A couple from the UK swapped a traditional wedding for a trip around the world including eight weddings. After their original idea fell through due to a scheduling conflict, they devised an intricate plan to wed eight times in eight different countries.
Amelia Irwin, a 32-year old event planner, was set to tie the knot with Brett, her boyfriend of nine years, in February 2015. But the couple got creative when Brett’s brother announced he was getting married in the same year. “Brett is South African and we had planned a huge wedding on safari in Africa,” Amelia shared with The Knot. “But his brother and his girlfriend suddenly decided to marry in the same year, and we could only get one month off work per year, so it was a case of miss their wedding and have ours in Africa for one month, or cancel our wedding and attend theirs.”
“We were desperately trying to find a way of having our wedding with his family [and] my family whilst still attending his brother’s wedding, and fit in our honeymoon, all in the space of our one month annual leave,” Amelia explained. “So we decided to just go to the registry office and then go on a month long honeymoon ending in South Africa for his brother’s wedding.”
It turns out the change in plan would spark a novel idea. Amelia suggested the couple be married eight times during eight weddings as they traveled around the world. They would invite friends and family to attend their wedding(s) of choice, and the perks seemed to out-weigh the drawbacks. The pair would be “getting amazing wedding photos, spending our wedding money on something just for us. It seemed perfect,” Amelia shared, “the answer to all our problems; no paying for others to eat, drink, party… just spending the wedding money on ourselves and traveling the world! Those who wanted to come could come.”
With limitless options, Amelia and Brett, 33, who share a five-year old son, Gabriel, put careful thought into which countries to visit. “I’ve always wanted to go to Moscow since I can remember, and neither of us had been to Paris,” Amelia told The Knot, “so we started in Paris and planned to go to Moscow. I was so keen on doing the Trans-Siberian railway, which includes Irkutsk, Mongolia, and ends in Beijing which is where the Great Wall of China can be accessed. Then as we were in China, we wanted to see the Terracotta Army, and we both wanted to go to India.”
“We flew over Nepal and thought we might as well stop there too,” Amelia continued. “We flew from there to Delhi and drove to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, and then flew down to Mumbai where we stayed two nights, before heading to Mauritius for our week’s honeymoon before flying in to Johannesburg for his brother’s wedding, and then home via Dubai.”
“So essentially we ‘drew’ a loop from the UK to South Africa to the UK incorporating Moscow and the Trans-Siberian,” she explained.
Amelia wasted no time planning eight unique weddings. She donned seven different dresses – only choosing to wear her favorite gown for a second time. “The Justin Alexander dress is my favourite,” she told us. “It suits a beach hot wedding as it’s very light and figure hugging. The lace train is not too long and will easily hook up for the dancing.”
Other dress designers included Alfred Angelo and Ian Stuart, but the bride found ways to cut costs. Some of her jewelry was a gift from her mother, and other pieces belonged to her grandmother. She chose not to wear a veil, and ordered some of her accessories from Ebay. She created her hair and makeup looks all on her own with the help of Bobbi Brown cosmetics.
Brett donned a suit from Asos, which he paired with various shirts and ties to match Amelia’s attire. While they were stunning at all eight weddings, the couple looked particularly elegant during their time in India.
And don’t let their weddings around the world fool you; this couple is down to earth. They even hitched a ride to the Taj Mahal via bicycle before sunrise. “A bicycle tuctuc pulled up and the photographer gestured for me to get in with Brett and Gabriel,” Amelia told The Knot, “and he jumped on the back of a passing motorbike. We cycled down the road to the east gate entrance – just us- before the dawn; it was very strange and made me feel a bit nervous, with the odd scattering of Indian locals staring at the strange sight of a bride and groom.”
Family is important to Amelia and Brett, who were joined by their parents during their worldwide wedding adventure. We asked Amelia how the families responded to their nontraditional plans. “They were both really supportive, although my parents did think we were a bit mad- especially as I lugged eight wedding dresses around the world,” she explained. “Brett’s mum joined us in china, Mauritius, and South Africa, which was so lovely. My parents joined us in England and France.”
While the couple were able to capture their wedding memories on camera, finding photographers abroad proved to be “tricky,” Amelia admitted to The Knot. “Google only helps so much, but I found that in places where I couldn’t find a photographer via internet searches, for [example] China (they don’t allow Google/Facebook due to the communist regime), the hotels were able to step in and assist. The hotels in Mauritius, China, Russia. and South Africa were responsible for finding the photographers for me. The rest I found on Google.”
As Amelia and Brett, who “live to travel,” save to visit the northernmost seven countries of South America and beyond, the new bride has some tips for couples planning to tie the knot abroad. “Find a great hotel or venue, then ask them to assist in finding the rest, but probably cheaper to contact them yourself and negotiate a price which you’re happy with,” she shared. “At least they will generally only recommend someone who is trustworthy and reliable as it’s their reputation on the line too if something goes wrong.”
“At Monate game lodge in South Africa, the wedding coordinator there did everything for me,” she explained, “from florists, make-up artist, to photographer and food and everything in-between – even the place settings. She was amazing, so if you get lucky with someone like that, then let them take the hassle and stress out of everything for you!”
So, do Amelia and Brett ever plan to have a traditional ceremony following their worldwide eight weddings adventure? “No, we will never have a traditional wedding,” Amelia shared with The Knot. “We live to travel, and I would far rather spend the money on traveling than on a party for a day!”