Launched in July 2019 and the first to market in the UK, Luvana.co.uk is a free-to-use online portal dedicated exclusively to couples planning an overseas wedding in Europe.
Bringing together a carefully curated directory of more than 2,000 respected brands at launch, alongside an array of functional tools and useful checklists, Luvana is destined to become the essential planning resource for couples marrying abroad.
Luvana is the brainchild of Lisa Burton, founder of The Bridal Consultant, one of the UK’s original and most respected destination wedding planners. With over 15 years’ experience and more 1,400 weddings under her belt, Lisa’s mission with Luvana is to offer couples marrying overseas the same standards of choice, style, and personalisation as a home-based wedding.
We talk to her about planning a dream destination wedding.
Are there any trends you’ve noticed in destination weddings in recent years?
I really think that the internet and social media have given couples greater confidence when it comes to choosing and booking suppliers abroad. Equally, forums and Facebook groups have allowed couples to support each other on their journeys which can be daunting in another country.
I’ve definitely noticed a rise in the DIY bride. For example, there has been a notable increase in those who are designing and bringing with them their own decorations. Partly, this is driven by cost but also, some decorative terms just aren’t available abroad and couples do still want to have a day that is unique to them. By crafting something themselves it makes the day all the more personal.
We’ve also seen party sizes increase over the last few years, along with budgets! The wedding overseas is no longer about saving money. Couples absolutely want the same experience that an at-home wedding brings just with better weather, a more unique, previously unvisited venue and the ability to combine the wedding day with the honeymoon amongst family and friends. Of course, in most European locations, budgets certainly go further than they would in the UK (even with a weaker pound), but it’s no longer the driving factor when opting for an overseas celebration.
What are the pitfalls that couples need to worry about – guest lists, logistics, getting
everything they need to be transported, for example, and how do you help with this?
There’s no shying away from the fact that there are different concerns and pitfalls when it comes to a destination wedding.
Guests committing to attending is always a difficult one – a destination wedding inevitably costs guests more but they also need to take time off work out of their annual allowance.
It’s your day but you do need to consider your guests – choosing an expensive destination or a more remote location will impact their own experiences and it’s important to remember that, for most, it’s a holiday experience too.
Think about transport to and from the venue. Remember guests won’t be familiar with the location so do make it as easy for them as possible and factor this into your budget.
Be completely on top of the legalities. It can be costly and complicated especially if the couples’ circumstances aren’t straightforward so do seek advice if you need to. It’s worth it!
Plan for language barriers – basic language skills are not going to get you through the enormity of this process so think about a translator who can help book suppliers or negotiate on your behalf.
As expert destination wedding planners, we can tick all those boxes for you and guide each couple to what they need for their own day.
Can couples have a more luxurious celebration if they choose to marry overseas? Are there any areas where savings can be made?
Absolutely! A 10k wedding in the UK may get you a nice day but abroad this budget in a location like Zakynthos or Rhodes in Greece could give you all the bells and whistles. Savings can be made with guest numbers alone. A larger wedding abroad is considered 50 people or more, whereas a wedding at home would be considered small with this number of guests, so your budget automatically goes further.
A typical wedding abroad takes place later in the day once the heat has died down so usually around 4pm. This means you only usually have one meal rather than the sit-down formal and late-night buffet, again creating a saving for you.
Use local entertainment and suppliers where you can, this will save thousands of flying in suppliers from other countries. Don’t think of it as compromising on quality but rather, as adding a traditional flavour.
There’s something lovely about a Lauto player in Greece rather than a string quartet, it just fits the setting.
Use local flowers and save on the import costs or, use paper flowers, a growing trend in the Mediterranean where you can have a super glamorous, luxury look for a few thousand euros.
What are your three main pieces of advice for couples wanting to host a luxury destination wedding?
1. Visit the venue beforehand – an absolute must for a luxury wedding abroad. You need to taste the food, drink the wine and absorb the atmosphere to ensure it’s what you envision.
Also, be sure that the destination is able to supply the luxury services you desire. Don’t expect an Avant-Garde style wedding cake on a remote Greek island but know that somewhere like Paris or New York can deliver on that for you.
2. Think about ways you can spoil your guests outside of the wedding day. Consider hosting a pre-wedding dinner to give everyone a flavour of what is to come, or perhaps a sumptuous post-wedding breakfast.
3. Welcome bags are a must-have. What better way to treat your guests whilst giving them information about the day. Include a bottle of local wine or delicacy alongside an itinerary and details of pre-wedding get-togethers.
Visit www.luvana.co.uk to find out more