Tag Archives for " destination wedding "

she met the man of her dreams on a boat on vacation

What Happens When Two People Hook Up On Vacation, Get Married And Have Babies? (series #11)

she met the man of her dreams on a boat on vacation

Believe it or not!

People hook up on vacation and fall in love all the time.

Unfortunately, relationships started on the road, usually don’t last very long.

They either end soon after the trip ends or they fizzle out over time when the starry eyed lovers try to maintain a long distance relationship from opposite sides of the planet.

Don’t let that sad fact stop you from finding love on the road because once in a blue moon, one of those romances started while travelling have a happy ending.

She Met Him On A Boat On The Nile

Meet Alyson, a nice girl from Wales who over a decade ago booked a adventure holiday which entailed a 5 day sailing trip on the Nile of Egypt aboard a felucca boat.

The actual boat they met on

A felucca (Arabic: فلوكة‎) is a traditional wooden sailing boat used in protected waters of the Red Sea and eastern Mediterranean Sea in places like Sudan, Iraq, Malta and along the Nile in Egypt. These types of boats are popular among tourists because they offer a calmer, quieter mood over the noisier fast paced motorboats. 

Around the same time, 14 other people booked that very same adventure holiday, including a 21 year old Australian guy named James who was living in London to further his chef career.

Guess what happened?

She married Him!

Today Alyson and James are married and have two adorable sons who apparently like to eat oysters because James is an executive chef and that’s what chef kids eat.. OYSTERS.

But what happens when two travel addicts meet and fall in love? Do they stop travelling? Do they continue travelling?  Do they retire to suburbia?

Before I tell you what these two world travellers have planned, I thought it would be fun to share the story of where Alyson and James married.

Interview With Alyson

Tell me a little about where you are from!

She was from Wales, He was living in London. over 400 KM away

Over 400 KM distance between their two homes

I am a Welsh girl from the valleys and James is an Aussie.  We met in Egypt, moved to England and ended up emigrating to Port Douglas, Australia in 2007.

We have two children, born in London.

Everybody in our family has British and Australian passports, except me.

I’m all British, although, I could now get an Aussie one if I wanted to. Passports are really expensive to renew when there are 7 of them in the family!

Why did you choose to get married in Sri Lanka?

James carrying Alyson's bags up the stairs during that trip to Egypt

James carrying Alyson’s bags up the stairs during that trip to Egypt

Getting married in Sri Lanka, on the beach at a hotel near Galle was an excuse for another trip!

Because we met through travel, it was massively important to us and we particularly love the Indian Sub Continent.

I’d been to Sri Lanka before and loved it. The Chef (James) had never been, so it seemed perfect.

We weren’t interested in having a big wedding, although my Mum, Dad and God mother did come in the end, I’m glad they did.

They had a brilliant time plus of course, we could slide in a week of diving in Maldives as a honeymoon!

Did you do need special visas or have to do anything special to marry in Sri Lanka?

Alyson and james on an elephant at their wedding in Sri Lanka

Alyson’s white outfit was filthy black by the end of the day.

No, nothing, it was all very easy.

We actually cheated a bit and booked a wedding package through a luxury travel company where everything was taken care of for us.

We just had to sign the certificate.

It was our first time taking a fancy holiday like that, we’re very much budget travellers.

How did you handle the language barrier?

English is widely used in Sri Lanka but we do have two wedding certificates.

One in Sinhala and the other is in English.

What was the best part about getting married in Sri Lanka?

Alyson and james on an elephant at their wedding in Sri Lanka

We had an elephant!

I can’t see that happening in South Wales.

We rode off into the sunset on her, such a gorgeous creature. I really love elephants.

The ceremony itself was Buddhist based and we had our fingers tied together, lit oil lamps and did a thing with leaves for good luck.

What didn’t like about getting married abroad in Sri Lanka:

Alyson and james riding into the sunset on an elephant at their wedding in Sri Lanka

Riding off into the sunset on an elephant.

