If you’re thinking of getting married in Malta, you’ll be joining the increasing number of Irish brides who come to its shores every year – and for a good reason. This small country offers beautiful sunshine, gorgeous beaches, amazing Mediterranean food and all the culture you could possibly want for a truly remarkable experience.
How to choose the perfect Maltese wedding location
Due to its tiny size – Malta’s 316 square kilometres compared to nearly 546,000 square kilometres of France – Malta makes it much easier to decide on your ideal wedding location. Sure, there’s still an abundance of hotels, country houses, castles, private residences, restaurants and beach huts – but whichever you pick, impressive scenery is almost guaranteed. So if you’re starting to plan your wedding sometime around the 12-month mark, why not consider a quick off-season short trip to Malta to scout out some locations? Of course, do some online research before – consider the type of wedding you’d like to have, where you want most of your budget to go (venue, food, entertainment?), how easy it is to reach the location, and availability of accommodations for guests. If you don’t want to go at it yourself, the alternative is to contact some Maltese wedding planners who have associations with several venues, and who may be available to accompany you while you look.
Another novel idea is to ask anyone you know whether they’re thinking about going to Malta. We knew one bride who confessed to her parents she wanted to get wed there, and they said, ‘honey, we were wondering where to go on our holiday anyway, so we’ll go to Malta and have a look at some venues for you!’ If you happen to be lucky enough to have parents, other relations or friends who happen to be going, make sure to ask them for their opinion.
The most important question to ask yourself is, do I want a sea view or not? By answering it, you’ll narrow down the choice of venues considerably.
Image courtesy of Weddings in Malta by YPA
Best places to get married in Malta
There are some venues that keep getting mentioned again and again in the most glowing terms, some located in Malta, and some in nearby Gozo, Malta’s satellite island with an even more intimate atmosphere and even smaller size. As we already mentioned, the great weather and abundance of venues makes it possible to have your celebration vitually anywhere. There are castles, historic houses and grand old hotels. There are restaurants, gardens and of course, the beach. Some of the venues that get mentioned again and again are Castello Zammitello , Hotel Phoenicia, Cafe Del Mar, Hotel Cavalieri, as well as the island of Gozo. But this is just a taster – in Malta, you are truly spoiled for choice.
Image courtesy of Perfect Weddings Malta
Hiring a Maltese wedding planner
The wonderful thing about most wedding planners in Malta is that they have affiliations with multiple venues of every kind. They are the best people to make recommendations based on your ideas and your budget, so there’s a lot of flexibility. Naturally, they know all the suppliers too, so you’ll have all the essentials taken care of.
Applying common sense to finding the right wedding planner is recommended, as you would with anything else concerning your wedding. Don’t choose someone you can’t get in touch with easily, or one who doesn’t have any reviews online (or even worse, multiple bad reviews). Bridal forums come in very handy here, as past brides swap information and stories of their experiences. Find out about making the payment and insure your wedding against any unforeseen circumstances.
Most importantly, you have to feel comfortable when communicating by email and on the phone. An experienced planner who truly cares about your special day will make sure to answer all your questions, make suggestions, and not promote their own ideas above your own.
Because many Maltese people (some sources say even 80 percent) can speak excellent English, you may be tempted to organise the wedding yourself. As with all weddings abroad, we do recommend hiring a planner anyway – you’re simply leaving too much to chance by organising a wedding in another country without any help. Of course, there’s no reason why things shouldn’t go perfectly, but there’s just too much of a risk of disappointment.
Image courtesy of I do Knot
The seasons vs the costs
Daily sunshine is pretty much the norm all year round in Malta and Gozo. As expected, you’ll get the least sunshine in December and January, with an average of 18 days in each month. But this isn’t the glorious summer sunshine – so it may be your ideal indoor wedding weather, at a beautiful castle or historic house. The prices would lower accordingly as well, but do check with your planner about the availability of suppliers out of season.
As the year moves into spring, the sunny days increase dramatically, until you reach the period between May and September, when it’s pretty much… every day. Talk about wedding-friendly climate! Of course, perfect sunshine is never a guarantee, so if you’re going to wed outdoors, make sure to ask your planner about any back-up plan – all outdoor weddings must have one.
The consensus places August as the perfect month for a truly splendid summer affair, but only if you’re happy to start late (even as late as 5pm), otherwise you and your guests may be terribly uncomfortable in the midday heat. April, May and June are the most recommended months, as the weather is lovely and hot, but not so uncomfortable as to force you to start your celebration so late. September is proving to be an increasingly popular choice for brides from abroad, offering a perfect balance of weather and affordable packages.
The costs vary accordingly, with winter weddings being least expensive, and rising for the summer months. Do keep in mind the availability of dates, the multitudes of tourists, and whether your guests will be able to take time off work to travel at the height of holiday season. Allow for some flexibility – think about indoors vs outdoors first, the type of venue you may like, then ask several wedding planners what they recommend. With Euro as the currency, it’ll be easy to compare the costs to a wedding at home.
Image courtesy of Dream Days
The legal requirements
According to I do Knot, a Maltese wedding requires far less paperwork to be legal, so you can have your legally binding ceremony and reception right there. There’s no residency requirement, and you can choose a civil or a religious ceremony, each one requiring a specific set of paperwork. A Catholic wedding has the same requirements as at home, including either the bride or the groom being a Catholic, neither previously divorced, with baptismal and other certificates as required. Your local priest will liaise with the Maltese priest to make sure you meet all the requirements, so start your preparations well ahead of time.
Civil ceremonies are also available, and carry few restrictions in relation to time of day or location. If you settle on a civil ceremony, make sure to check with your planner or the person in authority for any limitations they may have to observe, and plan yours accordingly. Same sex civil ceremonies are lawful in Malta since April 2014.
As usual, you still have an option to get married in Ireland and then travel to Malta for a completely bespoke ceremony and reception. Should you do this, be sure to check your passport arrangements, as you will have made your flights and wedding bookings in your maiden name.
Always make sure to check with the Irish authorities in Malta (we’ve given some relevant links at the bottom of this article) to ensure there hasn’t been a change in the law that may affect the legality of your church or civil ceremony. The information you read online as you begin to plan your wedding may be outdated, so it’s best to speak to those who are in the know. Your wedding planner will also be able to advise you accordingly.
Image courtesy of Perfect Weddings Malta
Bits and bobs
As usual, we advise being smart about what you travel with. A direct flight from Dublin to Malta lasts around five hours, so your chief concern should be getting your wedding attire there safely in one piece. If you must travel with wedding items, perhaps a card box, or some personal mementos, make sure to share it among all the travellers who are coming with you. This way, should anything happen to someone’s luggage, you won’t be left with nothing.
As we’ve previously advised, it’s best to leave the details of decorations for the wedding planner to arrange, so you and your guests can enjoy the unique décor and cultural influences of Malta. If you’re set on a particular look, send photos to the planner to show them what you have in mind and they’ll work accordingly.
Finally, some useful links for further reading:
Irish citizens’ information on getting married abroad
Irish embassies and consulates in Malta
Image courtesy of Tunin
Main image courtesy of independent.ie.
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If you think the bride should always have the last word, then Rachel is on your side! A devoted fan of everything quirky, unusual, colourful or crafty, she loves scouting WOL's real weddings for unique and fun touches. When not gazing at pictures, she's dispensing no-nonsense advice on everything from reception entrance songs to bridesmaid problems.