Getting married abroad? – Answering your questions

Getting married abroad?

Q. I have recently got engaged and my fiancée wants us to get married abroad. My friends were telling me horror stories about marriages abroad, even saying that the wedding may not be recognised when I return to Wales. Am I being over anxious?

A. Whilst reported cases continue to make the papers, of one party to a marriage arguing that their foreign marriage is invalid if you do your homework, and plan your wedding carefully, there should be little need for concern about planning a wedding abroad. The general rule for couples marrying abroad is that the marriage will be valid so long as the ceremony was carried out in accordance with laws of the country stipulating how the ceremony should be performed, and the paperwork required in advance. There are exceptions to this general rule and it is essential, therefore, that you research and contact local authorities in the country in which you plan to get married, prior to making any travel plans. If you are aware of, and comply with, all relevant formalities in advance of the wedding you can then move onto worrying about more important things (like the colour of the bridesmaids’ dresses!).

You can find contact details and other information on the government’s website at, which is an excellent resource to start with.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any other aspect of family law at or 01656 645525.


Katie McColgan

Partner, Family Department, at Berry Smith Lawyers