I actually wish we’d organized it ourselves, rather than through the hotel.

Some of the things included were rather cheesy, like the free hair do ( terrible) and the photographer/videographer ( even more terrible).

I was also a little annoyed that the hotel charged us $200 for having the elephant there.  I bet the guy who brought the elephant didn’t see much of that money.

But the whole thing was great, kind of crazy great. We laugh now at the terrible photos and how absolutely filthy my white outfit was after bare back elephanteering.

One of the things we love about India and Sri Lanka is the general crazyness.

I’ve got a great piece of video that my Dad took of James toppling off one side of our elephant as she stood up. A Sri Lankan guy tugging on his leg to keep him on.

I’ll put it on you tube one day!

What’s Next For Alyson, James and Family?

“What happens when two travellers meet on vacation, fall in love, get married and have kids?”

As of this writing, Alyson and family are getting ready to take an extended – open ended trip with THE KIDS starting in Asia.

Here is what Alyson had to say.

 “Having children slowed us down for a while, but now the boys are 6 and 8. We think they are ready to leave on this adventure, round the world, indefinitely, and get a lot out of it, including an incredible education.

Travelling with children will add a whole new dimension to the trip for us, seeing things through their eyes is magical.”

And NO!  They don’t have loads of money, they are doing it on the cheap: budget travel.

How Are They Paying For Their Long Term Trip With The Kids?

Alyson and James have been working hard to meet their savings goals that will allow them to take their extended family trip.

They have about another 6 months to meet that goal. (at the time of this writing in 2013)

How have you prepared your sons for travel?

Alyson and the kids

From the day the boys were born, they’ve been hearing stories of our travels, playing with objects from all corners of the globe and seeing photos and films of amazing things.

“We’re going to the Himalayas” seems normal to them.

We home-school so we’re big on geography and world history.

I think kids need to know something about where they’re going before they get there to get the most out of it so I introduce topics before we get there.

It sounds silly but I made them watch The King and I before we went to Thailand just so they would be as blown away as I was to see real palaces and images of the king in the musical.

I did try training them for trekking but I ended up carrying D up a mountain. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

When your sons are old enough, do you want them to travel as you have been able to do?

Well, yes, I’d like them to, but I think there is a danger in exposing them to the world so young, they may be “over it” by the time they are able to carry a 70L pack. They may think of it as “Mum and Dad’s thing” i.e.. uncool.

It’s something that actually worries me.

I don’t want to spoil it for them but at this stage, the educational and fun benefits far outweigh any future issues.

I’m hoping they’ll be conquering the world through travel blogging while other kids are still in school.

Off The Cuff Question

Do your two sons have British or Aussie accents or something in between?

James with his two sons

They both sound exactly like me, British.

I’ve seen that in a lot of displaced families here. (Australia).

The children have the Mum’s accent because they spend the most time with her.

D went to school for 2 years and started to pick up a slight Aussie twang, but he’s now been home-schooled for 2 years and lost it again.

We are a very mixed community. Hhis best friends have been from New Zealand, Texas and Swiss/British. Thy actually don’t encounter Australian accents that often.


If you love to travel and are worried that travel will end once you have kids don’t because as Alyson stated, yes it may slow you down but it can be done with careful planning. What better way to to share and teach your children about the world beyond the comfort of their backyard.


You can read more about Alyson’s wedding by reading this Finding Love Through Travel.  You can follow along on their journey before they leave and while they are on their trip by visiting their travel blog at www.worldtravelfamily.com.

Alyson and James are the 11th family to be featured in an ongoing series showcasing ordinary people;  families and couples who are travelling full time or for extended periods of time.

I Hope It Inspires You To Take Actions on all your dreams, not just your travel dreams.

