Marry Old England or How to Plan the Perfect Transatlantic Wedding

Who doesn’t love a wedding? With the season approaching and with one of our own Tanager partners preparing for his big day, we thought it would be fun to take a look at how differences between US and UK wedding traditions impacts a transatlantic couples’ planning.

According to Dominique Douglas, Director of Stylish Events and co-author of the UK edition of Wedding Planning For Dummies, the first and most important advice to give any newly engaged couple – whether transatlantic or not – is don’t panic. Planning a wedding should be an enjoyable experience, so try not to feel too much pressure to plan the “perfect” wedding. Instead, plan a wedding that will make you happy that matches your budget.

Dominique asks all her couples to sit down alone to have a “what’s your dream” discussion. Out of that discussion should come a list of the things that are important. Prioritizing the list will reveal the big picture: church or civil, historic or modern, summer or winter. Then involve your friends and family who should recognize that you have really thought about it and hopefully, will be happy to do what you want. In any event, chose your battles wisely. If the groom’s mother wants to read a poem at the ceremony written by your great grandfather in 1861, then let her but still be firm on the things that are important to you.

Dominique points out that cross-cultural weddings offer the chance to pick and choose from the best of both traditions, but she emphasizes that the legalities of getting married in the UK are very different from the US. For example, in the US it is popular to get married at home whereas in the UK a legal marriage can only take place in a religious building, a licensed venue or a registry office. No matter which traditions you take up or leave out, make sure the wedding is legal!

And finally, Dominique provides things for a couple to keep in mind when deciding if the wedding will be ‘here’ or ‘there’:

  1. Where are most of the people you need to invite – in the UK, the US, somewhere else?
  2. Who is paying for the wedding? It helps when the person who is writing the checks is in the country.
  3. If you are getting married in the country where you don’t live, is there room in the budget for a wedding planner to do all the legwork for you?
  4. In situations where both families are lobbying for their culture and country, a neutral or third country could be the solution
  5. Give guests as much notice as possible, especially when long distance travel is planned.

You can learn more about Stylish events here. You can contact Dominique at and follow her on Twitter @ddstylishevents

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