Getting married can be hard enough on home turf, in your own country, speaking your own language, but imagine trying to plan a wedding in another country where you don’t speak the language.
“Quel désastre,” as they say in France or as the Germans would say “Was für eine Katastrophe.”
But it doesn’t have to be. By following a few basic guidelines you can throw a destination wedding in either France or Germany.
Know the local laws – There can be lots of red tape to cut through when getting married in a new country. Make sure you are familiar with the local laws and customs.
Provisionally book accommodation – Your guests will be coming from far and wide. Tentatively reserve accommodation that will suit a variety of budgets.
Plan activities – For some of your guests, your wedding is not only a chance to celebrate your nuptials but is also an opportunity to explore a new part of Europe. Put together an itinerary of activities that will allow them to see the best of the area.
Keep things simple – Less is often more. Don’t over complicate things. Whether it be food, decor or the venue the more finicky details, the more room there is for error.
Get a wedding planner – This probably the most valuable piece of advice. It doesn’t matter how strong an idea you have of what you want for your big day, getting married in a country that is not your own, in a language that isn’t your first one can be daunting, to say the least. By employing the services of a wedding planner you can leave all the finer details to them while you get on with the business of getting married.
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Find a venue – This can be one of the most challenging elements of any wedding. The venue can make or break a wedding, and when you are “not in Kansas anymore Toto” it can be a truly terrifying task.
There are several factors to consider before you go venue hunting. Do you want in an indoor or outdoor wedding? Do you want a tented reception? Are you going to get married in a church? Will the celebrations be during the day or at night? How many people? How remote? Will you have a seated reception? Will there be dancing and or entertainment?
If you opt for an outdoor wedding, even if it is a summer wedding, remember that European weather can be somewhat unpredictable. Make sure your venue is suitable for some sort of tented cover. A tented wedding not only looks spectacular but also means that your guests can dance into the small hours of the morning without having to worry about mother nature making an unexpected appearance in the form of bad weather.
Speak like a local – Whether it is research on the internet or interacting with potential wedding suppliers, the idea of communicating in broken English is one that is probably sending cold shivers up your spine. Just imagine ordering 120 baby quail for the starter in your ‘best’ french, only to discover on the day that what you actually ordered was 120 live geese. Make sure you have a good translator! Whether it is Google translator for the various local wedding websites or to decode what the town florist is trying to sell you, the road ahead is paved with obstacles, don’t let language be one of them.
Here are some useful wedding phrases that will help get you started:
Location de chapiteau – Marquee rental
Tente de reception – Reception tent
Passez-moi à l’église à temps – Get me to the church on time
où est le champagne – Where is the champagne?
Festzelt – marquee, party tent or party marquee
Strandhochzeits zelte – Beach wedding tent
Wo ist der priester? – Where is the priest?
Wo ist der Champagner? – Where is the champagne?
Whether you are saying “Je fais” or “Ich mache” don’t let your wedding planning get lost in translation. Follow these guidelines and get hitched without a hitch.