Deciding to get married abroad can be a daunting experience.  There are many reasons that couples may decide they want to tie the knot somewhere other than their home country, ranging from dreams of beach weddings and beautiful scenery to escaping the stress, fuss and all that comes with a wedding. That’s not to say that getting married in another country wasn’t stressful, but from what I’ve heard it was a lot less stressful than it could have been if we’d done it at home in London!

We were lucky. Some couples who make this decision are met with families who disapprove and loved ones who can’t make it for whatever reason. Things can be challenging planning a wedding from a long way away where you can’t see things in person. Culture and language barriers can also be an issue. However, my advice to couples who dream of a destination wedding would be – DO IT! It was amazing and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Here are some hints and tips for any couples preparing to navigate the sometimes complicated business of planning a wedding abroad.

❤️ It’s your day! Please, please remember this every step of the way. It’s so important to have the wedding that you and your partner want; not what everyone else wants. This still applies when the wedding is abroad. You may get a few eyes rolls or grumbles but just politely explain to everyone that this is your dream day and they will soon come round.

❤️ Having said that, you will need to accept that some people won’t be able to make it. Potentially some important people who you would never have imagined wouldn’t be at your wedding. Expense, time off work, children and even more unforeseeable things like health can effect people’s ability to attend. If the idea that every single member of your extended family and friendship circle has to be there then getting married abroad possibly isn’t for you.

❤️ Be sensible. If you’re choosing a beach wedding in a baking hot location then you chose it for a reason – hopefully you are a bride who wants quite a relaxed/beachy vibe?? I wore a loose fitting dress and flat sandals. A ballgown style and pair of Jimmy Choo’s would not have been appropriate. Equally, please don’t force your hubby to be into a 3 peice suit and tie in 30 degree heat!! Same applies for guests. They need to be comfortable so don’t impose a strict dress code.

❤️ Make the most of the scenery. You are in a beautiful place, you have hired a photographer – use the beauty to your advantage! Looking back on photographs is one of the best things after the wedding and you can treasure them forever. In my opinion having something different as the backdrop is truly special. We even went for a photoshoot the next day underwater in our wedding outfits which was truly amazing! I love looking at the pictures.

❤️ Use a planner. I cannot stress this enough! Some, very brave, couples do attempt to co-ordinate their weddings from the UK but I just could not deal with the stress of it! We used Zante Weddings, the longest running and most experienced wedding planner in Zante, and they couldn’t have been better. Having someone who is a) in the country to liase with vendors b) speaks the language and c) actually knows all the best companies on the island was invaluable. I definitely couldn’t have done it myself. Frances, the owner of the planners, was fantastic and managed to get everything we wanted and more.

TRUST YOUR PLANNER. If you are hiring a local wedding planner then you must trust them to organise your big day. I understand it can be hard to relinquish control of the more special day of your life but it’s important to remember that they have done this before. 100 times. They seriously know what they are doing. When having your wedding abroad there are certain things that you just can’t micro manage to the same level as you can in the UK; e.g. you can’t taste the cake flavours, see the exact colour of the table cloths or choose every single individual flower for your bouquet. This isn’t for everyone, but I loved having the stress of a million decisions being taken out of my hands. We gave our planners a vague theme and colour scheme and they delivered flowers, décor and food which was better than we ever could have imagined. Choose your planner carefully and trust them to give you your perfect day.

Relax and enjoy. Chances are, you decided to tie the knot abroad to avoid some of the usual stresses and strains that come with a UK wedding – so make sure you actually chill out and enjoy yourself! Not only are you having your dream wedding day and marrying the love of your life – but you’re also combining it with a gorgeous holiday. I was sunbathing and doing yoga by the pool the morning of my wedding! You, your hubby and all your guests will be on a holiday high and what could be more amazing than a giant holiday with family and friends. Have a ball.

I hope these tips help any couples thinking of taking the plunge and getting married somewhere other than the UK. From one bride to another; you won’t regret it!

I have by no means seen every beautiful beach in the world – there are still so many on my list!- but I have been to a lot of beaches. Here is a round up of the most stunning ones I have visited in my life. All of them were pure, virtually unspoilt paradise.

Belle Mare, Mauritius.

One year ago we were here, and it’s particularly special because we got engaged on this beach! Belle Mare is one of the quieter resorts in Mauritius and the country is so chilled and generally unspoilt by tourism. Nothing but miles and miles of white sand, crystal clear water and the odd water sports centre. Also it’s mainly couples so not many young families if you’re after a less hectic vibe. Blissful.

Whitehaven beach, East Coast Australia.

Often coined the most beautiful beach in the world because, well, look at it! A tiny strip of powdery white sand so pure you can clean your teeth with it (true story) and the bluest blue shallow warm water. WOW. Only accessible by boat I exploring the island on foot and also viewed it from the air and it was totally stunning and lived up to its reputation. Only criticism is that, as it is so famous, it can get very busy. But what can you do! When you’re this beautiful your bound to get a lot of attention.

Long Beach, Koh Lanta Thailand.

The clue is in the name – a long sandy beach with beautiful shallow waters perfect for chilling and paddling! One of he quieter beaches in Lanta with less large resorts and more small beach huts so it’s got a nice ‘hippy’ vibe. I spent a lovely week here and it was my favourite Thai island for many reasons; the food, the people, but mainly the beautiful beach.

