UK DestinationSarah and Vern

PLANNING A UK DESTINATION WEDDING – WHY CHOOSE TO GET MARRIED IN THE UK?

With its quaint villages, picturesque countryside, stunning coastlines, eclectic architecture, beautiful gardens, castles, palaces, iconic landmarks and stately homes, it is hardly surprising that the UK attracts couples from all over the world who wish to experience a quintessentially British UK destination wedding.

Cities such as London, Edinburgh, York and Manchester and towns such as Harrogate, Beverley and Bath offer chic urban spaces. Elsewhere, amidst the rolling countryside throughout the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales and the Cotswolds, there is an abundance of beautiful country houses, idyllic barns and versatile marquee sites.

With its relatively low land mass (approximately 229,848 km sq) it is possible to travel around the entire country with ease. You will only ever be two hours away from the nearest beach and will find a multitude of beauty spots including cosy coastal retreats and castles along the 19,491 miles of British coastline.

With its rich and fascinating history and a monarchy that dates back to 1603 you could be spoilt for choice with so many cultural pleasures including treasure houses such as Chatsworth, Kensington Palace and Castle Howard.

WHO CHOOSES TO HAVE THEIR WEDDING IN THE UK?

Perhaps you originate from the UK but have emigrated overseas? If, as a result of a job opportunity or simply a sense of adventure and zest for life you have chosen to live overseas but have a desire to celebrate ‘back home’, surrounded by your closest family and friends, a wedding in the UK may feel like the most natural choice.

Alternatively, regardless of where in the world you were born, you might have always dreamed of a quintessentially British fairy tale wedding.

Keeley and Danny travelled from Melbourne to Manchester in order to share their perfect day with their closest family members and friends at The Principle Hotel and afterwards at Leaf on Portland Street.

GAY-1

Sarah and Vern travelled all the way from Texas in favour of the rolling hills of the Peak District and the stunning backdrop of Chatsworth House.

Sarah And Vern

Stjepan and Ivan had always dreamed of a fairy tale wedding in a castle and invited guests from all over the world to celebrate with them in the UK at DeVere Horsley Towers.

Ivan And Stjepan

Phil and Renata travelled from their home in Florida to celebrate with family and friends at Northbrook Park in Surrey.

  

PLANNING A UK DESTINATION WEDDING – THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS

You must be at least 16 years old to get married or form a civil partnership in the UK. If you are under 18 years old in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland you will need parental permission and on the day of the marriage, two witnesses must be present.

For non-UK nationals, requirements to enter the UK to get married vary based on each couple’s situation. You may need to apply for a visa to enter the country. The UK government guide to marriages and partnerships has more information on visa requirements. This resource also explains the necessary process associated with giving notice and the requirement to reside in the UK for a minimum period of seven nights in order to do so. Please ensure you read it carefully if you are considering being legally married in the UK.

Alternatively, you may wish to complete the legal aspects of your marriage elsewhere and subsequently hold a celebrant led ceremony which can take place anywhere you choose. In this scenario, you have the freedom and the flexibility to personalise the content of your ceremony and make it truly meaningful and memorable by incorporating elements of your own story and making references that are unique to you as a couple.

PERFECT PLANNING

Chances are, if you are planning a UK destination wedding whilst living overseas without the support of an experienced, professional planner, you will experience more than your fair share of stress. Sourcing and liaising with vendors whilst working across time zones can be tricky, to say the least. Inevitably, communication will not be as swift as you might like it to be which results in your wedding planning activity being far more time consuming and much less enjoyable than you anticipate.

Ideally, you need to establish a team of people who are used to dealing with clients who live remotely and are willing to communicate via Facetime and Skype, besides e-mail and telephone, and are flexible enough to accommodate communication with you outside standard office hours on your own local time zone.

Not being able to involve your loved ones in the planning, especially if you live overseas and they are in the UK, can lead to a less enjoyable experience overall. The positive alternative is having someone ‘on the ground’ whom you feel able to place your faith and trust in makes all the difference.

Organising hair and makeup trials, menu and cake tastings and a pre-wedding photo shoots might be out of the question, but by engaging a wedding planner whose contacts are already proven and are clearly being recommended for all of the right reasons you can expect to experience total peace of mind. Imagine how stressful planning your UK wedding from overseas might be if you attempted to take care of EVERYTHING yourself, without the reassurance that comes from regular progress updates with your planner.

WHAT EXACTLY CAN YOU EXPECT FROM AN EXPERIENCED DESTINATION WEDDING PLANNER?

Not unlike any memorable journey, it all begins with just a few simple steps;

Your Initial Consultation

Your wedding is a celebration of your story as a couple.  The extent to which this is understood by your wedding planner will have a significant bearing on their ability to personalise the experience for you and your guests.

