UK destination weddings are becoming more and more popular among my couples from the USA, Canada and beyond. In some cases one partner is British and they want to celebrate in this country, but this is not always the case and the UK has some wonderful, sought-after locations for destination weddings in their own right. If you are considering having a wedding in the UK but you are a resident of another country, it’s still easy and exciting for us to work together and create a showstopping event (or two!). Here’s how it works when you bring me on board for your overseas wedding right here on the British Isles.
Planning a destination wedding in the UK and not sure where to start? As a non-resident of the UK, there are a few extra steps you need to take to make sure your dream wedding goes off without a hitch. From visas and paperwork to planning the perfect venue, this guide will provide all the information you need for an unforgettable UK wedding.
Before we get started, I want to take a minute to highlight some of the incredible locations we have here for your wedding. It may be that you’re sentimentally attached to a particular location, but even if you don’t have anywhere in mind yet there is really something to suit every taste. If you’re looking for rugged landscapes and dramatic scenery, the Lake District ticks all the boxes, but if you want the quintessential English country house you’ll be spoilt for choice in the North and South of the country. Helping you choose the ideal location is a big part of the work we’ll do together, and I’ll hunt high and low across the country to discover your dream destination.
When working on UK destination weddings with non-resident couples, there are a few things that are exactly the same as they would be with UK-based clients. The way I work with you is the same as normal, and I want you to be assured that being on the other side of the ocean has no bearing on how seamless and fun the process will be. I aim to be as transparent as possible with you, using a shared central area to store all our files and information so you can access it whenever you want. You’ll still get all the information you need and be kept in the loop with everything we do, with regular communication-based in honesty, straightforwardness and expertise. It’s not unusual for me to never meet my overseas couples until the day of the wedding but, thanks to the power of tech and trusty tools like WhatsApp, the relationship we have is no worse off for this!
Of course, there are also some elements of the wedding planning process that differ when I work with non-UK resident couples wanting to get married here. The main one is the format and legality of the ceremony. I will always help and guide you through the process of getting legally married here if that’s what you want to do; it involves applying for a visa, and which type you need depends on whether one of you is a British citizen or not and whether you intend to stay in the UK after you’re married. All the basic information on this can be found on the Government’s website here, but if you’re one of my overseas couples you don’t need to worry about a thing – I’ll help you every step of the way!
While it is entirely possible to get legally married here even if you’re not a resident, many of my overseas couples coming to the UK for a wedding aren’t actually too focused on the legal side of things. More and more couples (not just destination couples!) are choosing to have celebrant-led or symbolic ceremonies. These are non-legally binding which means they can be much more personalised and intimate, and they’re always really special. Most of the time your guests won’t even know it’s not legal, and you can involve a celebrant of your choice or even a friend to officiate. Meg from Meg Senior Ceremonies says “celebrant led weddings are a beautiful way to add a touch of personality and have your ceremony script written and spoken in a truly bespoke way and one that’s meaningful for you. After all, the wedding ceremony is the main reason couples get married, so it makes sense you would hand-pick the person that’s going to marry you, just like you hand-pick all of your other suppliers”.
You can even go one step further and celebrate in both countries, perhaps choosing to get legally married in your home country and then have a symbolic ceremony and your reception here in the UK. My past couple Tanvi and Animish are a great example of this; originally from San Francisco, they legally married and celebrated with their US friends and family first and then we threw a spectacular party here in York. Here’s what they said about working together;
‘Planning a reception event from another country was even more difficult than planning our wedding…we knew we needed an expert we trusted on the ground, and that’s when we found Jess. She is positive, upbeat, honest and extremely reliable and prompt. We cannot thank her enough for making our UK reception a blast!’
Take a look at their gorgeous York destination wedding here, for some inspiration for your own overseas event.
Getting married in the UK as a non-resident doesn’t need to be daunting or overwhelming. Having a wedding planner you can rely on right here has so many benefits, and takes a lot of the stress out of the process. My couples are based all around the world and I act as their eyes and ears as well as their main point of contact, reducing the need for worrying about time differences and phone calls from afar. If you’d like to chat about throwing a full wedding including a ceremony (legal or not!) or just a reception here in the UK, find out more about my UK destination wedding planning service here. I can’t wait to show you some of the hidden gems we have here, and help bring your destination wedding dreams to life.
Image Credits: Anna Beth Photography