Why Having A Destination Wedding Is A Fantastic Idea

You guys! I just got married!! Twice!

Ha! You may as well do it properly if you’re going to do it at all, right?

We had such an amazing wedding and honeymoon extravaganza last month. It really was a once-in-a-lifetime, totally unforgettable experience.

From having an intimate group of our closest friends and family travel to Phuket, Thailand to be with us for our ‘official’ wedding ceremony, to spending a week in a totally private ocean view villa with our very own swimming pool, then dashing off to New Zealand for a crazy five day mission to get ‘actual’ married (legally that is) and finally exploring both jungle and beach in Bali, Indonesia – March was a crazy, fun, beautiful if not a little hectic month!

All I can say is that we had the best time and would highly recommend anyone considering a destination wedding (or two!) to go for it!


Destination Wedding Pros Cons Pin

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Why get married abroad?

As many of you might know, my husband and I (eeek! Ok, it’s going to take a while to get used to saying that!!) live in Ireland, although neither one of us is actually Irish.

Getting married in Ireland, we realised, is easier said than done if you’re not from around here.

Between each of us having to travel back to our respective countries (the UK and the Netherlands) in order to get our birth certificates legalised with an apostille stamp (can’t do it at an embassy), to giving a minimum of three months’ notice, it just felt like more hassle than it needed to be.

More importantly, we have friends and family spread out around the world, and we didn’t necessarily feel passionate enough about getting married in Ireland to ask them to travel all the way here.

Don’t get me wrong, we love Ireland!! But we agreed pretty early on that we wanted to have a warm, sunny beach wedding and that’s unlikely to happen in Ireland…

So, what did we do?

We made it equally as awkward for everyone, of course!


We picked Phuket, Thailand.

No-one we know lives in Thailand, but we knew we loved it from a previous trip to Khao Lak.

Plus, it was a good halfway point between Europe and New Zealand/Australia, where our guests were coming from.

We were fortunate enough to have a good bunch of our nearest and dearest willing and able to travel halfway around the world for us, and it was the best day ever! (Well, days really. Everyone stayed on for at least three days.)

Now, the thing is, while you can get legally married in Thailand, that too is a bit of a hassle…

You need to get certain paperwork done at your respective embassies in Bangkok, and the recommendation is that you spend at least 3 days in Bangkok to take care of the necessary legalities.

But then, the marriage license that you receive will be in Thai (this being Thailand after all…). In order to have your marriage recognised in Ireland (or other English speaking countries for that matter), you need to have the marriage license translated into English.  


Destination Wedding Phuket Thailand


Cue Plan B – New Zealand

I spent a good portion of my younger years living in Tauranga, New Zealand. It’s one of my many homes. My family still lives there and guess what?

It is super easy to get married there!!!

Like, insanely easy.

You can apply for a marriage license online if you don’t normally live in New Zealand. Or, if you are going to be in the country at least 3 days before your intended wedding day, you can just rock up to the nearest Courthouse and apply for it in person.

Fill out a quick form, sign it, pay a modest sum and ta-dah!

You can get married.

No birth certificates (or any other form of identification really, come to that), no lengthy waits, no embassies.


Plus, the license is in English already so no need to have it translated – its accepted in Ireland without question!

Bonus – New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries in the world (in my opinion).

There are so many places you could choose to get married, and really you can get married just about anywhere, as long as you name it on your marriage license.

Alternatively, if you prefer, you can just get married in the registry office, although you do need to book an appointment in advance to do so.

Benefits of having a destination wedding

Ok, so maybe not everyone will agree that travelling to the other side of the world to get married is actually easier than what was required in order for us to get married here in Ireland. But it worked for us.

There are lots of great reasons to opt for a destination wedding though.


1 – Keep it small!

A small wedding might not be for everyone, but it was definitely our preference. By default, less people expect to get invited to a destination wedding. It’s generally accepted that a destination wedding is likely to be a small affair with just close friends and family.

Read: No need to invite that obnoxious far-removed family member or the lady that used to babysit you when you were five.


Destination Wedding Thailand Beach Bright colourful bouquet


2 – Save money

This one isn’t a given… A destination wedding can be expensive too! But, weddings in Ireland are ridiculously expensive.

While you might decide to contribute to your guests’ flights or accommodation, potentially making this a not-so-cheap option after all, generally the wedding package itself is much more affordable than at home.

The hotel where we got married offered a wedding package (max 50 people) which included ceremony setup, a celebrant, incredible flowers (yes! That’s my bouquet in the photo!), a super yummy wedding cake (chocolate of course!), fantastic photographer, videographer, and more, for less than €3000!

You’d be lucky just to get a good photographer for that here!!

