Legal Wedding in UK first?


We are just starting to plan our wedding and would love to get married abroad ideally Sicily or Croatia, but were wondering to keep costs down would it be easier to have a registry office marriage in UK a day or two before we leave attended only by witnesses) and then have a symbolic wedding abroad with all our families and friends present.  Can anyone offer advice?



  • Emma681Emma681 Posts: 218 New bride

    Hi continuitygirl, we are getting married in Croatia in 7 weeks. We are having a civil legal ceremony when we are there and the process is very straight-forward. There is no minimum residency requirement to get married in Croatia so we will arrive on a Sunday and get married on the Wednesday, having a meeting with the registrars there on the Monday. 

    We never considered the idea of marrying here and just having a symbolic ceremony there, so I'm not sure how the costs compare. However, I know that our wedding planner does offer both types of package... we are using Ines at Dubrovnik Event and I can't recommend her highly enough. If you are interested, drop her an email asking about the difference in costs, and I am sure she will give you some information really quickly! 

    Good luck, and happy planning! x

  • AaAa Posts: 38

    Also getting married in Dubrovnik (but early June) and agree that the process ia pretty straightforward. The hardest thing was booking the appointment to get our certificate of no impediment!

    Could be because our planner is so awesome, though! (Marcela at D'Inspiration- can't recommend her highly enough as she is so awesome)

  • Hi Continuity Girl,

    It is slightly easier to marry in the UK first and then have a symbolic ceremony in your chosen destination, simply because this way you do not have to follow the documentation process required to marry civilly/legally in another country.

    That said, as Emma mentioned, the documentation process isn't that difficult as long as you follow the guidelines carefully- have a wedding planner assist you in this really helps as they know the possible pitfalls ahead of time and guide you through. This is a good link to look at, fill in the questionnaire for both Italy & Croatia:

    There are also advantages and disadvantages to both and it depends on personal preference. The advantage of marrying civilly/legally is only doing one ceremony and having the feeling of it being 'official' when you sign the certificate- having said this some couples aren't too worried about this aspect as they will have their family/friends with them for the symbolic ceremony and it feels just as real and emotional- especially as you can sign a symbolic certificate too.

    The advantage of a symbolic ceremony is that you can totally personalise it and do whatever you would like, whereas in the civil/legal ceremony you have to follow the ceremony guidelines and fulfill all the legal requirements (ie. reading legal articles etc.). You can add readings/personal vows usually, it depends on the Town Hall that you are marrying in. Some are more strict that others and may ask that your readings/personal vows take place after the legal part where you are technically married in the eyes of the law as husband and wife.

    Hope that helps! Feel free to drop me an email if you are looking for a planner and I would be happy to provide info on my services, I work mainly in Italy but also in other parts of Europe too such as Croatia, Greece and South of France: [email protected]

    Happy planning!

    Catherine x


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