Cameo Island, Zakynthos

Okay yes it’s not exactly a beach, more like a cove BUT it’s got sea and a bit of sand and it’s totally stunning. And how could I not pick the place where I became Mrs Erler?! It may not be an endless sandy beach like the tradiontal famous beaches but there’s a reason why it’s one of, if not the most, popular wedding venues in Greece. It’s rustic; a small island only reachable by a rickety bridge and a stone staircase. Proper romantic. The sea is blue and warm and the shingle gives it a really bohemian feel. The best bit is it faces away from the land so all you can see from the bay is the open sea and the odd boat.  A perfect wedding venue, but also beautiful to visit on your holidays.

As you can tell – I love beaches! Can’t wait to explore more.  Where is your favourite beach in the world?

xox

If you are getting married abroad or having a beach wedding a San Unity Ceremony is a real cute and popular addition to the ceremony. We didn’t have a religious ceremony and the civil ceremonies in Greece are very short, just a few lines and the exchanging of the rings; it would be over in a few minutes! The Sand Ceremony was an add on that our planners offered and as Paul and I are total beach bums we thought it would be a nice touch and was very ‘us’.

The couple are given a vial of sand each, and take it in turns to pour it into a larger, decorative vase. It’s actually very symbolic and as your pour the sand the registrar reads words explaining how your sand is now mixed together forever, as one, never to be separated, which represents how you have become one person in your marriage and will be bound together forever. The words meant a lot to us and we were so glad we decided to have it.

If your planner doesn’t do it or you’re not using a planner you can get the vials of sand easily online, or more mean fully you could easily collect the sand yourself. If your weddings isn’t beachy I really like the idea of doing it privately on the honeymoon, like some people plant love trees, to cement your bond and you can use sand from that special place and remember your honeymoon forever.

Plus you get to keep the vase as well which is a lovely memento and looks cute in our living room.

xox

It’s no secret that I absolutely love my holidays. I spend an ungodly amount of my wages on squeezing in breaks here and there and it’s not an exaggeration to say that holidays is what Paul and I live for. This post is about THE BEST holiday we ever had, staying in this stunning villa on the Greek island of Zakynthos.

I mean.. look at it..

There is something truly special about not sharing your vacation. Having a pool all to yourself, waking up in the morning and doing yoga on the terrace, cooking and having your own space and peace and quiet was total bliss.

Artina Villa, Zakynthos is a stunning new build luxury villa on top of a cliff with panoramic views of the turquoise waters of Keri bay. It has 3 bedrooms, a large garden and this amazing infinity pool.  The interior is super stylish and they have truly thought of everything, the comfiest mattresses; a Bluetooth sound system; posh coffee machine; kitchen gadgets and even a hammock all to make you feel totally spoilt.  The owners even leave a welcome basket and fill the fridge up with generous supplies and some of their home grown and made produce. True Greek hospitality at it’s best.

We spent a week in this paradise. Venturing down to the small village of Keri occasionally to sample the local restaurants or small shops, however most of the time we stayed in the villa. It was a fair distance uphill from the town and beach which was walk-able (for the reasonably fit) but I would definitely advise a hiring a car for a hidden gem like this one!

For  a little slice of holiday heaven I cannot recommend this place enough. If, like me, you find villa holidays a bit extra special then it is the perfect place. And if you have a group then the price can be devided and is often not as bad as you think. Villa vacations are where it’s at!

I love using the Home Away app to see what other amazing villas there are in beautiful Mediterranean locations. 

xox

For someone who has never taken much interest in weddings before becoming engaged the process of planning a reception seems like a long and extremely daunting one, full of terms that I had never heard of before in real life (calligraphy anyone?!) and potential pitfalls regarding having a ‘theme’ and choosing a ‘palette’ with ‘accents’ (what the hell?!).  To be honest, I asked my creative mum who has an amazing eye for detail to take the reins on most of those decisions. However, there was always one thing that I knew I wanted for the reception: a long, banquet style table set up.

I wanted this look for the following reasons:

  1. It’s DIFFERENT. Although becoming more popular it stands out from the regular round tables with a top table set up.
  2. I don’t like round tables. No offence I just find them too formal and they remind me of corporate events.
  3. I couldn’t deal with the stress of who would sit at the top table. My brother?! Sister in law? What about Bridesmaids partners?! Minefield.
  4. I had seen sooo many cute pictures on Pinterest of long tables covered in jam jars full of flowers and I was won over.

Let me tell you something. I received a lot of opposition to this decision. ‘But how will people talk to each other?!’, ‘People won’t mingle!’, ‘I won’t hear the speeches if I’m on the end…’ Honestly, I had so many comments like this. But I’m so glad I stuck to my guns and had the long table.

We had 50 guests in total so 25 on each side with Paul and I in the middle. The seating plan was easy because I sat couples opposite each other and mixed up family groups and age groups. It worked really well and everyone mixed in. Plus the fact that the table looked stunning with the jam jars and all the guests commented on how amazing it looked! It gave the wedding much more of the casual, ‘big family meal’ feel that was so important to me.

Go for it girls! Break table tradition!

xox