Travel, Love and Weddings- Planning a wedding with someone from another country

So what happens when you meet the ‘one’ when you’re on your travels?

Obvs take them home and marry them of course. And that is exactly what my sister did.

My middle sister moved to the UK a few years ago and while here she found her ‘one’.  She’s not like me we always knew her time in the U.K. would be for a few years and that she would eventually return. I, on the other hand, have dug my heels in and now drink so much tea and eat copious amounts of Yorkshire puddings that I’m practically British. But she was always going to go back and when they decided to move to Australia my brother in law made the decision to move without him even ever stepping foot on Aussie soil. They were (and still are) crazy in love.

Their love began and grew in Birmingham, they were engaged in Canberra and then the wedding planning began. Where, when, how? Two nationalities and cultures to come together in one place. Would it work? Would people travel wherever they ended up marrying? So many questions and things to consider that normal couples don’t need to think about.  My sister, however, is the super organised one of the family so we knew she would have it sorted before anyone could even ask when’s the wedding.

They married in Australia just near our hometown and had their wedding at a family friends property. We all stayed onsite in cabins and the ceremony was on the lawn with a marquee for the wedding breakfast. I wasn’t at all surprised that the wedding was in Australia but what I did like is how the celebration gave a nod to both cultures. The bridal party had both Aussies and Brits included on both sides. The night before the wedding and breakfast after we all had meals together so that everyone could get to know each other. The favours were a milo sachet and a Yorkshire gold tea bag and the games on the lawn while they were off having photos felt like a British afternoon garden party. The bouquets included my sister’s favourite native flowers and the groom and groomsmen’s suits all came from the UK.

It was a wonderful day and I’d always wondered how they decided and planned the wedding across the two countries so my sister kindly answered some questions and shared her wisdom below in case there is anyone else out there planning a wedding for two different nationalities.

How did you decide where to get married?

It was a really easy decision to get married in Australia. I’m not sure I even thought of getting married in the UK! It just made sense for it to be Australia as that’s where we are living. The main difficulty was choosing where in Australia to get married. We looked at venues near my grandparents’ house on the south coast and also my hometown. We ended up getting married in my hometown as it was easier, cheaper and my parents were there to handle some of the tedious bits of planning.

Was it a hard decision?

Nope! Well not for me! Luckily Ben is pretty easy going. I think it was easy for Ben once people said they would travel over (we had 67 adults attend the wedding and almost 20 came from overseas).

Did it affect the type of wedding that you had?

Not overly but it did impact on what we had to consider. We ended up getting married in my hometown in the middle of nowhere. There is no public transport to the town and there is no public transport to get around the town either. So everyone had to drive and to make it easy, we ended up with a venue that had enough accommodation on site for everyone to stay. It made the whole weekend like a massive family reunion/party.

What was the best part of getting married in Australia?

For me, it was having most of my family attend, including grandparents and cousins. On the other hand, Ben only had his mum, dad, step mum and step brother from his family attend. Plus we had the perfect spring day with lovely weather. Not sure we could have guaranteed that in the UK!

What was the hardest part of getting married in Australia?

Having friends and family who couldn’t attend, especially Ben’s sister and her children. However, we did travel to the UK a few months before our wedding to attend Ben’s sister’s wedding and we at least got to see all the family then. We also had a bridesmaid and groomsman who weren’t able to come over which was sad as we would have loved them to share our special day.

If you had married in England how do you think it would have been different?

It wouldn’t have an outside wedding – you just can’t risk it! I’m not sure it would have been so relaxed. We got married on a private property in the middle of nowhere and everyone could stumble to their room when they were done for the night. There was no one to complain about noise so those who wanted to could keep the party going to 2 am. We also had to provide our own alcohol so that kept costs down.

Where did you have your hen party? Stag party?

We had several! While we were in the UK in August, Ben had a week in a caravan in Wales with his best mates and I had a day out with my girlfriends at an inflatable park. Back in Australia, I had high tea and cocktails in Canberra and Ben had a night out. Plus I had a weekend in my hometown with my mum and two bridesmaids for the wedding trials.

How was it planning across the two countries?

It wasn’t too bad, as we didn’t really need to do much planning for the UK. Ben bought his suits (and the groomsmen’s) while in the UK but everything else was pretty much done in Australia. The only extra planning was organising things to do with our visitors. We spent a week before the wedding in Sydney with friends and family from the UK and after the wedding, we went to Jervis Bay and the Gold Coast. I organised the accommodation and travel which added a lot of planning.

Did you have to plan more than you expected to?

I’m often the organiser of a lot of things so I assumed I would end up planning a lot of things (including the travel above) so that wasn’t unexpected. One of the things I didn’t factor in was how to assign cabins to the wedding guests. The cabins had shared bathrooms and kitchens for 8-10 people. It was hard working out the different groups and who would be compatible to share.

How did you include your different heritages in your ceremony?

Luckily, English and Australian cultures are pretty similar (especially as my grandmother was born in England) so there wasn’t much we needed to bridge in that regard. We just worked with our celebrant to plan a ceremony that worked for us and reflected our relationship.

What (if anything) would you do differently?

It was a perfect day – I wouldn’t change a thing….except for the hair drama. Oh, and I maybe I would have finished my master’s thesis before the wedding.

Top tips to any other mixed national couples planning to get married?

I’m not sure how useful any advice I have would be for couples that have vastly different cultural backgrounds. I just think that you and your partner need to remember that it’s your day and so long as the two of you are happy, nothing else matters.

Those that are familiar with this blog or Deb’s World will be aware that our family loves to travel and I love how this has been a factor in both my sister’s weddings. From my middle sister above meeting her husband aboard and planning a cross-national wedding to my baby sister initially planning an elopement to Fiji but then deciding they wanted the immediate family with them so turned into a wedding abroad. We like to keep things interesting.  A huge thank you to my middle sister for getting involved in this post and keep your eyes peeled as my baby sister is also getting involved so a post on planning a wedding abroad will be up shortly.

As my dad keeps saying 2 down 1 to go. No pressure then!

Maybe one day you’ll get 3 out of 3 Pappa.

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. That’s so lovely!! I really enjoyed reading this post and living it all over again 😊 great to read Sarah’s thoughts too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Was really good to have her thoughts on the planning for the wedding. Was such a fab wedding. xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know it was a brilliant wedding and a great write up to maybe help others in similar situations. Thanks for the mention too 😊❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful day and thank you for sharing it all with us. I loved reading all about it.

    Like

  3. Haha…pressure’s on Mel! You are blessed to have such a lovely family. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. rachaelstray says:

    It’s always difficult to accommodate everyone at a wedding. Not everyone can travel especially not from the U.K. to Australia but the day is about the couple. It sounds like this was a beautiful wedding.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 100% probably why I’ve held off so long planning mine 😂

      Liked by 1 person

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