(Closed) American marrying a Brit – help on choosing a location!!!

posted 6 years ago in Intercultural
Post # 3
3886 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I am also an American, also marrying a Brit, and we live in the US, so we’re having it here. Most of our friends are here. His family is there but they had over a year to save up plane fare— we’re paying for his parents and his best man to fly, everyone else is on their own, and so far it looks like all invited folks from the UK are coming except for  one sister who is really bad with money.

We had the same debates— wedding here, wedding there, two weddings, elope— and we decided this just felt right.  It’s our wedding and we know we will not please everyone (already hearing the whinging from the broke FSIL) but this is where it feels best to us. If you don’t “identify” with the UK location then maybe a Justice of the Peace ceremony and two smaller receptions might be a better idea. 

As for your questions—  I don’t know a single British man who will touch a fruit cake with a ten-foot-pole, they will me more likely to eat a Victoria cake but that just means nine-foot-pole, if you must do something for a “groom’s cake” and put a British twist on it, sticky toffee pudding or something else that people actually like would go over better. The groom’s cake is very much a Southern USA thing and a very foreign concept to the Brits (no pun intended).  Horseshoes and sixpence went out of fashion somewhere around 1892, and the dad-as-best-man thing is also very foreign to the British. You will need to put down the Dickens novels and just ask your mister what he wants to do.

I can’t really help you with Winchester, but if you’d be willing to nip down to the Midlands there is a gorgeous place called Coombe Abbey; it’s (as the name suggest) a former abbey, built around 1080 ad, amazing grounds and gorgeous hotel now, and they do a TON of weddings.

You may also want to look into a destination wedding, because if half the folks are going to have to travel and will be ticked off that they’ve got an expense that the others don’t, you might as well make everyone travel, plus save yourself the hassle of planning by picking a “one stop shopping” type resort– and there are tons of these in the Caribbean (and then you get to bicker over USVI or BVI?).

Last thing— if you are planning to move to Switzerland, have a long look at the work visa situation before you go. You may be better off doing two years in the UK, where you can get a marriage visa that allows you to work; after two years you can apply for UK citizenship. You cannot become a UK citizen without living there for two years. Anyway once you’re a citizen, you can have EU and Commonwealth work status.  Switzerland, from what I hear, is very stingy with the work visas.

Post # 4
864 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@carolinalt:  Are you guys paying for everything yourselves? Financial contributions were a big factor in where we decided to get married.

Post # 5
339 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

I feel you. I’m also marrying a brit. I worry about whether or not my side of the aisle will have any of my family! I have no advice for you, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you have a lovely wedding!

Post # 6
4193 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry

What about a Destination Wedding in the Carribean- maybe Bermuda?

Although if I understand your post correctly, your family is paying for the wedding? In that case, I think you get married in the US, with a reception in the UK. It sounds like you’d be *heartbroken* not to get married in the south. 

You listed fears about getting married in the UK- do you have fears/cons about the US?  

Post # 7
189 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Oh I live in Winchester! Small world. Its a beautiful (and expensive) place but if your thinking of getting married at the cathedral as a friend of mine did I’ll give you a few warnings:

Its nearly always booked up, my friend got married in November because they couldn’t get another date and it rained (Ah UK weather) the whole day and their marquee flooded. They also demand you use a particular florist for any flowers in the cathedral, which means you may either end up paying for two florists (as my friend did) or overpaying for the one florist to do everything.


Post # 8
189 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

The guild hall sometimes has a wedding faye on, I’ll pop down there tomorrow for you and find out when the next one is so that maybe you can come to Winchester and look around a little bit more, they usually have some good venue ideas as well, but really if you want a traditional southern belle wedding you really should get married in america. You won’t be able to pull off that sort of wedding in England very easily and it will cost you a fortune.


Post # 9
23 posts
  • Wedding: October 2012

i don’t have any tips, really, but just wanted to tell you that you are not alone! i’m in a similar situation… my first thought is that we should have a civil ceremony in the country we live in and the religious ceremony in my hometown in the states. where we are, religious ceremonies are not recognized as legal marriages, so a civil ceremony would be a “real” wedding to his family here and then, from my family’s perspective, the church ceremony would be the “real” wedding there. oh, i don’t know! i just want to share the celebration of our marriage with everyone without hurting feelings and/or pocketbooks!

Post # 10
5011 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2012

@carolinalt:  No tips on location, but a good fruitcake should be rich, lush and boozy. I’d be happy to send you a sample of mine to demonstrate. :-p

We had a grooms cake and it’s becoming increasingly popular over here, but it is currently in our freezer uncut as we had SO much cake!

As for using his dad as a best man, I’ve never even heard of that!

If you’re thinking of getting married in the UK, stop watching movies and reading books and possibly check out Don’t Tell The Bride (UK) and Four Weddings (UK) as they will both give you a slightly better idea of a normal wedding. Your options are actually a lot more open in the UK as there is a bit of an “anything goes” attitude. Sure, you should still be considerate, but there aren’t as many hard and fast rules for etiquette as there seem to be in the USA.

Post # 12
1992 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@carolinalt:  awwwwe I love this happy ending!

I am a US bride with a UK groom and we are in your same boat ๐Ÿ™‚

We decided it would be easiest for the majority (my family) to have our wedding in my hometown and a smaller reception like gathering over Christmas with the UK peeps.

We didn’t plan/budget on videography but once we decided on the 2nd reception (because so many of the UK people have children & the economy is tough, we will only have about 10 UK guests -FI, his parents & sister, his two best men & their fiances and a toddler belonging to one them) we decided it was the only way we were going to bring the actual feel of the wedding to the equally-deserving UK friends & family so we adjusted and I could not be more excited!

Can you give me some tips on how you’d recommend throwing a reception in the UK, girls?  My Fiance works A TON and therefore will be no help in planning…

He lives just on the cusp of east london/essex and so we’d like something nearby…

Is it pretty easy to rent a private room in a pub or something?

Please let me know what you guys think!

Thank you!!!

Post # 13
339 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Geez, International weddings are tough!  Glad you got yours figured out!!!  I am dealing with a Us/Greece wedding planning dilemma…after a couple months of going back and forth on the issue, analyzing and re-analyzing, we finally realized the only solution was to have a civil ceremony and reception in the US for all of my family, followed by a religious ceremony and reception in Greece for all of his family.  Priest in Greece says that as long as the civil ceremony here is not recognized by any religous figure, then he can marry us over there in the Orthodox church.  whew.  Wasn’t sure that would fly!  Now my problem is how to get a wedding dress dry cleaned in 2 weeks flat without paying an arm and a leg!

Post # 14
356 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Hellooooo! I am so glad to read your post, we are a lot alike! I’m American (also from the south – Georgia!), and my fiancee is British, and we’re getting married in London. If you need any help with the UK side of things, let me know…because I’ve spent days and days of researching, and could point you to some pretty awesome places ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

Glad you figured it all out!


Post # 15
1071 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I am in the same situation, and we are just compromisIng on everything.  For example, the bottom layer of our wedding cake will be fruit cake (because its so heavy) but the other two layers will be american style cake.  Just do your best to combine traditions together

Post # 16
10367 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

A wedding in the UK doesn’t mean it can only be a British-style party. Put some American spin on it to make it yours, too!

Also, I know i’d fly out to the UK in a heartbeat for a wedding – such a great place to visit!! If you plan on living abroad, your family will need to pay to visit you over the years, anyway. What’s your wedding vs one of those trips, really?


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