TRAVEL CLINIC

Your questions answered by our panel of travel experts

WEDDINGS IN PARADISE

My partner and I are both divorced and want to remarry and we have been considering the range of "weddings in paradise" offered by a number of travel companies. Legally speaking, are there any matters we need to be particularly aware of?

Anita Powell

Brighton, Sussex

Ian Skuse replies: There has been an enormous growth in the weddings market for travel companies offering a marriage ceremony and reception in destinations such as Hawaii, the Caribbean and the Seychelles. The usual package is for the tour operators' local agent to arrange a civil ceremony with an official and witnesses, usually followed by a reception at the hotel with flowers etc in the room. The cost of a "wedding in paradise" is very competitive and the idea has been extremely successful.

However there are a number of areas where the happy event can go horribly wrong. Firstly while arrangements may go wrong on an ordinary holiday and be put down to experience, even small mistakes by the travel company can be a disaster on the day of your marriage. Even a flight delay or the fact that a bride and groom cannot sit together on the aircraft can cause immense irritation. When it comes to hotel rooms being overbooked, or the quality of the hotel not being up to scratch, this can be a particular problem when it is supposed to be your honeymoon. It is therefore worth spending a little more to get the right quality and to book with a reputable tour operator.

Secondly, some care should be taken to ensure that you actually are married in the overseas country concerned. Any country will have formalities that need to be complied with, which may include advertising your forthcoming marriage, and for the ceremony to be properly conducted by the right official and with the right number of witnesses. Any flaw in these arrangements could mean that you are not actually married at all, and this could have particular problems later on - especially if you go on to have children. I therefore think it is worthwhile knowing yourself what the requirements are, so that you can be completely comfortable that you have tied the knot.

Finally, some foreign marriages are not recognised in this country, and many couples in your situation choose to go through a simple ceremony at home either before or after the overseas marriage, just to make sure.

There are a number of tour operators who specialise in overseas weddings and honeymoons, and because of their experience in organising these things, I think it safest to consider their range of destinations and services to make sure that all proceeds smoothly.

8 Ian Skuse is the senior litigation partner with Piper Smith & Basham, which has specialised in the travel industry for more than 20 years (tel: 0171-828 8685).

I WANT TO BE ALONE - IN BHUTAN

I can only get away at Christmas and want to go to Bhutan. I appreciate that the Bhutan government does not permit independent travellers into the country, but I'm having real problems finding a tour company which goes there during the holiday period. Can you let me know of an operator which goes to Bhutan, and which offers itineraries that would give me some time on my own to paint?

Sally Goodsell

London

The travel editor replies: the main reason why tour companies tend not to go to Bhutan during this time is the heavy snow, which often blocks the passes leading into the central valleys. Travel in December is by no means impossible, however, and Cox & Kings Travel (tel: 0171 873 5000) should be able to help you. Its group tours run from late March to the end of October, but it can tailor special itineraries to suit individual travellers. The fact that you may be the only tourist there will also help give you the solitude you desire. Costs vary according to itinerary but as a rough guideline expect to pay around pounds 2,800 per person for 11 days. This price would include all flights, transport, guides, meals and high quality accommodation.

HOW DO I RENT A FRENCH PROPERTY FOR A LONG BREAK?

I and my husband (recently retired) would like to rent a small property for two months (June/July) in Provence, France next year. So far I am drawing a blank with agencies who seem to offer short package deals only, including travel.

I imagine that I should book as early as possible and I would be grateful if you could advise me how to go about it.

Jean Nicol

London

The travel editor replies: Your first port of call might be the French Tourist Board (Tel: 0891 244123). it's a premium line number but at least you'll speak to a person, not an answering machine. Ask them to send you a list of tour operators who offer self-catering: some of these will certainly do special deals on long leases of the type you are interested in.

Other good places to look for private advertisements are France-oriented magazines. Try to get a copy of the excellent Living France magazine which costs pounds 2.95 and comes out 10 times yearly (call 01234 711874 for a copy). If you have access to the Internet you can sample some of their pages on the following website: www.french-property.com/living-f (no full-stop).

Other relevant magazines include French Property News (Tel: 0181 9471834, a 24-hour answering machine service on which you can request a free sample issue) and France magazine (Tel: 01451 831398). The classified sections of the Sunday press, including the IoS, contains lists of private properties in many European countries.

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
Louis van Gaal at the Hawthorns prior to Manchester United's game against West Brom
football

Follow the latest updates from the Monday night Premier League fixture

News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Concerns raised phenomenon is threatening resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Financial Controller

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...

    Direct Marketing Executive - Offline - SW London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
    Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

    How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

    'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

    Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

    Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
    Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

    Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

    After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
    Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

    Terry Venables column

    Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
    The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

    Michael Calvin's Inside Word

    Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past