Destination weddings are an incredible experience for both you and your guests, essentially acting as a mini-vacation and a honeymoon all rolled into one. A destination wedding also allows you to extend your wedding celebrations, and make the most of this exciting time with your loved ones.
There are many reasons to consider a destination wedding. But with such a large selection of beautiful locations to choose from, where exactly should you plan to tie the knot?
There is a lot to take into account when choosing the perfect destination for your wedding, from the costs involved to the customs and legal procedures. Whether you’re dreaming of a tropical getaway or a European celebration, read on as we take you through 5 of our top picks!
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Photograph by Blush Photography
Style and Design by Joy Proctor
Beautiful Bali is one of the most popular destinations to get married, with incredible ocean views, beautiful scenery, and rich culture. You’ll find a host of picturesque resorts and luxury villas along the coast, with Seminyak and Canggu being two of the most sought-after locations.
Luckily for us Australians, a Bali wedding can be one of the cheapest ways to plan a celebration abroad. With the ability to take advantage of cheap flights and accommodation, planning a Bali wedding can be an affordable option for both your own budget, and your guests.
If you choose to get married in a resort, you can usually reserve blocks of hotel rooms at a discounted price. Many Bali wedding venues will also offer all-inclusive packages that cover style and décor, furniture rentals, lighting, cake, and even music. Depending on the number of your guests, you could find packages that cover absolutely everything for less than $ 10,000.
The most desirable time of year for a Bali wedding is between May and August, during the dry season. These months are slightly cooler and experience less rain, making them ideal for an outdoor wedding.
However, getting married legally in Bali can be a somewhat complicated process. This is the reason why many couples legally marry in Australia before or after their trip, and hold a non-legal “blessing” ceremony in Bali.
If you want to have a legal wedding in Bali, you will be asked to perform a religious and civil ceremony on the same day, in which both members of the couple declare the same religion. After submitting a Notification of Intent to Marry, you will also need to submit a Certificate of Non-Impairment from the Australian Embassy, along with other relevant documentation such as your passport and birth certificate.
Because the Indonesian Marriage Law is continually updated, it is always best to employ the help of a Bali-based wedding planner who will be able to guide you through the process!
Photograph by Chris Plus Lynn
Floral Design by Elena Damy
For incredible weather, breathtaking views, and sun-drenched tropical beaches, Mexico is another favorite destination for weddings. Cancun and Cabo San Lucas are two of the most popular places when it comes to tying the knot, with beautiful natural backdrops creating the most incredible photo opportunities.
One of the reasons Mexico is a great destination for weddings is due to the all-inclusive nature of its hotels and resorts, and the discounted accommodation blocks on offer. The wedding industry in Mexico is huge, and the pricing options definitely fit this.
Most of the popular resorts in Mexico offer comprehensive and affordable wedding packages that generally include everything you’ll need for the big day. This is a huge draw card as it makes the wedding planning process so much easier for target brides!
Mexico also experiences a warm and pleasant climate throughout the year, although it also experiences a rainy season between June and October.
To legally marry in Mexico, a civil ceremony must first be performed by a Mexican civil registry official. There will also be a ton of paperwork to complete, which you will need to organize at least 3 days before the ceremony.
Different states in Mexico have different requirements, but most include blood tests, witnesses, and authenticated documentation. You should always consult a local wedding planner at your chosen venue, who will be able to confirm the exact steps required.
Alternatively, it can be much easier to organize a “symbolic” ceremony while in Mexico, and get legally married in your home country, either before or after the trip.
Photograph by Williams Photography
With majestic mountains, gorgeous lakes, and breathtaking scenery, it’s easy to see why many Australian couples choose New Zealand weddings.
Along with the absolutely incredible scenery, this hotspot also has the added benefit of being only a few hours away from anywhere in Australia. New Zealand is home to an endless variety of outdoor weddings, with some of the most popular in Queenstown, Auckland, and Matarangi Bay.
