Travel, Love and Weddings- An Elopement to a Weddding Abroad

Love travel? Love the love of your life? Planning a wedding? Getting stressed planning said wedding? If you answered yes to all of these then why not hot foot it on a plane and get hitched abroad.

Regular readers might remember we were in Fiji back in October last year and the reason for this was my cheeky little sister and her partner were getting wed. Initially, they had planned to elope and had told us that they would be getting married away with only two friends on a beach somewhere in the world. Our parents masked their pain and whilst they would have loved to have been there they did support their decision. Our parents are good like that they might not always agree with our life choices but they will always support us with our wild and wonderful ideas. My middle sister had recently had her own wedding day and decided to impart some wisdom and also wanted to get in on the beach wedding adventure so somehow convinced our sister and future brother in law that immediate family should be invited. Then with one decision, the elopement became a wedding abroad.

And what a wedding it was. Fiji was stunning (how could it not be), the bridal party looked gorgeous and our dad and my sister’s brother in law wore a sulu to truly embrace the Fijian spirit. The wedding was at the Outrigger Resort I and whilst  I am sure they have over 100 weddings a month my sister’s wedding wasn’t just a standard cookie cutter wedding that you would possibly expect. They were able to include parts of their own personality and style alongside the facilities on offer. With different locations around the resort, they are able to choose which best suited their needs for all parts of the day and also what suited the weather. There were 15 guests including the bride and groom (but not including the 100 odd people at the resort nightclub we ended up partying the night away with) and it was an intimate and family oriented wedding. The wedding planning and staff involved were amazing and displayed the world famous Fijian service and  welcoming attitudes. She was serenaded by Fijian singers, served amazing food, had a funny game of Mr& Mrs, was spoiled with a hen party spa day for the ladies and we got to have an amazing family holiday whilst celebrating a new chapter for the happy couples.

My sister and her now husband love travelling and by getting married abroad allowed them to see another place they hadn’t been with their nearest and dearest. Obviously, though it was bittersweet as they weren’t able to have everyone there with them, however, they did have a big party a few weeks later to share the joy with everyone.

A wedding abroad is actually a really tempting idea. It’s usually cheaper than a normal wedding, it’s often somewhere exotic, it’s intimate with fewer guests than a normal wedding and it allows travel loving souls the chance to explore and have their special day on foreign soil.

It was a picture perfect wedding and I’d always wondered how they decided and planned their wedding abroad so my sister kindly answered some questions and shared her insight below in case there is anyone else out there planning a wedding abroad or an elopement.

Why a wedding abroad?

We both love travelling so thought it would be great to incorporate our wedding in that.  A wedding abroad gave us the option to travel somewhere new!

How did you decide where to get married?

We were originally planning on eloping, and we found Fiji had great eloping packages and it was somewhere we had never been. Over time we changed from eloping to a wedding (complete with family) but Fiji remained.

Was it a hard or easy decision?

A very easy decision, I mean have you seen pictures of Fiji?!! Palm trees, friendly Fijians, cocktails, sunset, beach – what more could you want! It was a very laid back and intimate wedding, with only 15 people (including Shawn and me).

Did it affect the type of wedding that you had or wanted?

Shawn and I are quite laid back so a beach wedding was always the plan and this fit in with Fiji.

The best part of getting married in Fiji?

It was so relaxing, we basically just turned up – everything was organized for us. My sister Sarah will love this, as she was the one to convince us to invite the family, but it was awesome as it was like a family holiday. It was also very special as Shawn’s family had not been outside of Australia before so it was great to see them experience somewhere new.

The hardest part of getting married in Fiji?

The Outrigger resort where we got married is so organized and professional – so we didn’t have any problems. Except maybe when our butler picked up our wedding clothes a bit late to get prepped for the big day (basically just threw that it in so I could say we had a butler 😊), the hardest part was not inviting more family members – it would have been great to have my grandparents with us and aunties and uncles.

Where was the best place for research information?
My mother, Debs known as the MOB(Mother of the Bride) was in research heaven. There are many websites for Fiji weddings that show different packages for the different resorts. One great find was the Outrigger Wedding Facebook page – it had all the information I could want and you could ask previous brides questions. Also, the Outrigger assigned a wedding planner from the resort, Darshita, so I could email with any questions/issues and they were quite prompt with replies.

Where did I have Hens party and stag party?
I had a night out with friendsin Brisbane, which my amazing Maid of Honour organized…. won’t go into too much detail but it was an awesome night! I was then spoiled in Fiji by the MOB, she had organized a manicure/pedicure or all the ladies (MOB, sisters, mother in law and best friend), this also came with some bubbles! Shawn waited until Fiji, he and the boys went and played some golf, complete with a few beers.

