Getting Married Abroad: Our Wedding

Monday, February 06, 2017

Nowadays, more and more couples are choosing to get married abroad, rather than in the UK. I mean, why wouldn't you? With such beautiful locations, picture-esque venues and much more to show for your money, it seems like the perfect option. But planning your wedding is the most stressful and nerve wracking job you'll have, so it's important that you consider all of your options and pick the right location for you. 

We were paying for our wedding ourselves, so for us, getting married abroad was a no-brainer. We struggled to find a venue that we loved that was within our budget. And we also had the worry about what the weather would be like on the day. At first, we didn't actually think or plan about getting married abroad. It was all a little spontaneous at the start, as we had just decided to start looking at venues while we were visiting family in Javea, a small town at the south of Spain. 

After visiting the traditional Spanish wedding venues (usually churches or cathedrals where you you'll be married by a Priest), we realised this wasn't for us. So we decided to look at more modern venues including villas, restaurants and hotels. After endless disappointing appointments, we visited a beautiful little restaurant/events venue, Salones Carrasco which is located in the heart of Javea. 

Salones Carrasco is a family run business, mainly managed by Rosanna and her brothers. When we were being shown around, it was so lovely to see the passion they have, as it was obvious how much they loved what they do. The service we received was so much more personal,  and the venue was beautiful, we just knew that this was the place that we wanted to get married. 

After we set our date and paid our deposit, it was back to England we went, to start scrap booking and planning the fine details of our wedding. Surprisingly, I had so much support from Roxanna as she kept me up to date with any plans, ideas, bookings and tastings - it was like having our own wedding planner. She was with us every step of the way, helped translate between Spanish and English, and also organised lots of the little details on the day. 

One of the hardest decisions we had to make was outfits. For the men in the wedding party it was easy. We had decided to go with a cotton suit from Next for the grooms men, which would be cool enough for a sunny October day, but still warm enough for the evening breeze. My husband wanted something a little more fancy, so he picked up a tailored linen-cotton mix suit from Suit Supply in London. If you are ever looking for a suit, I can't recommend them enough. The quality is incredible and the service that you receive in store is second to none.

Sadly, I had a lot of problems with my bridal gown which was ruined by someone who I had put my trust in. When I was trying on wedding dresses in the Bridal shops, I hadn't felt that feeling on any dress I tried. I was that person who couldn't decide. But, there were parts of each dress that I loved. So my mum had introduced me to her friends son, who was starting his own business designing couture and bespoke dresses. We had started the design about 15 months before our wedding day. But for whatever reason, he just didn't seem to care when it came to actually creating my dress (after I'd already paid in full, in advance). 

My dress should have been finished in August, but he didn't allow us to collect it until a few days before we flew to Spain in October. And at that point, it was too late. I'm forever grateful to my mum who spent so much time trying to make my dress wearable, as he didn't do it to fit or shape my body. He slacked with quality and there were small holes in the lace, but my mum spent all hours of the night trying to make my dress suitable for the day. 

Thankfully, the problems aren't too noticeable on photos, but to me, it ruined my day and I didn't feel special or like a bride at all. So if you are getting married abroad, just make sure you have your dress ready  (and possibly collected) well in advance. 

My shoes on the other hand were out of this world. Being a huggeeeeee Sex and The City fan, I'd always dreamt of having those iconic heels to walk down the aisle in. Yes, I mean those beautiful blue Manolo Blanik Hangisi's that Mr Big gives Carrie Bradshaw instead of an engagement ring. The royal blue shade just didn't suit our wedding theme, but I managed to find a pair in navy in the USA. The colours available in the UK vary, but they do have a variety of shades here

I can honestly say, hand on heart, that they are the most comfortable shoes that I have ever worn, in my life. The heels aren't as high as my Louboutins as I went for a more appropriate height, so they were already so much more manageable to walk in. The insoles felt like they had memory foam underneath, what a delight. The only thing you need to take into consideration is that they're made from satin. So the slightest little drop of water, or accidental spilled drink could stain them. But I had them professionally cleaned when I returned to the UK, so they look good as new again.

One thing that we found when planning our wedding abroad, is that wedding cars aren't as nice as in the UK. I like the classic vintage style car, but it wasn't something that we could arrange in Spain. There were a lot of classics and super sport cars, but you also have to consider the insurance element - even when hiring someone to drive.

Instead, not only did my pops walk me down the aisle, but he also drove us from his brother's villa (where we were staying) to the venue, in his Porsche 911 GTS. It made it so much more special that my dad was driving us, even more so in a luxury car. He even went round to help me out of the car, what a true gentleman!  

For the guests, one of the most important thing for us was making sure they didn't have to travel between locations or pay for anything from the moment they arrived at our venue. So after the ceremony in the mid-afternoon, we arranged cocktails and tapas appetisers, shortly followed by a selection of our favourite canapes. Later on, we enjoyed a 5 course sit down mean, with unlimited wine and fizz for the table. 

Afterwards, it was time for the party, and there were a selection of cakes and a savoury cheese board to keep our guests filled up all night. And of course, there was a lot of alcohol. We'd sorted a free bar for all our guests from the moment we were seated for food until the early hours of the morning when the wedding celebration was over. 

In Spain, and most European countries in fact, it's common to arrange a free bar for your guests. You'll usually pay a set fee of around €400 per hour. But a European open bar is so much better than anything I've seen in the UK as they just put all the alcohol behind a bar, have someone there to help, but you can basically serve yourself as much alcohol as you want. And when that runs out, they keep replacing it until either that's gone, or until nobody can psychically drink anymore. Which for some, like my husband, thought was a challenge.

Despite there being a few hiccups on the run up and on the day of my wedding, if we were to do it all again, we would definitely choose to get married abroad. Not only do you get lovely sunshine, a lot more for your money and much more personal service from vendors. But it's also an excuse not to invite people for the sake of it, it's a mini holiday for your guests, and it's also a mini honeymoon for yourself and your partner. 

Would you ever consider getting married abroad? 

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