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Destination weddings: the best and easiest places to marry abroad

Getting married in the UAE can sometimes be a little complicated. So a destination wedding could help avoid the red tape - and let you squeeze an extra holiday in as well! We’ve picked some of the best countries for those looking to get married abroad.

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Greece

What makes it great for a destination wedding? Getting married in Greece is a favorite option for couples wanting a wedding abroad because of it’s plethora of hotels, abundance of beaches for civil ceremonies, and its (relatively) easy paperwork. The requirements to marry in Greece vary from island to island and town to town though. We recommend hiring a wedding planner to help with the legalities of a civil or religious wedding. There’s lots to choose from in places like Santoriniand they can guide you through the process of getting your paperwork in order. Requirements include birth certificates, passports, a Free To Marry Affidavit and translated copies from the Greek Embassy in your country of residence. Direct flights are available from the UAE to Greece, and at the time of writing you can get a ticket for under AED1,000.

Where to stay? A popular Santorini wedding hotel is the Apanemo Hotel which has stunning clear views over the turquoise sea and rocky mountainside. There are only 25 rooms so you have the perfect excuse to keep your wedding guest list small! Alternatively, travel to the Aegean island of Rhodes and say “I Do” in one of the many chapels by the sea. There are plenty of beautiful hotels in Rhodes to celebrate after the ceremony. Check out the Avalon Boutique Hotel, in the stunning Old Town of Rhodes (it also hosts weddings!) where you can toast your celebration in the private courtyard. Find out more about the legalities of marrying in Rhodes here.

Top tip: There’s the added bonus that Greece remains a relatively cheap holiday option so you’ll likely find most hotels eager to accommodate a large party of guests.

Santorini has lots of options for foreign weddings
Picture postcard: Santorini is popular for destination weddings

Denmark

What makes it great for a destination wedding? Predominantly, its relatively easy-to-navigate legal system and beautiful settings. According to the country’s government, every third wedding in Copenhagen City Hall is non-Danish! Some Danish wedding organizers say they can organize a wedding for a foreign couple in under a week. You’ll only need to be in the country for a minimum of two days (including one day before the ceremony), leaving more time for the honeymoon. There are lots of companies organizing weddings in Denmark and they can handle everything from booking the town hall and organizing your paperwork, to booking a photographer and finding witnesses.

Good for friends and family? If you’re inviting friends and family from across the world to watch you say “I Do”, Denmark is an all-rounder destination. There are actually lots of beaches, fairy-tale architecture, beautiful scenery, and plenty of places to hike, swim, fish and bicycle. The summer weather in Denmark is usually in the mid to high 20s, so you’re almost guaranteed nice weather on your wedding day.

Where to get married? If you decided to host your destination wedding in Copenhagen there are plenty of wonderful hotel options to entice your guests. The historic Hotel Kong Arthur overlooks the Copenhagen Lakes and is just a five minute cab ride to the City Hall. It also boasts the city’s largest and oldest spa. There are two penthouses and 155 affordable rooms, each with WiFi and cable television. If you want to be even closer to the City Hall, book a room at the recently remodeled Scandic Palace Hotel which is in Town Hall Square.

Romantic destination: Copenhagen, Denmark

Antigua and Barbuda

What makes it great for a destination wedding? You won’t find a more exotic destination than the Caribbean! The government of Antigua and Barbuda actively encourages couples to get married on the twin-island country. You can choose from two wedding licenses available in Antigua and Barbuda – a special license and an ordinary license. The latter (which is cheaper) requires at least one of the couple to be in the country for 15 days before they make the application for the wedding license. Find more details here.

Where to stay? The islands have plenty of all-inclusive resorts that host civil weddings, including the beautiful Blue Waters Resort and Spa on Antigua. It has several freshwater swimming pools, secret beaches and more than 15 acres of tropical gardens. The hotel itself has three restaurants, a bar and lounge, and a spa, so it’s the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing honeymoon once the ceremony is over.

Marrying on beautiful Antigua is relatively simple for foreign couples

Cyprus

What makes it great for a destination wedding? Getting married in Cyprus is another relatively easy option for couples who don’t want to have a ceremony in the UAE. As a foreigner you can choose between a civil ceremony or an Anglican church ceremony. Again, we recommend planning your wedding ahead of time with one of the country’s many independent wedding planners. You can officially apply for your marriage license once you arrive in the country for the ceremony. Direct flights are available from the UAE to Larnaca.

Where to stay? The St Raphael Resort in Limassol, Cyprus, (Limassol is under an hours’ drive from Larnaca) and the King Evelthon Beach Hotel & Resort in Paphos both offer wedding planning to their guests.

Top tip: the wedding paperwork in Cyprus is done in English which makes translation much, much easier. It also means you shouldn’t have any problems getting it recognized in the UAE. Click here for more information.

Cyrpus is a popular place for destination weddings

Las Vegas

How easy is it to get married in Vegas? We couldn’t write about destination weddings without writing about getting hitched in Sin City! So how easy is it? The requirements for US citizens are no different to those for non-US citizens, but you’ll need to scrape together the paperwork and tick all the boxes. You’ll need to visit the Las Vegas Marriage License Bureau with ID and money for the fees. After that, it’s relatively simple. You can have a drive-thru wedding or a famous chapel ceremony. Lots of chapels and hotels have their own photographers and florists so it can be very simple for you. Don’t forget to order your marriage certificate at the end!

Where to get married? Popular chapels include Graceland Wedding Chapel, Chapel of the Bells, and Chapel of the Flowers. There’s also the Little White Wedding Chapel where the likes of Frank Sinatra, Eva Longoria and Joe Jonas have tied the knot!

Other tips? Treat yourself to a honeymoon stay at one of the city’s iconic hotels such as the Luxor, The Mirage, Caesars Palace, or New York – New York.

Las Vegas is a popular destination wedding spot

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Article updated November 2019. Information correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change and/or availability.

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