During the initial consultation, your planner should seek to understand your vision for the perfect day and the level of support and assistance you need to achieve this.  They should demonstrate a level of competence, expertise and passion which inspires and excites you as you embark upon this life changing journey together.

Your Budget

Irrespective of how much money you are comfortable spending on your wedding, an experienced wedding planner will provide the appropriate guidance to ensure that your priorities are identified and your budget is allocated correctly. Expect your planner to have a detailed discussion with you and provide you with supporting tools to enable you to calculate and keep track of your overall spend.

Venue Search

If you don’t already have a venue in mind, your planner will help you to identify your criteria and will invest the necessary time and effort to search for venues which meet that criteria before shortlisting and presenting options to you. They will visit potential venues with you or on your behalf and will review contracts and negotiate terms in order to achieve the best possible value for money. In doing so, they will probably ask questions based on their experience of running weddings which may not even cross your mind, this experience alone is invaluable. Their focus should be on ensuring the venue is equipped to deliver precisely the type of wedding you wish to have.

Vendor Selection

This is arguably the most time-consuming aspect of planning a wedding, with so many suppliers to engage!

Where to start? Who to trust? Fear not. An experienced wedding planner’s contact directory is a priceless resource, guaranteed to save you heaps of time, energy and stress.

Having taken into consideration all of your requirements and carried out the necessary research, your planner should present you with a number of available options that meet your criteria. Then, during meetings and consultations with key people such as your Caterer, Photographer and Florist, they should ask all the questions you do not think of, ensuring you avoid any pitfalls you may otherwise encounter.

Your Wedding Planning Road Map

Above all, a UK destination wedding planner’s job is to help you to prepare for your perfect day. They are accountable for making sure your priorities are taken care of and that absolutely nothing is overlooked.

First things first… expect your planner to present you with a road map. A step by step process outlining the order in which your priorities are being taken care of. This, combined with regular progress updates and prompts should provide you with all the confidence and peace of mind you need.

Final Stage Preparation

Around six weeks before the wedding is when the real fun begins, when it is time to finalise every detail. With a UK destination wedding planner, you can relax in the knowledge that everything is being taken care of. You will not need to worry about responding to the endless emails and calls that you would otherwise have to deal with if you were planning your wedding yourself. Your planner will ensure that all of the necessary conversations with vendors take place, arrangements will be finalised and a detailed timeline or wedding day plan will be created and circulated to everyone involved. This results in everyone knowing precisely what is expected of them and when enabling you to relax and enjoy the build up to your perfect day.

On The Day Co-ordination

From the point at which the first vendor arrives, your planner will be the single point of contact for you and everyone else involved. Besides overseeing the logistics of the day and managing all of your vendors, they will take care of some of the details such as correctly pinning on buttonholes, ensuring members of your Bridal party, Groomsmen and Ushers understand their roles, queueing music for your ceremony and making any necessary announcements.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO PLAN A UK DESTINATION WEDDING?

When you have an entire wedding to pay for, the additional cost associated with hiring an experienced wedding planner may seem like an unnecessary luxury. However, a UK destination wedding planner should be regarded as an investment.

If you want the luxurious wedding experience you have always dreamed of, hiring an industry professional can actually end up saving you money.  Do not be afraid to talk candidly to your planner about their fee structure.  Some planners charge a fixed fee and will focus on generating as much additional value for you as possible, whilst others earn a commission from the vendors they source and recommend on your behalf.

More often than not, when a planner relies on commission from vendors, the cost of that commission is passed on to the customer, i.e. you.  A planner who charges a fixed fee will be more transparent in their dealings with suppliers and is likely to deliver better value for money overall. Furthermore, their unbiased approach towards suppliers ensures that they only recommend suppliers who they believe are the right match for you.  An honest and trustworthy planner will leverage their relationships with suppliers in order to generate the best benefits for you, not themselves.

Not unlike so many other things, the price you pay will be reflective of the service you should expect to receive.  You should expect to pay somewhere in the region of £5,000 for a full UK destination wedding planning service. This should afford you an experienced, professional wedding planner with the necessary know-how to handle just about any eventuality, without you even knowing about it.

If a planner advertises the service at a significantly lower price, buyer BEWARE!  Ask precisely how much experience they have and always request sight of testimonials or better still, ask to speak to previous clients who are able to back this up.  The last thing you want to find yourselves doing is counting the cost either during or after the event as a result of an inexperienced amateur letting you down.  Ultimately, your peace of mind is priceless.

 

UKD - Testimonial

Please don’t hesitate to contact me on +44 7561 107888 or +44 1482 871053 or e-mail helen@withhelendavies.com.

I am here to help.

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