Want to get featured on this site like this family? Please fill out this form and I’ll post the story here..Know someone who should be featured?  Send me an email annie[@]annieandre.com.


get married in australia a guide for foreigners

How To Elope Or Get Married In Australia: A Destination Wedding Guide For Foreigners

Today I want to highlight yet another reason for you to take time off from your busy life to travel. Not that you need one! That reasons is called  LOVE………..In this post, you will get a high level view of everything you need to know to tie the knot in Australia, from the why to the how.

*NOTE: This is a guide for NON Australians marrying non – Australians. Please contact the nearest Australian Embassy or consulate to confirm the details as these may be incomplete and rules are subject to change.

Why get married in another country like Australia?

Whether you want to elope or you want an intimate wedding with family or you just want to renew your wedding vows, Australia is a great place to have your destination wedding; especially if you love to travel and you’re feeling a little adventurous.

Here are just a few other reasons to choose Australia. 

  • Charm and Beauty: Australia is a beautiful country with lovely people who love beer (pronounced Beeya) and say charming things like.. “That was heaps and heaps of fun”.
  • Easy: It’s fairly simple to get married in Australia compared to other countries like France which require you to be in the country for 45 days before you can marry.
  • Start Your Honeymoon Sooner: Having a destination wedding surrounded by beautiful coastlines and cosmopolitan cities means you can start your Honeymoon ASAP.
  • Heaps of options when it comes to hotel accommodations and lodging.
  • You Speak The Language: Australians speak English and if you are reading this than so do you. Imagine how hard it would be to arrange a wedding in Poland if you did not speak Polish.
  • It’s romantic!
  • It’s unique, it’s different like you!
  • You’ll spend less on the wedding and have more to spend on yourselves so you can take a longer honeymoon.
  • When you tell people you got married in Australia people will envy you and think you are cool!

Not convinced a destination wedding is right for you?  Read my personal story of “why my husband Blake and I decided to elope to mystical Scotland”. 

What Are The Requirements To Marry In Australia?

Below are some answers to the most commonly asked questions regarding getting married in Australia and the documents you will need to make it happen.

The info is a good start to get you going or to curb your curiosity on just what it takes to get married abroad. However; like anything, rules and regulations are subject to change and  this list may not be complete You will need to do your own research and due diligence and contact the nearest Australian embassy or consulate.

Residency: Do I Need To Be An Australian Citizen?

No. Anyone may marry in Australia provided you meet the following criteria.

  1. You are free to marry, ( you are not already married to someone else.). Bigamy is illegal.
  2. You are over the age of 18.

Do I Need a Visa To Go To Australia?

Yes, you will need a visa, called an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) to travel to Australia for a stay of up to 90 days unless you are from New Zealand.

You may be able to get a visa online. Contact the nearest Australian consulate or embassy.

What is a Celebrant and Why should I care?

All marriages in Australia are conducted by a celebrant. The celebrant will usually help you fill out the legal forms and explain all the details of the ceremony.  You can find a celebrant online by simply typing “celebrant” in a search engine. Here is a celebrant I found rather quickly using Google.

You can have a civil or a religious ceremony.

General Questions

Can I marry anywhere in Australia?

Yes, you can  marry almost anywhere. On a yacht, in a park, at the beach and in a church. I bet you could even get married under water if you wanted.

Just make sure you get an authorized celebrant.

Will the marriage be recognized in my own country?

It depends. Many countries recognize marriages performed legally in Australia.  If in doubt about the legality of your Australian marriage in your home country,  contact your own government authorities which records marriages in your country.

Americans and Canadians, rest assured, an Australian marriage is valid in your home country and you don’t even need to register your marriage in your home country.

We’re already married, Can we renew our wedding vows?

Yes, you can hold a renewal of vows ceremony or a commitment ceremony.

We are a same sex couple, can we get married in Australia?

Unfortunately currently same sex marriages are not recognized in Australia. You can have a commitment ceremony performed in lieu of a marriage ceremony.

How many witnesses do we need?

