Organising An Overseas Wedding by Sally James
Some of those who get married with us travel from overseas to do so. We can understand why. The river, the nature reserve, the climate, the sheer stunning beauty of the place, and the general allure of the Cradle Of Humankind is a pretty big draw. Plus, it’s logistically simple to combine wedding and honeymoon! So, for the benefit of our happy overseas couples, here’s a quick guide to organising a wedding in foreign climes…
Sort The Legal Details Early
A wedding isn’t just a magical day devoted to you and your partner. It’s also a legal process. And that process differs from nation to nation. This means that you need to jump through certain hoops before your wedding can get the go-ahead (and, more to the point, be legally valid both in South Africa and in your home nation). Don’t worry! Getting married in South Africa isn’t particularly complicated, and a South African wedding is valid in pretty much every nation in the world. However, you do need to get in contact with the relevant authorities, because you may have to provide extra paperwork, or get visas in order for your marriage to take place. Contact the Department of Home Affairs for more information relating to your specific circumstances!
Check The Climate
This may sound obvious, but it’s worth saying anyway: climates vary around the globe. The perfect wedding season where you are may be monsoon season somewhere else. All seasons have pros and cons, of course. It all depends on what you prefer. Here in South Africa, we generally have that sunny weather which most people favour for a wedding all year round, but there are other factors to consider. Autumn (roughly March-May) has many beautiful colours which can really complement your photos. Winter (roughly June-August) isn’t ‘cold’, per se, in global terms, but can offer a respite for those who struggle with the heat. Spring (roughly September-November) offers all the joy of blossom and new growth. And Summer (roughly December-February) has that quintessential South African sunshine craved by so many.
Have An Event At Home As Well
It’s great to get married abroad in the company of those you love. However, you do have to accept that (depending on where you live), wanting people to travel overseas for your wedding is a pretty big ask. While many will leap at the opportunity, some won’t have the time, the money, or the health to travel abroad. Inevitably, some of your favourite people will be unable to make it. You really can’t hold that against them. Instead, involve your non-travelling loved ones by having some kind of celebration at home – perhaps an engagement party, or a post-wedding get together. That way, nobody feels left out, and you get to share your special day with everyone that you love.
Help Out Your Travelling Friends
This isn’t fair, but it happens: if you’re the one holding the party, people will throw their travelling problems at you. Even if their visa/plane reservation/exchange rate queries/suitcase closure issues are nothing to do with you, they’re still going to come your way. The best way to circumvent this is to anticipate issues, and pre-empt them by providing a quick, essential guide. Give your guests advice on where they’re going, what paperwork they’ll need to get there, the currency they’ll require, how to get to the venue, and anything that you generally think they’ll need to be aware of. This is less for your guests benefit than for your own – the more you’ve prepared them for, the less you’ll be bombarded with as you’re trying to get ready for your big day!
Have Fun!
Weddings abroad do sometimes take a bit more organising than weddings at home. This can be stressful. But it doesn’t have to be. If you’re getting married here, we can help out – just ask, and we’ll do all we can to smooth your way and take some of the pressure off! Other people and organisations will be happy to step in and help you out as well. So long as you’re prepared, and have the right kind of support, you’ll be absolutely fine. The important thing is that you enjoy your day! So relax, look forward to your wedding, and have an absolutely wonderful day!

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