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Is going abroad the key to your dream wedding?

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The average overseas wedding now costs £14,000 less than tying the knot in the UK, according to research by Currencies Direct.

The average wedding on foreign shores cost just £7,000 this year including ceremony, photography, reception and a honeymoon stay, Currencies Direct found. This is compared to an eye-watering £21,000 for a ceremony and reception in the UK.

Thanks to the strength of the UK’s currency many popular wedding destinations are nearly a fifth better value than they were last year. With the pound up 35 per cent on the South African rand, for example, happy couples looking to marry in South Africa can expect a £2,450 bonus on their wedding bill compared to 2012.

While wedding guests may be nonplussed about the prospect of attending an overseas wedding – according to research by 59 per cent of guests would rather attend a wedding at home, with the cost of attendance almost £300 higher for an overseas ceremony – the savings for the bride and groom could prove too tempting to resist. According to Currencies Direct an industrious bride and groom could fly, wed and stay for a seven night honeymoon in Thailand for just £1,950.

In Sri Lanka the same deal would cost just £1,664.

Danny Wayne of Perfect Weddings Abroad says: “Luxury long-haul wedding locations are now within budget for more and more couples. We’re finding that people are ‘trading up’ and using the favourable exchange rates to experience five-star luxury, or treating themselves to added extras like romantic meals and spa treatments.”

He continues: “Bali and South Africa are both amazing wedding locations, which are much more affordable than ever before. There are beautiful hotel venues in Bali with glass chapels on the beachfront, while South Africa offers everything from Safari weddings to ceremonies in the winelands and the beaches of Cape Town.”

Alistair Cotton, corporate dealer for Currencies Direct, adds: “Money can’t buy love, whatever the currency, but you you’ll certainly get more romance for the rand or rupiah this year. Looking to save money is one reason many couples look to marry abroad and there are clearly some parts of the world where your money stretches further.”

Top tips for marrying abroad

– If you’re going with a group, you may get a better exchange rate for your spending money if you all change currencies together in advance.

– Pay all of your suppliers in local currency. This will give you a far better exchange rate than one set by the hotel or wedding venue on the ground.

– Consider setting up a local bank account and transfer money over in a lump sum using a specialist broker rather than your bank. This way you’ll get better rates and minimise commission and fees.

– Try to insulate yourself from volatile exchange rates. You can do this by using a forward contract – a ‘buy now, pay later’ transaction where you lock in the current rate – and limit orders, instructions to automatically purchase currency when a target exchange rate is reached.

To compare the average cost of a wedding see the chart below: 

Country  Currency  Current GBP rate  % change from 2012  Flights for two  Ceremony and accomodation 
Thailand  Thai bhat  52.617  +6%  £1,080  £870 
Bali  Indonesia rupiah  19,752.807  +28%  £1,200  £1,000 
Caribbean  US dollar  1.609  +0.5%   £1,228  c. £3,486
Europe  Euro  1.248  +3%  Various  Various 
Mauritius  Mauritian rupee  50.9915  +5%  £2,370  £1,176 
Sri Lanka  Sri Lanka rupee  211.36  +1%  £986  £678 
USA  US dollar  1.609    +0.5%  £1,788 (Hawaii) £2,300 
South Africa  South Afrian rand  18.29649  +35%   £2,036  £1,249
 Australia  Australian dollar  1.855   +18%  £1,800  £2,001

 Source: Currencies Direct, based on October 2014 travel costs

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