With the average cost of a wedding in Australia ranging from $32,600 to $60,000, its little wonder couples are whisking their wedding guests overseas to celebrate their nuptials. At the more palatable cost of $25,000, the tropical havens of Fiji, Bali or Santorini make for more than just a photographic backdrop.
But planning a destination wedding involves more than just sipping mojitos beneath your bridal cabana.
If you're intending to tie the knot overseas, here are some tips to ensure your nuptials are unforgettable (for all the right reasons).
With emerald beaches and picturesque palm trees as your backdrop, it's easy to get swept away planning the perfect party. "Be realistic," says Verity Miller, Wedding Consultant at Global Weddings in Melbourne. "While it's more economical to create a high-end wedding in Bali or Thailand, make sure you have a realistic budget and expectations. Be open-minded and open to suggestions."
Consider your guests
Hosting an 'intimate gathering' is one of the most attractive features of a destination wedding. "Holding a wedding overseas allows couples to significantly reduce the number of guests," says Verity. "However, guests who are late to RSVP their attendance can make planning difficult for the couple."
Remember your guests' travel plans are just as important as your own. By sending out 'Save The Date' cards well in advance, your guests can incorporate your wedding into their annual leave, leverage early-bird bookings and organise visas and travel insurance ahead of time.
Insure the wedding dress
Before you say 'yes' to the dress, consider how you are going to get your new frock safely overseas. "Pick your dress and your airline carefully," says Verity. "Heavy materials can be uncomfortable to wear in humid weather and difficult to travel with. We also encourage couples to book with an airline that is able to hang their dress in business class to eliminate the risk of damage."
Rather be safe than sorry, more Aussie couples are now insuring the wedding dress against loss or damage before the main event. Do your research and consider listing your wedding attire as an additional extra on your insurance policy.
Be careful what you eat
The idea of walking down the aisle with 'Bali belly' is enough to give anyone a queasy stomach. One of the most common claims Travel Insurance Direct receive are a result of couples falling ill simply from ordering a drink with ice in it. Be careful what you consume before the big day and ensure you're in a position to receive medical attention if required.
Travel with confidence
Say 'I do' to taking out a travel insurance policy before your departure. Travel insurance can help you find the nearest medical services, and also help you in the event that belongings are lost or stolen. Ensure all high price items, including jewellery and electronics, are individually noted on your policy.
Don't swim with your wedding ring on
As the Travel Insurance Direct team can vouch, nothing puts a dampener on the honeymoon like losing the ring within the first 24 hours. Before taking part in swimming or snorkelling activities, store your ring and any other precious jewellery in your hotel room safe before heading out. Ensure your new precious jewel is also individually noted on your travel insurance policy.
Make sure everything is legal
Before you put a ring on it, make sure it's legal. "The process is a lot easier than couples think," says Verity. "We assist with each step - from completing the forms, to collecting passports, and pre-lodging." An alternative is to make it official in Australia with a civil ceremony, and then take the celebration overseas. Either way, plenty of preparation will ensure everything is signed, sealed and delivered before you depart for your happily ever after.