All photography: Sam Docker
When it comes to tips on planning a wedding abroad, there can be no better source than a real life bride. Today real bride Carla, who you will recognised from her electic wedding in France that was recently showcased on the blog, shares with us some of her issues she experienced on her wedding day and her advice for you.
Wedding Planning Issues:
- Hair – On my wedding day I ended up having to do my own hair half an hour before the ceremony as my instructions were lost in translation and even the hairdressers’ face explained how truly bad the hairstyle she created looked. Not her fault, I should have learned more French and devised a way to communicate the look that I wanted.
- Cake – Most hideous (and delicious) thing ever. I would suggest sending a picture and getting a French speaker to double check with the Patisserie that you will receive what you asked for.
- Time Difference – The time difference across countries can be challenging when you need answers for questions or when trying to make bookings, plus French suppliers don’t always answer in 24 hours.
- Wedding Guests – As with all destination weddings, some friends and family had feelings hurt and we had feelings and friendships hurt at times. I doubt this could have been avoided.
- E-invites. We sent out electronic Save The Dates, however these were not well received by all.
Tips on Planning a wedding abroad
- Do it!
- If you’re a little bit mad, have a sense of adventure and a willingness to be flexible, a wedding in France or another destination is a wonderful thing and can be done on a budget, while still being beautiful and unique.
- Get a fantastic photographer. We almost didn’t book any photographer and we would be regretting it bigtime now. This is a special time that you will want to relive again and again. Make sure you choose someone who “gets” you and does great work. We can’t recommend Sam Docker highly enough.
- Language was our biggest hurdle. Learn some French language before you leave. If you have the time, learn a lot!
- “Bonjour”, “merci” and “pardon” are important. Use them generously.
- If you do not speak French, we would recommend organizing to have English-speaking vendors, especially for hair and makeup.
- Don’t plan anything too strenuous in the week or two before the wedding. We definitely could have been better rested with a little more preparation.
- Repatriating wedding attire – Consider asking someone, as a wedding present perhaps, to take your wedding attire with them after the event is over. Or, if you’re prepared to take the risk, consider mailing them home. This will make your travels much more comfortable, especially if you are doing any train travel.
- Expectations – Be clear with everyone about your expectations of them on the day. Brides – make sure people understand that you need to be alone / with your ladies and not to be disturbed in the hours leading up to the ceremony. I didn’t do this and it was the only thing that stressed me out all day.
- French wine – Specific to France, but when in France there’s no need to buy expensive wine for your party. Even the cheapest bottle is usually extremely drinkable and you can easily stock up at a supermarket. Finding a venue that has it’s own stock of champagne and wine available to purchase can be a great option too and certainly made our celebration easier.
- Be aware of the marriage laws – If getting married in France, it may make more sense to have a non-legal ceremony while you are in France, and then if you choose, do the paperwork when you get home.
- Absentee guests – Having a destination wedding means you need to be prepared for the likelihood that not everyone who you would like to be at your special day, will be able to afford the time or expense to be there. If there are a couple of people you just can’t get married without, consider contacting them privately before you make any announcements to see if they can make it.
Be prepared for the fact that they may still pull out. This type of wedding also means you cannot invite everyone and this can cause some hurt feelings. Plan how you will manage other people’s and your own reactions. Weddings bring up a lot of emotions for people, and sometimes it won’t be the people you think.
- Remember that it is your day, and although you do have to think of other people, don’t let others trample your wishes for the day. If it’s important to you, stick to your guns.
Thank you so much for Carla sharing her wedding planning tips and advice and don’t forget you can see Carla’s wedding here www.frenchweddingstyle.com/eclectic-wedding-in-champagne-france/