How was it planning on across 2 countries?

It was quite easy as the wedding planner from the Outrigger was amazing. They let us know all the options and variety of things and Shawn and I picked what we liked. The package we selected had everything included so we didn’t need to source much. That being said – I did get addicted to Etsy – there is so much out there in the wedding world! Also, my maid of honour is a travel agent, so she booked all our flights and transfers, which made everything nice and easy! As we were getting married in a different country, there was quite a bit of paperwork to be organized, but this again was helped by the resort wedding planner.

Did you have to plan more than you expected to or wanted to?
No, it was quite simple you would have thought it would require more planning but it all came together very easily. It would have been harder for our family, Shawn’s family all required passports, my sister and brother in law in England, were moving to a new house at the same time as trying to organize travelling such a long way.

Were you able to iclude your Australian heritage in the day?
As we were in Fiji we wanted to incorporate the Fijian culture into our day. We had Fijian serenades sing traditional Fijian songs whilst I walked down the aisle. My father wore a Fijian outfit, a bright orange shirt and a sulu! He looked fantastic! My brother in law also wore a sulu and by the end of the trip, everyone was looking very Fijian.

What (if anything) would you do differently?
It was a wonderful day, very relaxing and no stress. The only thing I would change is to have had my mum with me whilst I was getting ready.

Top tips for other couples planning a wedding abroad? 
Do it! It’s a wonderful experience! I would say get organized early if you are planning on getting married overseas – find out the legal requirements for the country so you aware of what needs to be done.

Those that are familiar with our blog or Deb’s World will be aware that our family really loves to travel and I love how this has been a factor in both my sister’s weddings. I’ve recently posted about my middle sister’s wedding here. She and her husband met whilst she was living and working in the UK and they had an Aussie/Pommie wedding incorporating both of their heritage.  You can check it out here. My sisters and brother in laws have set the travel inspired weddings high so I’m going to have to come up with something pretty darn special when I finally get down the aisle.  Did you have a travel inspired wedding or know someone who did? Get in touch or leave a comment below as would love to hear other ways you can incorporate it in your big day.

If your thinking of getting married in Indonesia then our friends at HF Tours have a great post of what you need to think about with your planning.

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Globetrotters- Seeking the Spanish Sun

This week our Globetrotter is the lovely Perri from Seeking the Spanish Sun. A fellow expat, however, she swapped rainy Britain for the Spanish sun and I swapped sunny Australia for rainy Britain (think I may have done it the wrong way round). Her goal is to discover and blog about every inch of her new home, Spain. And what an awesome goal to have!

I love a travel blog but my ultimate favourite is discovering new expat bloggers. Seeing a country outside of a week or two on holiday and really absorbing and embracing the lifestyle is a truly awesome way to travel. I enjoy hearing how people adjust and explore a new country is really fascinating and in a selfish way, it makes some of the challenges I face seem a little less challenging knowing that someone else is or has been through the same thing. Spain is such a gorgeous country with some many different areas and Perris’ style of writing really draws you in and it’s like you can imagine being there so much so you find yourself on Skyscanner looking for fights.

One of my favourite posts was a recent one about my favourite Spanish city Barcelona. It’s such an amazing city that has the best of both worlds glorious beaches and winding old city streets. This two-day city guide is a great guide on what to do if you are only in the city for s a short time. I have read this over and over as long to be back exploring Barcelona and have even discovered some places I hadn’t yet seen.

If you are planning a trip, want to move or just need some travel inspiration then you need to check out Perri’s blog. There is an abundance of city guides, local tips, advice on Spanish life and stacks of inspiration to explore all parts of beautiful Spain. I’ve included all links to Peris’s blog and social channels so you keep up to date with where she discovers next…

Let me hand you over to Perri from Seeking the Spanish Sun

Hi, I’m Perri, a 34-year-old Brit living in Spain. I moved from London to Madrid last year seeking the Spanish sun. I am exploring Spain in search of a place to call home and settle down. During my travels, I share everything I see and learn at Seeking the Spanish Sun .

Check out my blog and social media sites for information, tips, guides, and advice on visiting and living in Spain. Spain is truly a wonderful country and it has so much to offer.

What do you enjoy most about travelling?  

I love the excitement of going somewhere I’ve never been before and just exploring. I love trying local foods, seeing how other people live and learning about other countries and cultures. In the past, I always travelled as far as possible and to as many random places as I could. Nowadays I live in Spain and I have dedicated my current travels to exploring locally and see everything that Spain has to offer.

