A Xompare guide to getting married abroad

A Xompare guide to getting married abroad

Many men often quip to other men over a pint that they’re just going to turn up to their upcoming wedding, in the hope of convincing their company that the day is only a minor infringement on their daily routine, and that all the hard effort and planning will be taken care of by their better half.

This might well be true gents, but do not kid yourself that this day is of little relevance to you. Let’s be honest, there is a reason why you’ve asked your girlfriend to marry you, and typically speaking, while you don’t like to admit it over a pint with your pals, it’s usually because you're actually pretty fond of her – damn it let’s just say it – you love her! So yes, while the majority of the planning will probably fall on your fiancé to take care of, without question, you will need to play an active role in the success of the big day – merely turning up really will not cut the mustard (or the wedding cake!).

Weddings usually come hand in hand with a budget, but they also evoke thoughts of extravagance and opulence. Budgets, extravagance and weddings abroad do not usually work well with one another though. So if you are a soon to be groom looking to earn some wedding contribution points, or if you are a soon to be bride that is looking for advice, carry on reading for some Xompare.com advice on making your wedding budget go further.

The wedding guest list

An overblown guest list is a sure fire way to make sure your wedding budget is quickly consumed. Its’ difficult to control, particularly when parents get involved and want to make sure the family equilibrium is maintained. The most challenging decision is where to draw “the line”, with natural family and friend associations it can mean with a single guest addition that a further flurry of guests will also need to be invited, as they fall into the same relationship bucket as the first person under consideration. It is never a nice scenario, particularly when getting married abroad you do not have the option of inviting evening reception guests only. There is the option of arranging a post-wedding party back at home if you are looking to find a compromise, or simply just an excuse to extend the celebrations! Choose carefully, but remember it’s your day…

Wedding planner

If you are getting married abroad then your lack of proximity to local suppliers of wedding services is a problem - not to mention the possible gap in language skills to communicate with them effectively. In all likelihood, you will need to utilise the services of a wedding planner to ensure that both the organisation and the actual day itself goes without hitch (excuse the pun). Wedding planners will have already established relationships with local suppliers to facilitate introductions and organise bookings. There is a lot to think about - venue, vicar, cakes, food, drinks, bands, DJ to name a few. Undoubtedly, a wedding planner will earn from you in two ways. Firstly by their direct fees in return for planning your wedding, and secondly via introduction fees in return for pushing business to suppliers they partner with. These introduction fees will be added to fees that you pay suppliers, but it really is no different to your builder outsourcing the plumbing work of a new extension and adding a finder fee for that service. In return, they should take responsibility for the quality of the services received by that supplier – much like a wedding planner should. Take time to research wedding planners and read reviews from previous weddings they have organised, as booking a quality one at the right price can take a lot of the stress out of the organisation and allow you to enjoy the day.

Wedding location and venue

If you have already decided to get married abroad, then that usually comes with already knowing your preferred destination, most likely a sunny one that you have fond holiday memories and want to share with family and friends for your wedding. If this is the case then it is unlikely you need much guidance on this aspect, but some of the things you will need to consider relate to your guests. You need to consider where will they stay – can they stay on site, or will you need to find a few locations nearby that are suitable? How will they get from their accommodation to the hotel venue if they aren’t the same place – should you organise transport to ensure they all arrive on time and together? How private is the venue – do you want to have other hotel guests who aren’t part of your wedding party milling round throughout the day? 

Paying for the wedding bill

The vast majority of the cost of your wedding abroad will be paid to overseas suppliers. As it is almost certain these suppliers will only accept funds in local currency – Euros in Spain for example, and that you only hold a GBP bank account, you will need to perform a foreign exchange between currencies when sending the funds abroad to settle those fees. Avoid debit or credit card payments as you have less opportunity to control the possible rate of exchange and there can be additional transaction fees associated with card payments that make this an expensive option. The Xompare recommendation is to send these via an international payment which some people refer to as “wire transfers'' or “remittance transfers”.

The second piece of advice for these types of payment is DO NOT USE YOUR BANK!! Quite simply banks are now not your only option, and they are certainly not the most cost efficient. It is not unusual for your bank to claim between 3% - 5% in FX fees when converting the funds into local currency and this going to eat into your wedding budget. In recent years many non-bank international payment providers like Currency Solutions, Azimo, World Remit and Wise have appeared as alternatives to banks who are far cheaper and can provide more tailored service. In fact there are so many non-bank options available now that the confusing party is deciding which provider is the best option. This is where Xompare becomes hugely beneficial, so our final piece of advice is to always run a search through Xompare.com to compare FX rates, fees, speed, and even whether there is the risk of further fee deductions by third party banks from the underlying payment amount being sent.

Don’t think that you are limited to one provider option for all these payments. It is likely that you will need to send several payments to local suppliers during your wedding planning and the rates and competition between providers are constantly changing. It does not cost anything to sign-up with a provider aside from your time, and therefore is well worth that investment considering the potential costs saved. These combined savings generated by not using your bank and considering multiple providers might be the difference between having an extra couple of friends on the guest list, or the diamond on the wedding ring being even sparklier (if the prospect of your Great Aunt Maud attending doesn’t excite you!).

We really hope this guide helps remove some of the stress and uncertainties of how to plan a wedding abroad, and gives you some pointers on how to organise and not overspend. Good luck and enjoy your day!