You need two witnesses present at your Marriage Ceremony who are over the age of 18. Any person can act as a witness, even your parents or siblings. The wedding celebrant or religious minister cannot act as a witness.

What about vows?

During the ceremony the bride and groom must say: “I (groom) take you (bride), to be my wife” and “I (bride), take you (groom), to be my husband”. The remainder of the wordings can be created by the bride and groom. You write a poem, sing a song or say nothing more.

View all the rules and laws about getting married in Australia

What Documents Will I need to marry in Australia?

Getting your documents in order is pretty straight forward

First: You must lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage (NIM) which you may be able to complete over the internet. The form must be completed 1 month and 1 day before your wedding day but no more than 18 calendar months before you marry. Contact a celebrant in Australia and they should be able to help you.

Next: You will need original (not photocopies) of the following

  • birth certificates,
  • passports,
  • divorce papers (if you were married before) or death certificate if you’re spouse is deceased.

I would make photocopies of all documents as well for good measure..

*Note* All documents and paperwork must be submitted in English by recognized/registered translator.


If you are looking to do something a little adventurous, you like warmer weather and you are not opposed enjoying the coast line for your honeymoon, Australia would make the perfect destination spot to get married, elope or renew your vows.

elope scotland annie blake

Why In The World Would You Want To Elope To Scotland? Our Destination Wedding Story

Why did we elope to Scotland and how you can too.

 ME: “Blake, can I ask you something?”

Blake: “Sure, wha?”

Me: “Let’s elope to Europe!”……

Blake: (short pause) “Ummm????, Sure let’s do it”

Overflowing with excitement, I felt like I was floating as I literally ran to my computer and immediately started researching places to elope to in Europe.

6 months later, we were exchanging our vows in Scotland and spend almost a month in Paris France. 

Why Did We Elope To Scotland?

I hope this little peek into our lives helps you in your decision to elope or not to elope.  In the least, I hope it entertains you or answers the question:

“WHY would anyone want to elope?” 

If you are interested in learning exactly what you need to do to get married then read this article where I explain all the documents and procedures.

I was a single mom raising two young boys with no support.

I was a single mom raising two boys alone

Who Would Marry Me?

The  thought of finding love or getting married AGAIN just wasn’t on my radar…..

I was a Divorced Single Mom raising my two sons alone with no support from my ex.

Not exactly every guys dream wife right?

New Job At Internet Start

I felt up beat and things were looking up for me now.

Then, in 2004, I was recruited to work for one of those cool hip and fun places you read about in silicon valley California. 

There was an indoor slide, a pool table, free lunch, soda and even beers for the staff. Everyone got along and some even hung out together after work.

Blake and i at a company function

Blake and I at a company function at Nola’s in Palo Alto California

Enter Blake, A Handsome, Smart Engineer Type

Even his name was interesting.

Blake was not only smart and handsome, he had a southern charm about him and…..

he asked me out to a live jazz concert happening on the Stanford University campus. 

I wasn’t sure if it was a date or not because that annoying voice in the back of my head kept telling me it wasn’t.

I told the voice to shut up and it did. 

Working together is perfect for single parents

I know, I know….. Dating co-workers is frowned upon but THAT RULE was made for other people who are what I call “work sluts”.

Besides, I didn’t care that he worked at the same company.

Single mom and dads, you may be able to relate to what I am about to say.

When you are a single parent, you don’t have the luxury of time any more. Between work, the kids, the commute, after school homework, cooking and cleaning, you just don’t have any spare time to breath let alone meet new people or date.

So if someone from work comes along and he’s great, I’m not going to say NO because of some unwritten rule.

stand up paddle boarding with all my boys

We had a great life full of activities. .

Blake and The Future

We started dating and I learned that Blake was divorced too. Not that it made any difference but it made me feel a little at ease knowing that I wasn’t the only one with some emotional baggage, if you know what I mean.

We got serious very fast and I introduced Blake to my boys and before I knew it we were living together as one big happy family.

