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Getting married abroad: What you need to know

Allianz Global Assistance - A beach prepared for a destination wedding featuring a white canopy, flowers and chairs set up facing the beach for a wedding abroad.

The sun is setting on a sparkling Pacific Ocean as you and your beloved say your vows. Everything is perfect: a kiss, applause, photos in front of that gorgeous sunset, and you’re married! Then comes the whirlwind reception, the sometimes cringe-worthy (yet wonderful) speeches and then some much needed days on the beach. Follow that with a safe flight home and you have glorious memories to last a lifetime. The dream destination wedding, or renewing wedding vows abroad, is possible, but you’ll need good planning and preparation, coupled with a willingness to roll with the punches.

Things are done differently… everywhere

Regardless of the wedding destination, or whether it is a big or small wedding abroad, getting married outside of your own country requires lots of research and paperwork. Then there are those country-specific quirks. Make sure you know the legal logistics of getting married in your destination country before you go abroad.


Stay healthy!

One of the worst potential pitfalls is getting sick, either prior to departure, or after arriving at the wedding destination. Be sure that you are well-versed with regards to local cuisine and avoid dishes or flavours that might not sit well. Remember that healthcare systems and hospitals are very different in other countries so be sure to do some research before you travel; this way, if an unexpected illness or medical need crops up you are ready to deal with it. Always travel with any prescription medication (and a copy of your prescriptions) in your carry-on and follow guidance from your physician if you have health issues. It’s important to see the doctor before travelling to make sure that all vaccinations are up-to-date as well (and suggest that guests do the same). When in a foreign country, make wise decisions about what activities you undertake: high-risk activities like sky-diving and heli-skiing might get your heart racing almost as much as your future spouse but any accidents arising from high-risk activities aren’t likely to be covered by travel insurance.


Protect yourself, the wedding party and your guests

An essential part of the wedding abroad checklist is preparing for the unthinkable: emergencies and illnesses being top of mind. Assuming that you aren’t eloping, consider the needs of the wedding party and other guests. As the group will be together over several days, it is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy each other’s company for more than just a brief hello and dance at the reception. You’ll want to make sure that everyone has travel insurance so that any eligible unforeseen events, from hospitalization to flight cancellations are covered and don’t ruin the occasion. The Medical + Cancellation Plan offered by Allianz Global Assistance is ideal for families travelling together looking for medical and non-medical coverage such as loss of baggage, trip cancellation, and trip interruption. Families who typically travel two or more times a year can opt for an Annual Medical Plan to ensure their loved ones have emergency medical coverage for a full calendar year and an unlimited amount of trips.

Keep important items with you

In order to fulfil that vision of a perfect small or big destination wedding abroad certain items are necessary to carry it off- the dress being a critical piece for many! Think carefully about what will be packed  versus carried on—better to keep important things like wedding rings and legal documents with you at all times. And unless you need to buy an extra seat for the dress you can most likely take it as a carry-on item, but be sure to check with the airline ahead of the trip.

Making it happen

When getting married away from home, or hosting a destination wedding on a budget, take a thoughtful, resourceful approach to planning, that includes protecting yourself as well as guests with appropriate travel insurance. Everyone wants to have a wonderful wedding day experience. When booking a hotel or resort that specializes in destination weddings use their consulting services and local knowledge, and ask friends / colleagues who have held or attended a wedding abroad about their experience. Factoring in travel insurance during the upfront planning of the total wedding abroad price/cost will ensure it’s been budgeted for, alongside all other wedding necessities. So before you and your fiancé(e) commit to take each other “in sickness and in health,” say “I do” to the question “will you take travel insurance?”

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Travel insurance does not cover everything. Please refer to the policy wording for full terms and conditions, including limitations and exclusions. Travel insurance is underwritten by CUMIS General Insurance Company, a member of The Co-operators Group of Companies and administered by Allianz Global Assistance. Allianz Global Assistance is a registered business name of AZGA Service Canada Inc. and AZGA Insurance Agency Canada Ltd. Please note that remuneration may be payable to the distributor of this insurance.