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Weddings: Meeting in the Middle

Words by Alastair Smith
Photos courtesy of Milan Teh Studios

Compromise plays a big part in any successful relationship.

From him being willing to relax his firm ‘toilet seat up’ policy to you allowing him to use the spare bedroom for his mancave, there are times when both guys and girls need to step back to ensure that domestic bliss remains, well, blissful.

When it comes to planning a wedding, being willing to compromise becomes even more important. Weddings are stressful enough, so occasionally it pays to give some ground and pick your battles. (Unless he wants Sir Mix-a-lot for your first dance…definitely don’t compromise on that one.)

With relationships where the couple grew up in different countries, getting married comes with a whole heap of other complications. But there is one compromise that can give the best possible result of all – a mid-way destination wedding.

Find More Than Yourself

As an increasing number of people study abroad, take ‘gap years’ and travel to expand their horizons, it seems they often find more than just themselves: often they find the person they want to spend the rest of their life with too.

That’s the situation I was lucky to find myself in. I met Faith, my now-wife, in Canada, but that was neither of our homes. Faith hails from sunny Brisbane, Australia, while I grew up in the decidedly-less-balmy UK.

United by our love of skiing, we had both traveled to Whistler in British Columbia, where our eyes met across a used ski boot in the store we both worked at.  After a winter of ski dates and après, the rest was history.

Falling in love with someone from another country is exciting. You suddenly find yourself infinitely more exotic and interesting than you would be at home. Learning about another country, another culture and telling each other you talk funny is all a part of the fun.

Global Complications

But when it comes to setting a location for a wedding, having a partner from another country comes with its own set of headaches. With the two sets of friends and family so far away, choosing one country over the other for the nuptials can mean that one half of the couple will need to make a huge compromise.

When Faith and I first got engaged, we looked at having our wedding in Sydney, where we currently live. Sydney is a fantastic city to get married in; with dramatic cliff-tops, idyllic hidden bays and incredible venues with the Opera House as a backdrop, it truly is the stuff that dream weddings are made of.

But Sydney is a long way from where I grew up. 10,571 miles, to be exact.

Divide and Conquer?

The distance meant that not many of my friends or family would be able to join us for our big day. Although my immediate family would fly over to join us, I knew that it was just too far to expect many people to travel.

As a compromise, we planned to have one ceremony in Sydney and then another in the UK. We researched this – looking at venues, working out costs and seeing how we could make it work.

But it felt wrong. It felt odd. Would Faith wear a wedding dress at both? Where would the legal ceremony be? Should my parents still come out to Aus, or just join us at the second ceremony?

Most of all, it felt like a real shame that we wouldn’t have both of our families in the same place at the same time. We’d be missing out on probably the only opportunity in our lives when we would have everyone that we loved in the same room celebrating with us.

So we looked further afield. We brainstormed. We were looking for somewhere halfway between Australia and the UK. And we found the perfect spot in Malaysia.

A Dream Destination

With unspoiled white beaches, great service and some of the tastiest food in the world, Malaysia has everything that makes it ideal for a destination wedding. Plus, it was an equal distance from both Australia and the UK - perfect for us.

And it’s well set up for it too, with a range of beautiful resorts that will help you plan your perfect day. We held our wedding at the Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa on Langkawi – a hotel built in the traditional Malay style, but with ultra-modern facilities.

Although there were still some people who couldn’t make it to Malaysia, choosing a venue mid-way between the two countries meant that we were joined by over 100 of our friends and family – far more than would have been able to celebrate with us if we had chosen either Australia or the UK.

A Day Without Compromises

What could have been seen as a compromise – having a wedding in neither of our home countries – actually turned out to be the very best result of all.

Our wedding was everything we hoped it would be - a real mixing pot of our families and cultures. From bagpipe music to celebrate my Scottish roots, to a mini Chinese tea ceremony as a nod to Faith’s heritage, it was an eclectic but incredible day.

Seeing Faith’s aunt in her traditional Cheongsam dress try her hand at the Highland fling or my kilt-wearing cousin wince as he had his first taste of rice wine, it was evident that meeting in the middle had resulted in an unforgettable day for all involved.

So, if your partner is from another country and you’re not sure where to get married, then consider that meeting halfway wouldn’t be a compromise, but could be the recipe for a unique and incredible day.

About the Author: Alastair Smith is a Sydney-based Brit who's cracked the code to buying an engagement ring. His eBook How to Buy an Engagement Ring is helping guys all around the world get the ring his girl dreams of for a price he loves.

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