When we think of a destination wedding we think of blue skies, white sans and exotic locations. While this is the norm for a lot of destination weddings, they can also take place in colder climates and closer to home. No matter where the day is taking place, there are a few things you should know about planning your destination wedding.
If you do nothing else in this list, do this. You must check the marriage requirements in both your local area and the place you plan on getting married. Without checking both these factors you may not be able to have a legal wedding. Each country has different rules when it comes to giving notice, and staying there for a set amount of days prior to the wedding day. Do not guess or leave this to chance.
When choosing a destination for your wedding day, think about the time of year you’d like and what this means in terms of the weather and tourists. If you’re heading to a tourist hotspot, be prepared for crowds. You may also need to book further in advance to guarantee there will be enough rooms for guests in your chosen resort. If you’re planning somewhere off season, make sure you have an indoor plan in case the weather turns.
Think About Your Guests
Having the wedding of your dreams is so important, but keep in mind it is just that. The wedding of your dreams isn’t necessarily the holiday that your guests want to go on. There’s a lot to consider as a guest attending a destination wedding. There’s cost, holidays from work, potentially sacrificing a family holiday and ability to travel. Be ready for some guests to decline your invitation.
You can make it easier for your guests by giving them as much notice as possible. As soon as you have a date set, tell people verbally or send out save the dates. This gives everyone time to save up and arrange their plans. A wedding website is a good tool in this situation. You can give everyone all the information needed in one place and answer all their FAQ’s. (It’ll also prevent you having to repeat yourself to everyone who asks about accommodation, flights etc.!)
Visit Your Venue
Going abroad can make visiting your venue a little more difficult than choosing a local spot, but we strongly advise you visit in person at least once. If you can’t make it there before the wedding, use video calls to your wedding coordinator and have them show you the venue and rooms. Make sure you arrive a few days before your wedding date to check everything is what you expected. It’s also worth asking your venue about room discounts for guests, or partner hotels and restaurants.
Some destination wedding packages come with everything included. This takes off a lot of pressure when it comes to looking for photographers, florists and catering, but make sure you are 100% happy with the services provided. If you’re unsure, consider looking for a company outside the package. As with your venue, we strongly advise setting up a video call with your suppliers too. Have a mood board ready to share with them so they can fully understand the look you’d like (Pinterest is great for this). Make sure you look at reviews from some of their recent weddings in places like Google and Facebook reviews. Their website may look amazing, but they’ll only have their best reviews on there!
When planning a destination wedding, professional wedding planners come into their own. If you have a wedding planner you trust who fully understands your vision then you’ll have nothing else to worry about.
Booking suppliers local to you is also an option. Just be prepared for the additional costs of their travel and accommodation expenses if you do choose to fly them to your destination.
Have a contract for every section of your wedding. Make sure it highlights the price you’ve agreed for the service you expect to receive. It should include times and deliverable items where applicable. We cannot stress this enough – do not pay any supplier any amount of money without first signing a contract.
The first thing to consider when it comes to your wedding outfits is are they appropriate? If you’re heading to a hot country, a heavy ball gown and tweed suits will have you sweating all day. Similarly if you’re going to a colder climate a Grecian style dress and pin striped shorts aren’t the best option. IF you are flying to your destination, make sure your outfits will fit into your carry-on luggage. This can usually be upgraded if needed. Having missing luggage is stressful enough without it having your wedding outfit in there too!
Last but not least, do not assume you’ll save money by having a destination wedding. While this might be the case, it can end up costing the same as staying in your home country and sometimes more. This all depends on the choices you make in terms of suppliers, and whether you include your honeymoon as part of the wedding costs too. You may also need to take into consideration bank transfer fees or currency exchange rates when paying for services. Insurance costs can be slightly higher too.