Once you’ve picked out your ideal wedding locale overseas, the next step is next figuring out how to plan a destination wedding far away from home. Throwing a destination wedding means you are in for much more than a ceremony that is intimate, but basically being able to enjoy a two for one wedding and vacation. But, as you start planning a destination wedding, before you jet off to a foreign land to marry your love, you have got some important details to consider.
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Select a Spot That Is Meaningful
Keep in mind that your location must have all of the resources you need. That beach that is charming where you spent your childhood summers won’t work if it only has one hotel that can’t accommodate all your visitors.
Find a location that means something to both you and your partner, but can also accommodate a destination wedding. Managing expectations is going to be key throughout the process of planning a destination wedding.
Inform Guests Well in Advance
This is certainly one of the more crucial tips when it comes to planning a destination wedding. It’s important to give your nearest and dearest as much time as possible determine if they can attend your destination wedding. This article from Shutterfly recommends sending save the dates 10-12 months before the actual wedding date, and we agree with that timeline!
Things for your guests to consider are the cost of travel, time off of work, and the trade-off of attending your wedding in person or celebrating once you’re back in town.
While you and your partner are excited about planning a destination wedding, you need to remember that you are planning this and you can’t expect everyone on your guest list to actually be able to attend, regardless of their reasons.
Embrace the Location to Save Big
Slash your décor budget by incorporating local blooms when planning a destination wedding — think about what flowers are local to your destination wedding and opt for those instead of what might be considered the traditional wedding flowers like roses and lilies.
You should also consider serving local or regional specialties during the reception, like conch fritters in the Bahamas or carnitas in Cabo, to cut catering costs.
If your guests are traveling to attend your destination wedding, give them an experience that is memorable and allows them to enjoy as much of the local culture as possible.
Consider Carefully Your Guests
When planning a destination wedding, try to find a hotel or resort that can accommodate all of your guests. It’s definitely possible to offer up several options, if necessary, but that will take away from the convenience of your guests if they need to travel between their hotel and the festivity location.
Along with providing your guests recommendations for accommodations, you should also provide them with a list of activities that are local to your destination wedding. Don’t assume that they’re going to fly in and out for the wedding without wanting to experience some of the local flair. Check out these things to do wherever your destination wedding is.
Stuff That Suitcase
We’ve yet to locate a destination outside the continental U.S. that has the same quality in selection of rental linens. Shipping overseas is expensive and high-risk, so try to always pack as much as possible into checked luggage. While there’s still risk of lost luggage when checking, the risk is much lower than shipping separately.
If you need luggage recommendations, we’ve got you! We’ve put together a list of our favorite luggage with a convenient comparison chart.
Hire a Pro
Remember to find a coordinator or planner that specializes in destination weddings. The wedding experts over at The Knot advise control freaks that they’ll have to entrust some duties to others. This way, instead of spending hours on phone calls trying to overcome a language barrier, the coordinator can make executive decisions for you about flowers and the ceremony site. If there are things that you don’t feel strongly about, delegating them to a professional to manage all of it for you will save you a lot of stress and anxiety when planning a destination wedding.
If a planner is not in your budget, choose a resort that includes a reputable coordinator that is on-site.
Tailor Your Wedding Dress to the Destination
Have we mentioned that expectations should be managed yet when planning a destination wedding? Ladies, planning a destination means that you’ll have to compromise on some things, and your wedding dress might very well be one of them.
Resist the temptation to go wedding dress shopping until you’ve selected a location and date. If the location will be hot and humid like Mexico, you’ll want to look at lighter weight dresses. Europe, on the other hand, has seasons that differ between them more so than Mexico. Another option is to have a dress for the ceremony and a lighter, more casual dress for the reception. The tradeoff here is added cost, but for some brides, it’s worth it.
Visit in Advance
Ideally, you should see your venue once before committing to the location and again 3-4 months before the wedding to finalize details. In case a second trip isn’t possible, plan to arrive at least five days early to make those decisions and do a hair and makeup trial. Planning a destination wedding does mean you’ll have to accelerate some things in your timeline or crunch them in during the days leading up to your wedding.
Never Check Your Dress
Always carry your dress on board the plane, even if it means having to fold it. Like we mentioned a few tips back, separately shipped cargo and checked luggage carries risk with it. Your wedding dress isn’t something you want to arrive to your destination wedding without, so keep it close to you at all times.
Pick Your Vendors in Person
In advance of your first visit, set up meetings with the better-known florists and rental companies in your destination’s area. But also ask for referrals from your venue regarding the ground; you might uncover hidden talent that you wouldn’t have learned about otherwise. Planning a destination wedding means you’ll need to rely on others, so get used to asking for help.
Budget for Services
In the event that you decide to bring services from home, expect to cover their travel and lodging costs. Even if you’re utilizing your family and friends for their skills (hair, makeup, DJ, photographer), you shouldn’t expect them to cover travel and lodging costs on their own.
Negotiate these expenses up front so things don’t get out of control, but also keeping expectations appropriately managed will ease some tension when planning a destination wedding.
Finally, a destination wedding is supposed to be fun! Once you’re done with the planning and packing, don’t let the worry eat away at you if you’ve forgotten something. Leave your stress behind and enjoy your destination wedding with your closest friends and family.
In this article, we have covered many tips for planning a destination wedding. This article was written to help all who are planning to travel locally or internationally for the wedding. With these destination wedding recommendations, you can definitely enjoy your travels and not have any problems when it comes to your celebration. Do you have any other recommendations for planning a destination wedding? Share them in the comments below so that other readers can benefit from your wisdom!