From enchanting vineyards to secluded beaches to mountainous viewpoints, there is no shortage of stunning venues to get married. Due to the short distance, New Zealand is also one of the most accessible gathering places for loved ones, with the least amount of travel time.
From a cost point of view, the venues and providers in New Zealand can be a bit more expensive than the all-inclusive packages that can be found in other destinations. There are fewer resorts and hotels offering packages and more places to measure. The average New Zealand wedding can cost anywhere from $ 10,000 – $ 30,000 depending on the number of guests.
In terms of paperwork and legality, the process is much simpler. You will need to arrange a marriage license before you arrive by completing a Notice of Desired Marriage and mailing it to the registry office closest to your chosen location. You can then collect your marriage license upon arrival, and use an approved marriage celebrant for the procedures.
Photograph by Nisha Ravji
For those who dream of a truly romantic getaway, look no further than the idyllic Greek islands.
With incredible sunsets, picturesque whitewashed buildings, cobblestone staircases, and breathtaking ocean views at every turn, Greece is the perfect place for a European wedding.
Santorini is one of the most popular Greek islands to say yes, with a dedicated wedding industry helping destination brides plan the perfect celebration. Many of the Santorini resorts offer wedding and honeymoon packages, and there are many experienced wedding planners capable of arranging vendors and coordinating your day from start to finish.
Although flights and travel expenses may be more expensive for us Australians, there is an opportunity to save money by hosting a low-key reception at one of the many Greek restaurants or taverns, with cost-effective food and drink packages. A budget of between $ 10,000 and $ 20,000 is a rough guide to covering all inclusions, depending on the number of guests.
A quirky custom you will have to follow is to post an ad in one of the local Greek newspapers or in town halls before obtaining your marriage license. Your relevant documentation will have to be delivered to the local town hall, and your marriage license will be issued 8 days later.
Different rules apply depending on whether you want to have a civil or religious ceremony. As requirements vary in each region, it is recommended that you consult your local authorities for specific advice and next steps regarding the legal requirements for marriage in your chosen location.
Photograph by Wendy Laurel
Planning by LVL Events
Hawaii’s lush tropical surroundings and warm and friendly culture make it another popular destination for overseas wedding celebrations. With pristine beaches, towering palm trees and stunning scenery, there are many Australians flocking to the island to celebrate their big day.
Oahu, Kauai, and Maui are just a few of the beautiful islands to choose from, each offering something unique. Hawaii is home to some incredible hangout options, from oceanfront resorts to exclusive private estates. Because Hawaii is such a popular vacation spot, there will always be plenty of activities to entertain guests during their stay – from surfing to snorkeling and everything in between.
A great benefit of hosting a Hawaii wedding is being able to take advantage of the package deals offered by the many hotels and resorts, making it an affordable option for Australian couples. Because there are a wide variety of luxurious and inexpensive resorts, you could spend between $ 5,000 and $ 20,000 depending on the number of guests and the wedding style you have in mind.
To get married legally in Hawaii, the process is much simpler than in other tropical destinations. Most of the paperwork can be completed online, with your marriage license waiting for you to verify and pick up on the island. You will then need to marry a Hawaii state licensed celebrant to make it official.
Enjoy the ride
Although hosting a destination wedding may take a bit more planning and preparation, it really is one of the most special and memorable ways to tie the knot.
Wherever you choose to marry abroad, be sure to thoroughly research legal requirements and contact local authorities to ensure that you are following the correct steps. Hiring a wedding planner is a no-brainer for a destination wedding, so consider allocating part of your budget to a local coordinator.
A wedding website will also make the planning process much easier for both you and your guests, as a way to communicate all necessary travel and logistics information. You can check out our top tips on creating a destination wedding website to get started!
Destination weddings are so much fun (we’re a little jealous!) And they can be an amazing way to celebrate with your closest friends and family. So just pick a place you like, do your research, and then enjoy the ride!