Basing your choice of a wedding place solely on the fact that you just like it, while neither you, your parents nor the guests live there? What can go wrong? Well, pretty much anything. But if you are prepared for emergency situations and have a right mindset, then, no matter what, you would end up with a fairytale wedding of your dreams!
I’m not a wedding planner and I’m not offering to help you organise your wedding. I’m just an expat, who managed to survive the pitfalls of an international wedding, thoroughly enjoyed it and now has a couple of pointers for future brides based on experience. Of course, international wedding planning check list is a lot like a normal wedding check list, but there’re some extra points to think about.
If it’s just the two of you, who’re going to be there for your wedding, then you’ve got it pretty easy. However, if you are expecting your friends and family to come over from different destinations, try to choose a place, which would be the most convenient for everyone. They would all thank you for a possibility of taking a direct flight!
As my husband and I are both expats from two different countries, having met in the third one, studying with other international students, any place we could choose would still mean that a majority of guests would have to travel. Arranging a wedding we kept their travel routes in mind.
2. Wedding planners.
I would highly recommend hiring a wedding planner! Even though you could do quite a lot via internet nowadays, you cannot dismiss all the bonuses of having someone local to arrange things on site. If time and budget allows it, plan a trip to your wedding destination beforehand to meet up with all the service providers and check out samples.
We arranged our wedding on a very tight schedule – just in two months! Our wedding planner helped us out a lot. Even though, some things still didn’t go according to plan, I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like if I had to think of all the details myself.
It’s great, of course, if you can pay for the accommodation of all your guests, however, you do not have to! It all depends on your situation. We did not pay for our friends’ stay, but tried to help them out as much as we could. I sent out info packs to all our guests, containing the following:
- list of hotels and apartments in the most convenient areas (based on wedding location, historical city centre, etc) in different price ranges;
- locations of the church and a wedding reception, mapped out
- list of local attractions with short info about them, all mapped out (your friends might want to take this opportunity to go city tripping)
- useful phone numbers (e.g. taxi)
- you can add any tips you deem useful – local cafes? shops? list of useful words in the local language?
4. Guest list
Whether you’re planning your wedding on a grand scale or it’s meant to be a family party, keep in mind that if some of your friends or relatives tell you that they cannot come, you should not take it personal! After all, you are not asking them to just pop down the road. Booking plane tickets, paying for a hotel stay, maybe even getting extra wardrobe items to suit your wedding location – those are not your every day expenses. It will still be your perfect day – you will still get married, right? ;)
5. Health emergencies
I would highly recommend packing your own medicine in case of a force major. Of course, you can go to a local hospital in an emergency, but that would take extra time and effort to find a doctor in a foreign country. Don’t expect to get sick, but be ready if you do.
I went down with a flu right before my hen night on Friday, while my wedding was planned for Sunday. 40C fever, running nose, soar throat – the works. We couldn’t get the temperature down all Saturday day and night. All I could think of was to be able to actually get out of bed on Sunday, go to the church, get married and crawl back to bed while letting our guests go party without us. We had the medicine I needed and a call to our doctor back home helped to keep calm. On a lighter note, I woke up on Sunday with a normal temperature (actually, it was even below normal), my makeup artist did a small miracle and I managed to look almost radiant. Not only did I manage to get married in the church, but I even ended up at our wedding reception, feeling completely healthy. Go figure.
6. It will be your perfect day, even if it’s not perfect!
Some things you don’t even have control over, the weather, for example. It’s always a good idea to plan ahead what you would do, if it suddenly starts to rain and you plan an outdoor ceremony. Even if it should be a hot summer day, buy a warm white wrap just in case some North gales decide to join your party. I dreamed about a white wedding, which is why we planned a February wedding in Kiev. It seems, like it was the warmest winter ever. Occasional snow melted almost instantly, leaving a mushy grey mess on the ground. Horrible. Luckily, it got colder on the day of our wedding and started snowing, so fresh white snow covered all the grey and we ended up with a white fairytale – don’t you love a happy ending? However, if it still remained grey, we had an indoor place planned for our wedding photo session.
7. Focus on what’s important
Whether your wedding party goes to plan or not, keep your mind focused on why you’re doing this – not to take pictures, not to keep each and every guest happy (virtually impossible), but to get married to a person you love. So breath out, smile and be happy! ;)
P.S. Here’re a couple of photos of how our white winter wedding in Kiev Pechersk Lavra actually worked out :)