How to Plan a European Destination Wedding

A bride and groom walking on a European street next to an old building with blue doors.

If you’re dreaming of saying your marriage vows in an Italian villa or along the French Riviera, you may be worried that planning a wedding from so far away is too tall a task. However, many couples do it—and many even do it sight unseen. The great thing is that most of them end up loving how their day turns out despite the fact that they had to plan it across many, many miles. If you’re looking to exchange vows across the pond, keep in mind that you can plan the perfect European destination wedding from a distance with the following tips.

Choose an Ideal Location for the Experience You Want

The first step in planning your European destination wedding is similar to planning any other wedding: you have to choose a location. First think about the vision you have for your wedding. The great thing about Europe is that there is a location for every taste; you can have your wedding in an island setting along the Mediterranean or in a winter wonderland in the Swiss Alps. In choosing your location, you’ll also want to think through what experience you want your guests to have. Would you prefer they enjoy a bustling city or a quaint countryside? Again, Europe has everything imaginable to offer, so the options are seemingly endless.

Use Social Media to Choose a Venue

A bride and groom at their European wedding venue with an old stone bridge.

After you choose the country you want to tie the knot in and the ideal setting, you’ll have to narrow it down to a specific venue. If you can’t make a trip to Europe to visit sites in person, start with a simple internet search. Research the best venues in the area you’re interested in. Use sites such as Trip Advisor to learn more about the individual venues and to read reviews that will give you further insight into the options. Reach out to the venue via email and get in touch with their wedding coordinator to set up conversations and get your questions answered. The reality is that with so much information available on the internet, you can easily do enough research from the comfort of your home to make a decision on your dream European venue confidently without ever seeing it in person.

Find Your Vendors

Use the coordinator at your venue and any contacts there to suggest vendors that you can book for your event. For things like a photographer, use social media, wedding review sites, and so on to find the perfect match for your event. Use this same strategy for finding a glam team for your event. If you are very picky and can afford to do so, consider flying vendors such as a photographer or hair and makeup artists to your event so that you feel confident in choices.

Plan Fun Events for Guests Around the Wedding

A group of friends drinking wine during a meal at a European vineyard.

As you plan the details of your wedding with the venue, you’ll also want to plan for other activities and events around the big day. You may want to have a welcome party since your guests will be traveling very far. You also may want to prepare a list of suggestions for guests to visit during their trip. Plan activities and events that center around the culture of where you’re visiting and allow guests to really enjoy the area. For instance, if you’re getting married in Tuscany, plan an event at a vineyard with wine tastings for guests to enjoy.

Check on Local Marriage Laws

Different locations in Europe have varying laws surrounding how much time you must be present in the area prior to legally marrying. There may also be residency requirements and stipulations on using an American marriage license. Be sure to do your research on this before making travel arrangements in order to avoid any unfortunate situations.

Add Cultural Touches

A bride standing next to groomsmen wearing Scottish kilts.

When you’re getting married in Europe, you may or may not opt to go with a full-on European theme for your event. If you’re not doing a theme, though, it could still be fun to add cultural touches based on where your event is being held. For instance, if your wedding is taking place in Ireland or Scotland, have a bagpipe player as a part of your wedding entertainment. If you’re tying the knot in France, choose champagne produced in the region your wedding is taking place in as the toast at your reception.

Following these tips makes it easier to plan your wedding from a distance. Your European affair will be unforgettable for you and your guests alike!

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