Just because Britain and the European Union are breaking up, doesn’t mean you need to put your destination wedding plans in Europe on hold. However, there are a few things you may need to consider if you’re planning a wedding abroad after Brexit.
Things you Need to Know About Brexit and Your Wedding Abroad
For many Brits, a wedding abroad is a favourable option when it comes to their big day. With plenty of cheap short-haul flights, myriad romantic settings steeped in history and the budget friendly catering and venue options, European countries are often a popular choice among newlyweds-to-be.
However, with an upcoming election, a no-deal Brexit still on the table and no one entirely sure when or how Brexit will come about, securing your Spanish beach, French chateau or Italian villa wedding may prove to be a complicated affair.
While we can’t claim to be experts on the political intricacies of the whole Brexit debacle, we do know a thing or two about weddings. So, here’s what you need to know about getting married in Europe after Brexit.
Look up the paperwork and important documents
Following a no-deal Brexit, carefree travel around Europe as we know it could change completely. We’ll likely need more official documentation and paperwork to visit countries on the continent, let alone arrange a wedding there. Throw in the already stringent bureaucracy surrounding legal proceedings for marriages and the whole idea of a destination wedding could seem more trouble than its worth.
While each country will have their own rules and regulations, its increasingly likely many more destinations will require official documents to have Apostille stamps. These confirm that the documentation is recognised as an official UK document.
Couples wishing to get married abroad often need at least two official documents. With Apostille stamps costs £30 each, the price of ensuring your paperwork is recognised as official in the country of your wedding could soon add up.
You will also have to consider new laws surround translations of documents in various European countries.
There are several major documents that you need when planning a wedding abroad. In most cases you will need to present the following original documents on arrival:
- Birth certificates
- Valid 10-year passports
And in some cases the below:
- Affidavit/statutory declarations
- Confirming single status
- Decree Absolute (if you are divorced)
- Previous spouse’s death certificate (if you are widowed)
- Parental consent if you are under 18 (21 in some countries).
But its a small price to pay when the alternative could be discovering your wedding isn’t actually legal due to the lack of official paperwork.
Keep an eye on exchange rates when planning a wedding in Europe after Brexit
The uncertainty brought on by Brexit has also caused cases a drop in exchange rates, meaning the value of the British pound is not as high as it used to be and spending abroad is more expensive than before.
“The biggest problem we are facing is not knowing how far a couples’ budgets will go in the case that exchange rates will fall even lower than they currently are,” explains Elisabetta White, Destination Wedding Planner and UKAWP Destination Ambassador of Elisabetta White.
“Couples often come to us thinking that their budget will afford them a mid-range or a luxury wedding, but will it? Even just a fluctuation that will lead to a loss of €2k on budget will mean that the couple will have to give up to something – be it a bespoke stationery suite, fundings for a videographer, their dream photographer, paying for their guests’ accommodation or their own travel.”
Check your passport expiry date (and renew well in advance)
Visiting the EU after Brexit will be different. If you’re heading to the Continent for your wedding, you’ll need to check if you need to renew your passport, buy travel insurance with healthcare cover (as we’ll no longer be covered by the E11 card), and make sure you have the right driving documents.
Unlike now, when you simply need a valid passport to travel from the UK to EU (but nothing once within Schengen territories), you’ll need to make sure your passport adheres to the below:
- has at least 6 months left
- is less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left)
If you do not renew it, you may not be able to travel to most EU countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, which could really scupper your wedding plans.
Be aware of freedom of movement and visas
“One other uncertainty is surrounding freedom of movement,” explains Elisabetta.
There are a large number of wedding planners and suppliers based in the UK who travel along with their clients to offer destination services. However, it could be that they will no longer be able to travel freely for work in Europe as they can now. It’s highly likely they will need a work visa in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Elisabetta adds: “This will no doubt add an unexpected layer to bureaucracy and extra cost, which may have to be passed on to the bride and groom.”
Getting married after Brexit: expect fewer wedding guests?
The additional travel costs and planning could also deter some wedding guests from attending your big day. However, for many this could be an advantage. After all, destination weddings are often a good choice for couples wanted to keep the guest list small and intimate.
Don’t panic, you’ve got this
Although their seems to be some uncertainty on how smoothly planning your wedding in Europe after Brexit might run, it’s unlikely that any of the changes will grind the whole thing to a holt.
There’s already an element of paperwork and bureaucracy when it comes to organising a destination wedding, regardless of the location or political climate.
International wedding venue consultant Kelly Mortimer, wants to reassure brides and grooms-to-be that Brexit doesn’t need to ruin their destination wedding plans.
I don’t believe they have anything to worry about at all,” she explains. “Whenever you get legally wed in any country, be in your own or abroad, there are particular rules, regulations and paperwork that must be completed. This won’t change after Brexit.”
She adds: “If you are having a destination wedding, you should already know the list of paperwork required and any regulations such as if you need to be in the country a certain amount of days before the ceremony to comply with the rules. If you are not sure about these, you should contact your venue wedding coordinator who can quickly provide you with all the information”.
Read up on all our tips, tricks and essential information before planning your wedding abroad.