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Pros and cons of holding the wedding celebration abroad

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Apr 8th, 2017

By now you must have realized that we are going to celebrate our wedding in the country we love so much, Scotland. Though it’s exciting to organize our ceremony there, we also have to face a lot of difficulties.

Planning a wedding can be stressful

The idea of being stressed by the planning of a wedding seemed silly to me, before we got to it. Yes, stress is there, because, after all, we’re literally spending months planning just the one day (and it costs an arm and a leg). In our case, between the proposal in August 2015 and the date of the wedding, 1 year and 9 months will have passed (and 2 years and 3 months for the civil ceremony). All that time spent trying to imagine what d-day will be like… Well, to be completely honest with you, wedding stress is very minimal for us, as it is shattered by the eagerness and happiness of our future union!

But this stress is doubled when the wedding is held abroad

Truth is, our biggest stress was about distance. Indeed, we couldn’t just go and visit a venue as we liked. Fortunately, François had to go back to Scotland for work in May 2016, so we took a few more days to visit our selected venue… knowing that we had already booked it and payed the deposit. Luckily, we were all the more glad after visiting, and much reassured about our choice! We were then extra lucky, because we got to spend one more month in Skye in October/November, which gave us time to meet all of our service providers. It wasn’t planned, but I must admit that the wedding was one more motivation to go back to Scotland frequently to organize our d-day!

If you’re planning a wedding abroad

Depending on the country you chose (more precisely, exactly how far it is) and your budget, I strongly advise you to plan several trips there to organize the ceremony and meet all of your service providers. If the ceremony takes place in a place too far away to visit beforehand or if you don’t have the time and/or money to go, consider hiring a wedding planner to take care of it! To be honest, I thought about it for a long time, and if we hadn’t had the opportunity to go to Scotland twice before the ceremony, I would have budgeted for it. Given the time and money spent on trips and preparations, I seriously think a wedding planner can make you save money and time, especially in case of a ceremony held abroad. And it doesn’t necessarily make for an impersonal wedding! If you tend to be anxious, a wedding planner certainly is a good thing. This way, you get the joy without the pain!

Here’s a list of all you can’t do from afar:

  1. – visit venues
  2. – visit surroundings and find places for pictures
  3. – speaking of pictures: meet the photographer and do a test shooting
  4. – test the caterers and bakers
  5. – have a test session for your hairstyle and makeup
  6. – meet the florist, try different things for your bouquet
  7. – the decoration: it’s difficult to define it from pictures only, without being able to visit the venue in person… and you’ll also be limited because…
  8. – … you’ll have to bring everything in your suitcases: the outfits, decorations, presents for the guests… and you can’t forget anything! Without speaking of the stress of loosing a suitcase, which is rare but can happen…
  9. – not all of your guests will be able to attend
  10. – if you’re dreaming about a “big wedding”, the budget may soar…

Pros of a ceremony held abroad

  1. – the budget: we focused on our priority, getting married in Scotland, in a fabulous place, and many financial details were thrown away in favor of the trip. It was easier to sort things out this way 😉
  2. – guests list: we reduced the guests list to the very minimum. It was not an easy thing to do, but between a wedding with 150 guests in a public hall in France or a weekend in Scotland with only 30 friends, the choice was an easy one 😉
  3. – decoration: I saw some of my friends exceed their budget (sometimes spending more than we did for our Scottish venue) to decorate their wedding hall. We’re also going for the minimum here: our decor will be the Highlands and the lochs. Perfect isn’t it?
  4. – letting go: there are many points for which, because of the distance and language barriers, we had no choice but to go with the flow. It’s quite pleasing in fact to realize one can’t handle everything. Each and every Scot we met during the planning took the time to give us good counsels, and we delegated a lot of things!
  5. – you’re going to “have” to marry “twice”: yep, if you’re both French, you’ll have to go to the city hall to sign the papers, as we’ll do! We chose to go there 6 months after the ceremony, and even though we’re not planning anything (no party), we know it’ll be another opportunity to celebrate our love and have a good time together, again!

Whatever happens on d-day(s), it’ll be real magic, I know it!

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