Britons marry abroad to avoid irritating in-laws

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The Independent Online

The overseas wedding market is now worth £1.7bn a year and has seen a 15 per cent increase in the number of marriages in the past decade. Research by Direct Line Home Insurance found the main reason given by couples for opting for a foreign wedding was to escape irritating relatives.

More than a quarter said interfering in-laws-to-be had prompted them to flee abroad, while 33 per cent cited better weather as a spur. Four out of 10 wanted to roll the wedding and honeymoon into one rather than spending their first night of married bliss in an airport lounge.

Simon Ziviani of Direct Line said: "Affordable airfares, a sense of adventure and the drudgery of British weather mean overseas weddings are more popular than ever."

The top locations for British couples marrying abroad are South Africa, St Lucia, Mauritius, Las Vegas and Antigua.

British couples may be following the trend of celebrities who have married abroad, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, who married in southern California, John Cleese, who tied the knot in Barbados and Chris Evans and Billie Piper, who were married in Las Vegas.

With the average British wedding costing more than £20,000, beachfront marriages in foreign climes can also offer cheaper alternatives to lavish receptions in English country hotels.

But while many couples may be tempted to countries where wedding costs may be lower, their choice of location can also hit their guests' pockets hard.

More than two million people have recently been invited to a foreign wedding according to the survey, meaning that they have to pay for an airfare as well as a new outfit and present.

But there is a downside to exotic weddings; 2 per cent of newly married couples returned from their foreign nuptials to discover that they had been burgled while away.