An Essential Guide to Planning a Destination Wedding
Destination weddings are rapidly growing in popularity as engaged couples look for an option other than the traditional, local wedding. Are you intrigued by the prospect of a wedding in a faraway location? Read on to decide if such a wedding is right for you and for tips on how to plan a successful destination wedding.
Why Have a Destination Wedding?
- Want a Shorter Guest List? Usually, only close friends and family will attend a destination wedding due to the higher expenses for the guest, so this will make it easier to cut down the guest list and as a result, cut your own costs. Since you are reducing the guest list, you are also spending less on items such as invitations, food and more.
- Want to Get Away? Perhaps you don’t want to get married in the local church or near your stressful job. With a destination wedding, the moment you step foot onto that sandy tropical island, cruise ship setting sail to a snow-capped mountain or go glamping at a luxury "treehouse"-filled location, you are on vacation.
- Do Your Guests Also Need a Vacation? Your guests might appreciate this opportunity – or even valid excuse – to also escape from reality. They will enjoy helping you celebrate your marriage and also perhaps spend a few days at the destination, prior or subsequent to the actual wedding event.
- Want to Cut Honeymoon Costs? After however long the wedding festivities last, you can break away from your guests and begin your honeymoon with your new hubby or wife. You won’t have to book far travels from your wedding to your honeymoon; you can simply honeymoon where you already are.
- Are You Renewing Your Vows? Marriage, no matter how full of love it may be, is far from the easiest thing in the world. Significant anniversaries deserve recognition, and a destination re-wedding is a romantic way to celebrate. Or, perhaps funds were low when you married your significant other, and you were not able to have your dream wedding. A destination wedding is a favored “take two” option.
- Are You Getting Married for the Second Time? Chances are, if you’re getting remarried, you don’t want to go through the same motions as your first wedding. An exotic destination wedding will be a great way to further differentiate your second wedding. Also, since a destination wedding generally allots for a smaller crowd, it’s more desirable in terms of intimacy and fewer attendees.
First Things First: Do Your Research.
All types of weddings require extensive research, and destination weddings are no different. Plan well in advance!
To begin with, know your budget. With those monetary figures in mind, set forth on narrowing down potential locations. A simple online search will shed light on different locales and their culture, facilities, weather, geography and more. Explore websites with real-people opinions of a location and its resorts or hotels. Be thorough; you don’t want to discover a bump later down in the road that could make all previous efforts and expenses for naught. Some other important things to take care of beforehand:
- Have all necessary and up-to-date documentation, which might include passports, visas, immunization records, original birth certificates, previous divorce documentation and more
- Check residency requirements and mandatory paperwork of foreign countries
- Calculate currency rates – your wedding may be more expensive or a better bargain, depending on where it will be held
- Look for hotels with fantastic destination wedding packages and deals to lower costs
Keep Your Guests In Mind.
After narrowing down your guest list, remember: You are not the only one with a budget. For guests, attending a destination wedding is much more lavish than attending a local wedding – usually at least $750 and up to $1,100 per person. Instead of a short drive, guests may have to consider flight, hotel and vehicular transportation costs, in addition to several days of other expenses like food.
Forgo wedding gifts as attendance is already costly enough. And do not take it personally if wedding invitations are declined – traveling is a luxury that not all can afford, and guests may not be able to take time off their everyday schedules.
Because your guests are in an unfamiliar place, accommodate your guests with a recommended packing list or helpful reminders, such as to renew passports by a certain time. And, since a destination wedding is usually a longer event than a traditional wedding, have a suggested list of activities for guests. At the same time, keep some of these activities optional because guests may want to relax and partake in their own preferred activities.
Visit The Location Before The Wedding.
If permitted by your funds, take a short trip to your destination wedding location to scout venues, hotels and vendors that will take care of catering, decorative elements, makeup and photography. It’s best to take care of all wedding components face to face before the actual wedding date and prevent any prospective issues.
Hire a Local Wedding Planner.
As if planning a wedding isn’t already hard enough, doing it from a far distance will be even more difficult. Save yourself a headache by hiring a local wedding consultant who truly knows the insides and outs of the location.
However, some some remote locations may not have the option of hired help. In these cases, be prepared to carry the weight and overcome any possible difficulties. Get in touch with local vendors who will probably refer you to other helpful individuals. For example, a great caterer most likely knows of a talented florist.
Plan as well as you can for a stress-free destination wedding, but don’t forget that not all things – especially something as elaborate as a destination wedding – go exactly as planned. Because you will be away from the comforts of home, take any problems that arise with a grain of salt. After all, at least you are marrying the love of your life in a beautiful place and in the company of beloved friends and family present.