How to plan your dream wedding from abroad: Part 1

by Sigourney Young | Photos by Cam Grove

In early 2017 we were in the midst of preparing for our big move from Australia to the UK. My now husband was set to start his postgraduate studies in York and we’d decided to leave everything we knew behind so that he could pursue his dream. We’d talked about getting engaged and in my head, it just made sense to do it before we left. Eventually, we had to have a proper talk about our timing expectations and I’m pleased to say he didn’t take too long to get with the program and actually pop the question. Yes, for anyone wondering, I promise it’s still special if you talk about it beforehand!

One of the great benefits of getting engaged before we moved is that we could quickly lock in some of the things we felt needed to be done in person. We visited Gardens House in Melbourne and after an impressive menu tasting booked in a date a whole 18 months in advance. We met a few different photographers and went with Cam Grove – his dry sense of humour put us quickly at ease and was a breath of fresh air in the business of the actual wedding day (plus the photos are a hit!). The last thing I did before we left was to find the dress! I went with my mum and mother-in-law, and 4 dresses in we’d found the one. It wasn’t finished until the week after we moved so we just had to hope that the designers really could work their magic if any alterations were needed when we arrived back in the country.

And then we were on a plane! We wouldn’t see the venue, the dress or anything else again until less than two weeks before the wedding.

So what was it like planning a wedding from overseas? Well, it definitely required some extra thought. And honestly, some moments were hard. But ultimately, by sticking to these 5 ideas, we were able to plan the day of our dreams.

Pick just a few ‘must-haves’
Book the right venue
Trust the experts
Be attentive to what your provider needs from you
Bring your loved-ones together

1. Pick just a few ‘must-haves’

When planning from abroad we knew that we wouldn’t be able to have our finger in every pot. It was important to us to really think about the wedding as a whole and what out ‘must-haves’ were. Decor-wise, I really wanted bunting and an arch, and fairy lights on the balcony would be a ‘nice-to-have’. Kurt really wanted garden formal for him and the guys’ suits. Beyond that, we decided to focus on simplicity and elegance. If the plan was so elaborate there was a chance it would all fall apart on the day without very specific instructions or attentiveness, we scrapped it. We asked ourselves, does this add joy? And if it was anything less than an enthusiastic yes, then it was crossed of on the ideas list.

By restricting ourselves to just a few must-haves we not only simplified the planning process but found more joy in the process of seeing our vision come to life.

2. Book the right venue

Gardens House was the perfect venue because their brilliant team took care of everything. Not only did they have an in-house caterer including a bakery, but they also coordinated with all of our vendors regarding set-up, pack-up and timings, and took care of setting up the dining hall, ceremony and any other extra decorations we gave them. They recommended their regular suppliers for speakers and flowers (both excellent), and they made it easy for us to communicate what we wanted from the night. We collaborated on completing the event run sheet and details and then they made sure it ran like clockwork. They had their eye on everything so we didn’t have to. And don’t think that you have to pay a fortune to get that kind of service, Gardens House was on the lower end of the venues we explored. It’s just about finding the right place!

I can’t say how relieved we were to be able to come back to the country and know that we didn’t need to be running around working out how to find time to set up the venue or make sure the vendors had what they needed. The right venue is a life saver!

Continue to Part 2: Trust the experts

Sigourney Young xo

January 14, 2019


I’m Sigourney

I’m a synesthesia artist that will be forever found with paint on my nose, dancing around the studio in my yoga pants. I love travel, gluten-free brownies and working from the home studio I share with my husband. My goal? To bring you into the world of synesthesia and to create a space online that celebrates the colour and meaning of music.

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