Marriage Just wasn’t that important to us.

Aside from our long work hours and commute, we had a pretty great life. We both loved our jobs and did interesting work.

We went surfing, stand up paddle boarding, we skied in Tahoe and hung out.

The kids at the registrars office in Scotland

At registrars office in Scotland

We didn’t need a piece of paper to tell us that we were committed to one another and loved one another.

Even when I was pregnant with our daughter Catherine in 2007, we never thought about getting married.

Things Changed When Our Daughter Was Born.

The decision to get married happened soon after our daughter was born.

As it turns out, it’s just simpler when you have a piece of paper that says you are married. It’s easier when you fill out health insurance forms, life insurance forms and in the event something happens to one of us, the other one won’t be left in the dust.

Besides, It simply felt right and in the end we all have to do what is right for ourselves.

Destination Wedding: Is Eloping To ScotlandRight For You?

picture of us in Scotland at the registrars office after the quick ceremony

What does all this have to do with whether a destination wedding or elopement is right for you?

Simple, when you make a decision to have a destination wedding or to elope, you have a lot of things to consider.

You need to consider your financial situation, your personal tastes, your friends, your family and you also need to consider your own story and personal circumstances.

Pros For Eloping Abroad to Scotland.

Below are a few reasons why we chose to elope. Maybe some of them will resonate with you.

Not all will apply to you but sharing them with you will show you the thought process we went through to come to our decision.

1- We didn’t want another big wedding: Both Blake and I had had already been married and we both had fairly biggish first weddings complete with open bars, violinists and ice sculptures. Although it was nice, I always regretted having a big first wedding. Not because it was bad but because of how expensive it was. Money we could have spent elsewhere rather than on an expensive band and 20 dollar plates for 150 people.

2- We both had no family in the area: Having no family took the pressure off having to please other people.

3- Saves Money: You don’t have to pay for food, a huge cake, a band, renting the hall, table decorations etc.

4- We wanted to have a long honeymoon: The money we saved from NOT having a big wedding was used to pay for a month long trip with the kids in Scotland and France. And it still cost less than our first weddings.

5- We both loved adventure, travelling and seeing new places: Self explanatory as to why we wanted to get married in another country.

6-Save Time & Frustration: Planning a big wedding or for that matter, a small wedding can be time consuming and stressful. Most of the work is expended on making the event good for other people not on you. All we had to worry about were getting the documents and booking flights and a place to stay.

7- It’s Romantic: Do I need to explain to you that exchanging your wedding vows in a far away place filled with castles and history, the Loch-Ness monster and Scotland yard is just so cool and romantic.

8- It’s intimate and Simple: When you elope, the focus is on you and your choices and in our case about our family.  We didn’t have to go around greeting guests or being stressed out. We just showed up at the court house.

9- Be Selfish: You get to do everything your way and don’t have to worry about pleasing people, in-laws etc.

10- Explore Your Heritage: Although, I have not one ounce of Scottish blood in me, Blake’s heritage, the “Elders” g back to Scotland.

In Paris with the family: Eloping to Scotland

Other Reasons To Choose Scotland as Your Destination Wedding Location.

  • EASY: It’s fairly easy to get married. You only have to provide the proper paper work. It’s much harder to get married in some other countries. For instance, to get married in France, you have to be in the country for something like 45 days before getting married.
  • You Speak The Language: English is spoken in Scotland which means you won’t have much trouble communicating or need to have documents translated. If you get married in France, or China you might run into some language barriers.
  • It’s just beautiful and full of history and so cool.


So that’s our story. I realize it may not be the traditional big wedding with a beautiful white dress surrounded by hundreds of people toasting to our happiness but when I look back on our wedding day…

I have nothing but smiles and happiness. And although unorthodox, I am kind of glad my kids were there to experience it with us.

Tell me your elope story or tell me why you would never elope..in the comments below.

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