They also organised our four-course reception dinner, three-hour unlimited drinks package, and venue set-up, for around €100 per person.


3 – Freebies

Many hotels offer some nice “extras” free of charge to entice you to choose them for your destination wedding. For us, this included a complimentary night’s accommodation, breakfast in bed the next day, and a bottle of wine on arrival.

Some hotels offer much more than this though, so hunt around!


4 – Stunning setting

True, you can likely get this at home too, depending on where you live and what you’re willing to spend. But, what we wanted simply isn’t possible in Ireland.

By getting married in Thailand we truly had our dream wedding, and some spectacular photos to remember it by!


5 – Combine your wedding and honeymoon

I mean, you’re already there, right?

You’re going to spend money on flights for your honeymoon anyway, so really, the cost of flights to your destination wedding doesn’t actually add any true cost to your overall expenses. And, it means you can start your honeymoon as soon as you want after your wedding day.

We chose to stay on at the hotel we got married in for a couple of days after our wedding so that we could spend more time with our guests.

But, then we had a super short taxi ride to our honeymoon destination, which was literally just up the road from where we got married!

So easy and relaxing!


Destination Wedding Thailand Beach Romantic Sunset Phuket


Any downsides?

Yes, there are definitely some downsides to having a destination wedding too….

How much these bother you will vary greatly from person to person.

Surprisingly, while I’m normally a tiny bit of a control freak, I didn’t have too many Bridezilla moments and was pretty relaxed about the whole not-seeing-anything-before-the-wedding thing.

Here are some of the main points to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to get married abroad:

  • Unless you’ve been to the destination before or can afford (both money and time) to go for a mission before your wedding, you might never have seen the actual setting prior to your arrival, except for on photos. 
  • You have to trust the hotel to take care of everything according to what you request
    • This includes; Food, cake, flowers, celebrant, photographer, etc
    • You may end up with a Las Vegas type Al Capone lookalike marrying you… So be it 
  • You might be more limited in terms of decorations and props. There’s only so much you can take with you on a plane… 
  • Not everyone will be able to come. Yes, this might be a pro too but it is definitely a big con. Unless you’re able and willing to fork out the money to get people to your destination wedding, some simply won’t be able to afford it, can’t get the time off work, take the kids out of school, and so on.

Let’s face it, there will always be things that didn’t turn out quite as you had imagined on your wedding day. Whether you do it at home or abroad.

Most likely though, you’ll have more control over things if you have it at home.

But, if you’re willing to let go of the control a bit, not too worried about exactly what type of bouquet you’ll have, happy to trust that the hotel’s restaurant knows what they’re doing, and able to just go along for the ride in a stunning setting, a destination wedding is without a doubt the most amazing way to start the rest of your life!

Did you, or are you planning to, have a destination wedding? Where? What’re the biggest challenges you came up against?

Let me know in the comments below!

Why Get Married Abroad Is the Perfect Plan Pin


16 thoughts on “Why Having A Destination Wedding Is A Fantastic Idea”

  1. Hello. I also decided to have a destination wedding (in beautiful Madeira, Portugal), and I loved it so much, that I decided to start a blog about it. I was recently writing a similar guest article for another site and it is funny to see, that my article is almost identical. I saw the same pro’s and same cons.. even in the same order 🙂

    I see we have a similar blog, where we join destination weddings and travel, and above that – greetings from the Netherlands 😉

    Let me know if you would like to collaborate,

    • I love that we seem to have similar views on things! That’s awesome 🙂 Destination weddings are so great!! I haven’t been to Madeira yet but it’s been on my bucket list for some time now… Hoping to get there soon!

  2. This is a great post and insight into getting marries abroad. We actually planned a wedding abroad but due to unforeseen circumstances we couldn’t go ahead with it but we did honeymoon in the location in the end!

    • We almost didn’t make it to our own wedding because of the snow this winter causing us a pretty significant delay… but luckily we could go ahead. I’m sorry yours couldn’t, that must’ve been disappointing but great to hear you got to go for your honeymoon at least 😁

  3. Totally agree! We got married twice as well. Legally in Venice and then a big bash in Ireland. Our wedding planner in Venice handled almost all the local legalities and arrangements. 100% hassle free.

    I love that you chose Thailand. The people are so generous and friendly, I bet that helped big style.

  4. Congratulations on your marriage! How exciting! My husband and I had a huge traditional wedding and ceremony. Now that it’s over and I done with I wish we would have done a small destination wedding instead. It would have been so much less stressful!

    • Thanks Morgan! We definitely loved our small destination wedding, although I think regardless there are always going to be some moments of stress 😉 I’m sure your huge traditional wedding was spectacular though!

    • It was amazing! But NZ is amazing in any case so don’t wait for anyone – you can still go regardless! 🙂


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