When it comes to choosing a romantic environment in which to tie the knot, celebs often have the edge, opting for beach-side ceremonies under tropical skies. Friends actor Matt LeBlanc, supermodel Cindy Crawford and Natalie Imbruglia are just a few of the stars who have chosen to celebrate their special day in exotic climes.
Fantastic locations are no longer the exclusive province of the rich and famous, however. These days many travel firms include special departments which sort out the red tape, button holes and bubbly, with the honeymoon thrown in as well. In fact, exchanging your vows and rings on a sun-drenched island could be a cost-effective alternative to an expensive UK wedding.
Although its coastal areas were ravaged by the December 2004 tsunami, Sri Lanka offers a rich landscape of tea plantations, haunting ancient cities, wildlife and dense jungle in its picturesque interior. And the country has made it clear it is keen to welcome back visitors, upon whom it depends for much of its income. In recent statements the country has underlined that, apart from some areas in the south, the rest of the island is functioning normally. Certainly few locations can be more romantic than this teardrop-shaped jewel in the Indian Ocean.
The icing on the cake: Depending on which hotel and wedding package you choose, you can have a herbal massage, go away by elephant, in a boat or vintage car, and have your own personalised firework display. Essentials: You must be 21 years or over to marry and spend seven nights at the hotel, with the wedding conducted after four days.
With its film-set beauty, St Lucia not surprisingly has been dubbed the on-the- beach wedding Mecca of the Caribbean. The scenery is outstanding – with towering volcanoes and lush rainforests – and with hotels bristling with activities, there’s more than enough to occupy you on your honeymoon.
The icing on the cake: You can have a day’s catamaran cruise around the Grenadines, candlelit dinner on your wedding night and breakfast in bed the morning after, or even a steel band to play the Wedding March, depending on your choice of hotel, wedding ceremony and reception. Essentials: You must be 18 years or over to marry and spend a minimum of seven nights in your hotel – after three working days it will be possible to marry.
If you prefer to tie the knot closer to home,why not go for the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, where Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love herself, rose from the waves? You can choose between a civil service in the town hall, or an Anglican or Catholic church wedding in a five-star beach hotel – or even next to Aphrodite’s Rock.
The icing on the cake: You get a choice of reception from a blow-out dinner to a poolside buffet, taverna knees-up or balcony banquet for two. Massages are an option for both bride and groom. Essentials: You must have written parental consent if under 18 and stay a minimum of three working days.
Anything goes in Las Vegas – from a ten-minute drive-thru-wedding to get-married-in-a-limo nuptials or a get-spliced-at-sunset desert version. If you fancy following in the footsteps of the celebs, plight your troth at the Candlelight Wedding Chapel where you can have "Elvis" belt out some of your favourite tunes. There’s even a Gamblers’ Wedding with a money-back-guarantee if you split! Viva Las Vegas!
The icing on the cake: High Roller’s Champagne, a pair of dice and a ceremony viewable on a private website for your friends and family are among the options. Essentials: You must stay three nights and be 18 or over.
All the weddings featured here are legally recognised in the UK. Among the documents you’ll need to take with you are your passport, birth certificate, decree absolute (if divorced) and a signed, stamped affidavit proving that you are single. Be aware that photocopies aren’t accepted – you’ll need to take original documents, preferably signed in blue or red ink so that there’s no confusion over whether they’re originals or copies. Allow at least four to six weeks for your tour operator to make the arrangements. Wedding packages with Kuoni cost £230-£3,000 per couple depending on which romantic extras you choose. All include the service, marriage licence, certificate and fees for the Registrar and witnesses if needed, and often photographs, video, wedding cake and canapes. In addition to the cost of the wedding package, you’ll have to pay for your hotel stay, but in some cases if there are ten people or more in your party, the wedding package is free. Sri Lanka Five nights’ bed and breakfast at the Taj Exotica Hotel starts at £689 per person, with flights. St Lucia A week’s room-only stay at the Windjammer Landing Resort, with flights, starts at £1,021 per person. Las Vegas A five-night, room-only stay at the Luxor Hotel, with flights, starts at £841 per person and includes a helicopter night flight over Las Vegas. Cyprus A five-night, bed and breakfast stay in a junior suite with garden view at the five-star Columbia Beach Resort in Pissouriat starts at £1,094 per person, with flights. All the packages and prices above are from Kuoni, tel: 01306 747007; www.kuoni.co.uk. Kuoni offers more than 150 wedding locations in 30 different countries worldwide.