Why do you think travelling is important?  

I think traveling is important because it broadens your mind and teaches you things that you would never learn if you stayed at home. Traveling is exciting, confidence building and eye-opening. Whether it’s a city-break, beach holiday or year’s backpacking trip, I believe that everyone should travel.

Where are you off to next? Or where have you just come back from?  

I just came back from a relaxing winter sun break in Fuerteventura .It’s an Island in the Spanish Canaries, West of Africa. My next trip is to Barcelona, I have been there many times. This will be a few days catching up with friends, drinking, and eating.

What is your favourite photograph from your travels.

This is a photo from my road trip in New Zealand. We drove from Auckland to Queenstown and it was an awesome trip. The scenery in New Zealand is just stunning and every night we stopped at beautiful roadside spots with views like this.

Do you have a pre-travel ritual? If so what?

I write a list of what I still need to pack and what I need to do before leaving. Then I meticulously go through that list and cross everything off. That way I feel organised and know I haven’t forgotten anything.

Who do you usually travel with?  

My boyfriend Brad, we met in Mykonos almost 12 years ago and have been traveling the world together and living in different countries ever since.

If you were to give one piece of travel advice what would it be?

Make a plan, think about where you want to visit and work towards getting there. Try not to get caught up, in big, expensive bucket list destinations. Even if you start small with a few places you want to travel to that are not so far away. Work, save, research, then go.

Tell us the most memorable moment you’ve had whilst travelling?

Christmas dinner in Goa, India is one that comes straight to mind. It was my first backpacking trip and the first time I had travelled outside of Europe. I went with Brad and group of friends and we had the best time! We had no plans, no idea what we were doing or where we were going. We just explored and loved every minute.

The restaurant on the beach nearest our huts, where we had dinner every night, ordered in lobster especially for us and we had one each. We felt like Kings, I had never tried lobster before and the staff thought it was so funny when we all wore our Christmas hats.

Where is your favourite place that you’ve been to?

Caye Caulker off the coast of Belize was an impromptu stop during my travels in Central America and I was so wowed by it I had to extend my stay. It’s a gorgeous place, untouched by commercial tourism where the locals serve rum punch in plastic cups and bbq whatever fish was caught that day.

Where was one place that didn’t live up to the hype?

Hawaii, unfortunately, is somewhere that I felt very underwhelmed by. Maybe it was because I had just seen the un-spoilt beauty of The Cook Islands and New Zealand but I just felt it was too commercial. All of the shops and restaurants were catering to the tourists from the USA.

Tell us one place/experience on your bucket list?  

The Maldives is somewhere that I have to go. I put that top of the bucket list category because it’s quite expensive and such a dream destination. Another experience I would love is to go on a safari in Africa. The next few places I need to visit next are Seville, Asturias, and Mallorca.

What is the one thing you wouldn’t travel without?

I would never travel without a book. A book is the best thing to keep me occupied while I’m waiting for a delayed flight, while I’m on a long train journey or while I’m just relaxing by the sea. I love to swap my book for another lovingly read, slightly battered, second-hand one as soon as I finish. Passing a good book onto someone else is such a lovely way of sharing.

Your go to or favourite book/film/tv series that always makes you want to travel?  

The BBC tv series Planet Earth always makes we want to travel. They cover so many fantastic and unique destinations in their documenting of animals and nature. Series II, in particular, got me thinking about travel to exotic jungles and islands. The amazing high definition camera work reminds me how big and beautiful the world is.

What can readers find on your blog?  

I started my blog to share all the things I see while exploring Spain and all the things I learned while living here. You can find information on the towns, cities, parks, and beaches that I visit in Spain. Tips and guides on how to get the most out of your holiday or travels in Spain. Plus, some insight on what life is like living here and general travel advice from my experiences.

Where does your blog name come from?  

When I left London and moved to Madrid I was literally seeking the Spanish sun. I was tired of the mostly grey and miserable weather in the UK and was really hoping to find that Spanish sunshine and all the wonderful things that come with it… sangria, secluded beaches, siestas and a slower pace of life.

Do you have a favourite blog post? What is it and why?

I think my favourite blog post is the slightly controversial How to be a good tourist. It’s addressing the issue we have in Spain currently with negative tourism. It includes some very simple ways that we can all enjoy a more conscious and sustainable holiday. It is different to my usual type of post (and I try not to be too negative or bossy) but this is something that I feel we really should all work to improve.

Links to find more from Perri below. Do check them out!






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