How much are you forking out to attend a wedding abroad?

wedding on a white sandy beach

Once upon a time, attending a wedding was a straightforward affair: a walk to the local church, followed by a knees-up at a nearby hotel.

At most, you might be talking a couple of hours in the car and a cheap hotel room for the night.

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In recent years, though, there's been a trend to have weddings abroad, maybe on a Caribbean beach or in the Italian lakes - and this can prove very expensive for wedding guests.

Now, search engine marketing company Spike Digital has totted up the costs of various wedding venues - and found that attending can cost guests thousands of pounds a head.

Most expensive is Antigua, where a seven-day stay will cost friends and relatives nearly £4,000 each.

Even in Turkey - the cheapest destination - wedding guests can expect to fork out £835 over the course of a three-night stay.

Unsurprisingly, these costs are a bit much for some. And even those that can afford such eye-watering prices can struggle to find the time from their holiday entitlement at work.

As a result, the survey found, more than a third of people say they wouldn't attend a destination wedding abroad; and one fifth say that, having done so, they wouldn't feel the need to fork out for a present on top.

For the happy couple themselves, getting hitched abroad can be the cheapest option. Figures from market research firm Mintel show that while the average wedding in the UK costs a little over £20,000, this cost plummets to £6,585 for the average wedding abroad.

However, as the Spike Digital research shows, engaged couples should think twice before booking those flights.

"Weddings are notoriously expensive for any couple," says Duncan Colman, director at Spike Digital.

"But it can also be costly for their guests too. The happy couple might have to consider this when planning their big day, as our survey shows, over a third of those invited might not be able to attend."

Even if your friends and family can be persuaded to come, you may be making yourselves unpopular: forums such as Mumsnet are routinely full of posters complaining that they feel pressured to attend.

And there are other things to consider too: your marriage may not automatically be legal in the UK, meaning you might have to deal with complex paperwork; and you may have to be resident in the country for a month or more for it to count.

Celebrity weddings abroad
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Celebrity weddings abroad

The singer and her comedian fiancé tied the knot in an exotic wedding in the Indian jungle. Katy Perry and Russell Brand had a private and spiritual ceremony attended by close friends and family at the exclusive Aman-i-Khas hotel in Rajasthan and close to the Ranthambore National Park. Guests who flew out for the wedding reportedly stayed at the Oberoi Vanyavilas resort (pictured) and the festivities included a Bollywood-style feast, snake charmers and traditional Indian dancers.

Singers Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz had a star-studded wedding on the Mediterranean island of Corsica in 2010. Their nuptials took place at a private home overlooking the sea and guests included Bono and Queen Latifa. The couple's friend Dr. Deepak Chopra performed the ceremony and Alicia wore a Grecian-style Vera Wang dress while Swizz Beatz opted for a classic Tom Ford tuxedo.

Prince of Persia actress Gemma Arterton married her Italian sales manager boyfriend Stefano Catelli in a private ceremony in Spain in 2010. The wedding took place on a hilltop in the quiet village of Zuheros in Andalucia. Gemma wore a strapless flowing wedding dress and a long veil and after the ceremony in front of close family and friends the couple drove off in an open-top vintage car.

Actors Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem got hitched in a secret ceremony in the Bahamas in 2010. The wedding took place at a friend's house with the couple exchanging vows in front of a few members of their close family. Penelope wore a gown designed by her longtime friend John Galliano. The pair met on the set of the film Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

After eight years of dating, actress Isla Fisher and comic Sacha Baron Cohen tied the knot in Paris in 2010. The couple exchanged vows at sunset in a traditional Jewish ceremony with just a handful of close relatives watching. Australian magazine Woman's Day reported that Isla sent an email to friends the next day saying: 'We did it - we're married. It was the absolute best day of my life and in so many beautiful moments I missed you all so much. I thought of you as everything was happening, but Sacha and I wanted no fuss - just us.' The couple spent the week in Paris with daughter Olive and stayed at the luxury Hotel Ritz.

After a small civil ceremony and a more formal affair in Luisana's hometown of Buenos Aires, singer Michael Buble and his Argentinian actress wife had a third set of nuptials in Vancouver at the Pan Pacific Hotel. 500 members of their family and friends attended the wedding in Michael's native Canada at the five-star hotel that overlooks the city's harbour and Luisana wore a simple, cream dress while Michael chose a navy suit. The couple had hundreds of cupcakes and a candy bar at their reception and partied into the early hours.

This Hollywood couple chose the medieval town of Bracciano, around 30 miles from Rome, for their nuptials in 2006. The wedding venue was the Orsini Odescalchi Castle, which is set close to Lake Bracciano and gave TomKat a real fairytale start to their marriage. Unfortunately it rained on the day but that didn't stop Katie from making an A-list entrance as she arrived through the castle gates in a limousine with baby Suri in tow.

Spice Girl Mel B married her film producer boyfriend Stephen Belafonte in Las Vegas in June 2007. The couple tied the knot at the Special Memory Wedding Chapel in secret before Mel B's publicist made a statement about them wanting to keep their ceremony out of the public eye and that they were planned a formal wedding for family and friends later in the year.

The romantic city of Venice was the location of actress Salma Hayek and French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault's lavish Italian wedding. The two-day celebration kicked off with a masquerade-style rehearsal dinner at the 17th century Punta Della Dogana before the couple exchanged vows in a ceremony at the 18th century La Fenice opera house. Celebrity guests included Charlize Theron, Bono, Penelope Cruz, former French president Jacque Chirac and Anna Wintour.

In 2006 singer Pink married motocross daredevil Carey Hart in a beachside wedding at the Four Seasons Resort in Costa Rica attended by 140 guests, including Lisa Marie Presley. There were three days of celebrations, a cocktail-fueled luau and a rehearsal dinner with a slide show of the pair as children. In true rock star style, they had their first dance to a Natural Born Killers song and entertainment included a punk rock and roll nightclub.


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