Making a decision
When I first got engaged four years ago I went straight to the travel agents and picked up three of the 'Weddings Abroad' brochures.
I looked at the beautiful outdoor settings and thought about how lovely it would be to know that the weather would be amazing on your wedding day.
The brochures were filled with gorgeous hotels that we wouldn't normally stretch to budget wise and I researched different areas of Europe, including Italy, Greece and Cyprus.
Photos like this inspired me.
For me, places like the Caribbean were a little to far from home. I thought it might be a bit much to expect people to pay lots of money for a long haul holiday just because I was getting married. But I really enjoyed looking at the amazing places that you can get married in America, such as central park in New York, Florida and Las Vegas.
After getting engaged we decided that we wanted to save up and buy our own house before we considered planning a wedding. That took a couple of years of us living at my mum's house, but eventually we had saved enough.
I had never dreamed of a big fussy day where everyone would be looking at me - that's not me at all. We looked at some local venues but we both have quite a big family and the expense just seemed crazy!
The fact that I also couldn't think of anything worse than hundreds of people looking at me pushed me to go ahead and book the wedding abroad. I wanted it to be as fuss free as possible. I couldn't find many people who felt like me but I just wanted to be married! Without the big wedding...
We decided on the Greek island of Kos - the place where we met. I booked through a private wedding planner who is British but lives on the island. This meant we could just go for one week as paper work is completed earlier.
Big holiday companies tell you that you must go for two weeks because of residency. When you look into it this isn't true - not for Greece anyway. They just complete some paper work that takes 7 days as soon as you arrive, when a planner would have done it before hand. That means you get married in the second week of your holiday - fine for most people, but two weeks at a really lovely hotel was a bit too expensive for us.
If I was going to do it all over again, I would still choose my wedding abroad :)
Our wedding in Greece
Our ceremony location.
We had a small group of twelve guests which was great. Out of personal choice we decided to stay in our hotel alone, and the guests chose to stay in the sister hotel next door. It was going to be our honeymoon too so this meant a good balance between spending some time alone and time with family. We met up with them every night for drinks and sometimes saw them in the day. My auntie had got married abroad a few years before and had done the same thing, so we followed in her footsteps.
Everything was how I had imagined - very relaxed, nice photos, gorgeous weather... A hotel worker drove me, my mum, my auntie and my sister through the hotel grounds to the ceremony in a golf buggy. We had the ceremony outside at the hotel chapel courtyard, then went into the village for a very chilled out afternoon reception at a bar called The Garden. We had the back garden area to ourselves and they put out the most gorgeous buffet for us - it was delicious. Later we had an evening meal else where at a restaurant by the harbour. When we walked through the village the locals were so friendly, congratulating us, beeping car horns and some even came out of their house to throw confetti rice. I changed my dress at about 7pm - the wedding was at 1. I never thought I would last that long in my princess dress but I didn't feel as hot as I thought I would.
Afternoon reception: The Garden
Now that we are back home we are having a party at a hotel soon. I ordered a wedding cake and lots of decorations to make it feel as 'weddingy' as possible for those who didn't come away with us. A family friend will be taking photos.
For me this was the best way to have my wedding day - I didn't have the pressure of a huge day and it was a little different to your standard wedding. I'm glad I stuck with what I had wanted from when we first got engaged over four years ago.
Would you consider getting married abroad?
Or do you know anyone who has done this?