Or How to organize your Greece wedding…
The reasons to choose to marry abroad can be varied: a wish to make something really memorable and romantic, desire to avoid family conflicts and even to cut costs, convenience, trend. Usually the couples that make this choice share a more informal approach to the ceremony and care less about wedding gowns and big receptions. Admittedly, organizing a wedding abroad may not sound romantic to you at all. In fact mixing travel with a wedding might sound like a stressful experience. However, if you are careful to plan ahead, a romantic wedding can be a hassle free alternative.
Greece is not only rich in archeological heritage, but also in traditions. Grecian weddings are among those rich cultural traits.
While planning a wedding ceremony away from home, the first thing to keep in mind is the kind of help you may require and the amount you may have to spend on it. Factors arising due to travel may considerably alter the budget you may have planned for your ceremony. You can start by contacting a professional. There is a large number of wedding planners operating in Greece and, in particular, in Rhodes. They can help you to decide the course of events that a Greek wedding requires. In some cases there is only the need of some paper work to be done and a couple of bouquets to be arranged for the bride and groom. In other cases though, there may be a considerable amount of decisions to be made as greek wedding ceremonies require a lot of detailing, depending on how far one had made their mind to follow the rich traditional route.
It is for you to decide how traditional and lavish or not the ceremony will be. The place of the actual wedding can be a place of worship, like one of the beautiful small Greek chapels, a private villa, on a cruise liner or a resort by the sea. Decisions such as the nature of reception after the wedding ceremony involving buffet, sit-down meal, Greek or non-Greek cuisines etc., should be made well in advance. Depending on the budget and activities, one could plan to stay afloat anything from 2-3 days to an entire week. Of course, this should take the legal aspect and the required paper work into consideration too, as it would additionally require your time and attention.
Beach wedding in a hot mid summer day requires also proper planning. Some prefer to marry in a hotel or other shaded area and then have the reception ceremony on the beach. Others decide to wed in the early evening, when the heat and the sun has died a bit. You could decide to stay at private villas, self-catering apartments or sea resorts depending on your personal taste. You should also decide in advance regarding which activities your guests may prefer to be part of. This may include the activities like cruise journey, sightseeing, swimming, snorkeling, spa, golf and hiking.
Like any other wedding, your wedding in Rhodes does also demand for wedding robes, the mode of transportation, a very clear thought on how far the guests’ expense may have to be born by you – some guests may prefer to have their own ideas, but you could not choose to overlook maximum possible expenditure.
The average cost of a wedding in the UK today is around 14.000 euros. Compared to a Greek wedding ceremony of an average cost around 800 – 1.000 euros which usually includes fees for the registrar, marriage license and certificate, a wedding cake with stand and a bouquet and buttonhole for the groom. Obviously the cost of the honeymoon is not included. Weddings in Greece are legal for couples coming from Europe, US, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and most other countries. The paperwork depends from where you come from, but it has become much easier that it once was.
UK residents wishing to marry in Greece may choose between Civil or Religious Ceremony. The basic documentation required includes:
- An original birth certificate.
- A consular registration certificate.
- A recent (non older than 2 months) Certificate of No-Impediment (two copies), obtained from the Superintendent Registrar. Bear in mind that it might take a month to issue this certificate.
- Decree Absolute (the final divorce paper where applicable).
- Death Certificate (widow or widower).
- Change of Name Deed (required if you’ve changed your name).
- Adoption certificate (where applicable).
Once again, this is the basic documentation required. There might be cases where further certificates will be requested.
All documents must be legalised by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Legalization Department and then translated to Greek. Further documents will be required for the religious ceremony, also translated to Greek. All translations must be handled by an Official Translator and then legalised. Once collected all the required documentation, it must be forwarded to either the Registry Office or to the priest, at least 4 weeks prior to the ceremony.
After the wedding the couple must declare (in non more than 40 days) the marriage to the local Registry Office in Greece so a Marriage Certificate will be issued (within 3 days). If you have a wedding planner they will send your certificate for translation and then forwarded to you at your postal address (if requested). Alternatively you can translate it by visiting the Consular Authorities and request the document to be forwarded to the General Register Office in the UK where it can be deposited.