Countries where Brits are looking to get married

What countries are people from the UK looking at when thinking about getting married abroad? Our researchers have the answer.

As we head into the summer months, wedding season is upon us. So you may be wondering what is the most searched wedding destination for Brits getting married abroad? First thoughts are likely to be warm Mediterranean climates or exotic destinations further afield.

You wouldn’t be far off, with Italy topping the list of the most searched for destinations. But what may surprise you is that Ireland’s Celtic charm meant that it came a close second. Based on the latest Google Trends data, from June 2021 to May 2022 Ireland was the most searched for wedding destination. Only a month ago, Italy leap-frogged the Emerald Isle in terms of popularity. Even then, weddings in Ireland remain twice as popular as weddings in Cyprus or Spain.

Quick statistics

  • Italy is the most popular wedding destination for Brits.
  • £7,500 is the average cost of a destination wedding. Whereas, the average cost of a traditional UK wedding is £27,161.
  • 1 in 4 British couples decide to have their wedding abroad.
  • The average number of guests to a destination wedding is between 10 and 15 guests.
  • 48% of couples went over their wedding budget in 2021.

Our researchers put together an easy way to look at real data from the months leading up to wedding season - just to get an idea of what countries are the UK's favourites - and here is what they found:

The top 5 destinations for marrying abroad

It's not a surprise to see the likes of Spain, Greece and Cyprus make an appearance. Other European destinations with the promise of some sun also proved popular, with Turkey and Portugal making the top 10.

For those looking further than a short-haul flight, the English-speaking countries of Australia and Canada were also favoured, ranking 8th and 14th. Meanwhile, countries with large populations such as India and China placed 7th and 11th respectively.

If you are looking to get married abroad, choosing where is just the first step. Find out how easy it is to access funds abroad. You will also most likely have to send money to your chosen wedding destination, so take a look at how to send money to Italy, Ireland and Greece. You will also want to get the best travel deal for you and your wedding guests, so check out our comparison guides for hotels and flights.

Most popular wedding destinations

The most searched for wedding destinations for Brits all fall in Europe. Right on our doorstep and rich with culture and history, couples seem to gravitate towards our European neighbours. Here are a few reasons why:

Mediterranean destinations

Countries like Italy, Greece and Cyprus offer the backdrop of warmer, sunnier climes. A short hop from the UK, these countries are not too far for friends and family to travel. And they present the perfect opportunity for a post-wedding holiday as well.
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Countries where you can get legally married

Alongside understanding how best to transfer money to pay for your wedding, some couples may be looking for a destination where they can legally get married. Rather than have a symbolic ceremony and complete the legalities back in the UK, couples can form a legally binding marriage in Ireland, Gibraltar, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Denmark.

English speaking

Being able to communicate with suppliers and the venue, or even just have your ceremony in your native language is important for a lot of couples. Our top searched destination of Ireland can give couples this. Other big English-speaking countries such as the US and Australia are also popular as a result.

Off the beaten track

For some couples, avoiding big tourist destinations mean that they can avoid a big price tag on their destination wedding. Smaller towns in the Tuscan countryside can offer beautiful backdrops at lower prices than some UK wedding venues. While countries such as Cyprus and Malta offer something unique at a lower cost. Obviously, this depends on what type of venue you choose and how many guests you have. But as destination weddings tend to be smaller, you could find that they are more budget-friendly than some options in the UK.

European countries compared

Italy

Italy offers beautiful scenery and a warmer climate. Whether or not you want to get married near the coast, on the shores of Lake Como or up in the hills of Tuscany, Italy has it all. Add to that good food and wine, plus the fact you can legally get married there - Italy is understandably high on the list of European wedding destinations.
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Ireland

Whether it be you have some Irish heritage or just like the Emerald Isle for its rolling green hills and lively musical rituals, Ireland has lots to offer couples. A quick trip over the Irish sea and you can have your destination wedding in English and be legally married abroad. The costs of marrying in Ireland are relatively flexible, depending on how big you want to go. There are small, intimate venues or larger more historic settings such as castles. You can also keep your costs down by using a specialist money transfer provider to send funds to your suppliers, venue etc.

Greece

Greece is the optimal Mediterranean destination wedding, with the Grecian islands of Santorini, Ios and Mykonos providing a stunning backdrop to your special day. Although it's a pretty complex process, UK couples can get legally married in Greece. But it may be a good idea to use a professional planner to guide you through the process, as your paperwork will need to be submitted in Greek.

Cyprus

Cyprus has one of the most simplistic procedures for UK couples to get legally married abroad. There's minimal paperwork and restrictions, making the path to saying "I Do" that much easier. Added to that the choice between traditional Cypriot villa or beautiful beachside resorts, Cyprus is fast-coming a top wedding destination for getting married abroad. You may also find that the cost of a wedding in Cyprus is more budget-friendly than the UK. But in order to make the most of the savings, make sure to compare money transfer providers to get the best deal on exchange rates and transfer fees.

Spain

Rich with culture and charming traditions, Spain offers couples an exotic, lively and romantic experience for their wedding. However, expect to deal with a lot of bureaucracy if you want to be legally married there. As a result, lots of couples tend to have a legal civil ceremony in the UK first and then head to Spain for a symbolic celebration afterwards.

France

Home to some of the most romantic venues and landscapes, France offers the chance for your wedding to be a unique and special day. A short hop over the English channel and you have exquisite food, world famous wine and fairytale chateaus at your fingertips. However, it is trickier for UK citizens to get married in France.

Top 10 most popular

CountryGoogle Trends popularity index
Italy34
Ireland30
Greece19
Cyprus15
Spain15
France14
India13
Australia12
Turkey10
Portugal9
China8
Mexico8

Top 5 most popular outside of Europe

CountryGoogle Trends popularity index
India13
Australia12
China8
Mexico8
Pakistan7
Canada6
Maldives6
Mauritius6

Methodology

Our top most searched for destinations for Brits getting married abroad is based on our extensive market research. We used data from Google Trends to see which countries were the most popular for getting married abroad in May 2022. We monitored the same data in the months proceeding May in order to identify any patterns or trends and referenced these against paid SEO tools.

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK Communications Manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806
matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

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