddings your venue has for your date. You don’t want to feel you are on a conveyor belt on your special day. If visiting your chosen location isn’t feasible, use the internet. Web sites like Trip Advisor ( offer reviews on hotels and the area in general.

Organise your foreign money transfers
You will need to put down a deposit and eventually pay your overseas venue, photographer and caterers. Be savvy about how you send funds abroad. High street banks often charge upwards of £25 just to transfer your money; banks can also charge commission and take overseas delivery charges. Caxton FX offer an online payment service that is not only free to set up, there are no transfer charges and exchange rates are very competitive. James Hickman, managing director at Caxton FX explains, “It is important to raise awareness about unnecessary charges, more so as the pound is weak. Couples don’t realise that there is a cheaper and trustworthy alternative to using a High Street Bank for wedding money transfers.  FastPay not only offers bank-beating exchange rates, it also offers peace of mind, as you can track the progress of your payments.”

Plan the nitty gritty
Health services, hygiene and risk of disease vary throughout the world. Find out what injections or preventative measures, such as Malaria tablets, you will need. Remember to always talk about any medication before you take it with your GP. It’s also wise to take out a wedding insurance policy over and above your holiday insurance to cover every possible eventuality; from the loss of your dress, to a hurricane preventing your wedding from taking place. There are many companies that specialise in wedding insurance and to help you find the best deal, Caxton FX recommends heading to Which? There you’ll find non biased advice on everything; from helping you decide the cover that's right for your situation, to a list of insurers to help you shop around.

Think about your wedding outfits
For an overseas wedding it’s important to consider the climate of your destination. Structured dresses with hoops and petticoats and heavy suits will probably be quite uncomfortable in temperatures of 30+ degrees! Lisa Burton advises, “Choose natural fibre fabrics that allow your skin to breathe. Backless dresses are elegant and timeless and for the groom, perhaps forego a jacket altogether in favour of a crisp linen or cotton shirt.” Check with your airline about their policy for taking your dress onboard, do you have to put it in the hold? If so, consider making alternative arrangements like a travel box that you can take with you as hand luggage ( Lisa Burton also adds, “You don’t want the groom to see the dress before the big day so ask a relative to hang the dress in their room, or alternatively, ask your hotel if they can arrange somewhere safe to store it.”

Give your guests advance notice
If you get married abroad, you’ll probably have a smaller guest list. Even so it’s advisable to give your guests as much notice as possible so they can look into booking their flights and accommodation and get the best deals. If you’ve chosen to use a tour operator to plan your wedding they may well be able to help with booking group stays at your venue for your guests. When sending your invitations out, it’s a nice idea to put in a pull out sheet that has information on your venue. Tips like; any injections needed, what visas they need, suggested flights etc. Setting up a wedding website is another way of ensuring your guests have all the details. You can also use it to remind your guests how you met, for your guests to provide their dietary requirements are or even get a list of their favourite songs for the DJ’s playlist!

Packing smart
Make a list of everything you need to take with you, from sun cream to something blue! “Create an emergency ‘crisis kit’, so you are prepared for every eventuality,” recommends Lisa Burton. “Things like a needle and thread, plasters, headache tablets, something for an upset stomach and photocopies of your passports and all your important documents will ensure you have everything covered.” Another travel essential is a prepaid currency card as you may need to pay for final touches when you arrive at your destination as well as have spending money for the rest of your stay. Arming yourself with a big handful of notes, on top of all your wedding things is not only impractical but also unsafe. Using your debit or credit card overseas will see you hit with all sorts of fees and charges, which will eat into your wedding fund. Prepaid currency cards are not only a hassle free way of carrying your travel money; they also act as a great budgetary tool. With a Caxton FX prepaid currency card, you know exactly how much you are spending and with no overseas ATM fees or transaction charges, it takes away the shock of discovering that you’ve been charged and overspent. Head to for more details.

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