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Interview: Leanne from Marry Abroad Simply

We asked wedding planner Leanne why she set up Marry Abroad Simply to help couples with the paperwork in Denmark and Gibraltar.

How did you decide to become a wedding planner? / What inspired you to start your business?
It was a strange back route in, and to be honest not a career I had ever considered! My background is actually specialising in EU Government paperwork, process flow and optimising within Government offices.

And through a natural career progression, (and with myself getting married abroad and finding the paperwork part the MOST stressful!) I found that this is a really relevant and helpful skill in Denmark and Gibraltar to organise a wedding. As before any of the “fluffy fun stuff” can be sorted you have to go through the joy vacuum that is the foreign office administration. But really if you do not have that part nailed efficiently and correctly there is no wedding.

So finding a company that can just do that part without the whole other package was a niche as we didn’t want anything other than a wedding with a party back at home (if we wanted) and minimal guests, so I guess you could call it an elopement. And it was hard to find a company for JUST the documents part that was as passionate about my (non) wedding as I was and empathised with the stress, and still made me feel special like a bride.

What's the best part about being a wedding planner?
I am surrounded all day everyday by people in love, that are starting that first step into a new life together, that are all excited and full of anticipation. And to hear the amazing stories of how the couples got together through usually serendipitous circumstances, and overcome some objects such as race, sex, religion, geography it is completely humbling.

It never gets less humbling and more of a privilege that people from all over the world feel a connection with us and entrust us with the rare memory jewel that is their wedding day.

Getting photos of couples on the wedding day, and a thank for taking the stress away so they can just enjoy what is important – each other, makes my day!

Which areas of Denmark do you enjoy organising weddings in, and why?
I really enjoy organising weddings in Copenhagen City and also the Danish Islands.

We have been doing it for so long, and have such wonderful relationships with the Town Halls, registrars and also the Government office, it is an excuse for us all to talk and catch up and discuss and find ways how we can make whatever the couple wants that is not usually available possible – for example extra marriage certificates, super fast weddings, simultaneous document presentation and wedding, allowing family pets to be with them at the wedding and organising water and food bowls to be at the wedding.

It’s a huge sense of pride and achievement to know that I have been able to just give something a little extra to someone on their wedding day.

What's the most unusual wedding you've organised?
One couple once wanted a cycling themed wedding as they met cycling at a club as a joint passion.

So it was organised for the cases to be taken by courier by the hotel days in advance, and the couple cycled from Germany to the Danish Islands on matching white bikes and cycled into the Town Hall, and had matching white lycra cycle suits made and a bike helmet with a veil for the bride (they had to take them off during the wedding!). It was so lovely, and the couple documented the 5 day trip to make a truly memorable and 1 off wedding!!

What's the most popular type of wedding you organise?
Elopements. Couples who literally just want to turn up, marry and leave, either it all happening the same day or they arrive the day before. So many people live all over the world now, and it is hard to marry in the country of residence if you are not a citizen there, or it is impossible if you are same sex to marry some places. Or just a big wedding is really not the couples cup of tea for a variety of reasons but they still want something a bit different.

With big weddings sometimes in the region of €20,000 it can be a huge cost for some couples. But we organise the witnesses and the €745 they pay for the Danish service covers absolutely everything and there is nothing further to pay, so the low cost, convenience, ease and lack of stress is really appealing. And then they just have a big party back at home to celebrate the wedding with all family and friends.

What advice would you give couples wanting to get married in Denmark or Gibraltar?
Get a wedding planner to do the documents. And I am not just saying that because it is what I do! We make it look easy, not because it is easy, but because we are experienced and really good at what we do and have years of knowledge of doing this.

Any Government office administration is stressful, and throw in the mix its in a foreign country where you are unlikely to be able to get through to anyone on phone or email, and its for the most important day of your life and it really does equal aneurysm levels of stress.

This is why we offer the SOS service, as many people have tried to go it alone and it’s been a nightmare for them. No-one wants that as a residual memory for a wedding day!

Having your marriage license in place and the date and documents all confirmed is the lynch pin of all weddings and marriages, and without that part done correctly it can cause huge issues.

Leanne runs Marry Abroad Simply.

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