Destination weddings are more popular these days because they are intimate and are a practical way to combine wedding and honeymoon. Of course, the cool factor is a major bonus. If you’re considering a destination wedding, here are 10 steps to get you there.
Pick the perfect location
It has to be a place that both of you are excited about, and that your guests can get to without major headaches. The whole thing should reflect you both – not just the ceremony but all the other activities and the overall vibe – adventure, beachy, sophisticated or something else.
Timing is everything
Don’t assume about the weather. That mild, sunny spot can have monsoons or unforgiving desert sun during the off-season. On the other hand, the best weather may coincide with tourist season so there might be more crowding and higher rates. Research the shoulder season (right after high season) so that you can still enjoy great weather and less crowding.
Plan a visit
Very important. You’ll need to see the venue at least once, preferably before you book it, so that you can make informed decisions. You’ll also need to scout and secure accommodation for your guests, meet with vendors and assess them.
Inform family and friends
Tell them ASAP. Some of your closest people will not be able to attend and you have to be okay with that. You might be footing a few bills, but others really add up and it might not be a vacation that they are able to take.
Factor in extra costs
Flying in vendors, additional activities for your guests, welcome bags, your little sister’s travel costs (you know you cannot leave her behind) – all need to be planned for.
Research Local Laws
Every country has certain requirements for saying “I do”, so make sure you both have what is required for a marriage license and that you fulfil the residency requirement. This is the length of time you must reside in the country to be able to legally marry. E.g. Turks & Caicos: 24 hours, England: 7 days, France: 40 days! You can get around it by getting legally married at home and just having an unofficial ceremony at your destination.
Prepare WELL in advance
Give yourselves lots of time to plan especially if you’re travelling abroad – getting travel documents in order, taking time off work. This applies to guests as well so tell them 10-12 months in advance. Book hotels well ahead so you can get good rates.
Get help locally
It will save you a lot of money to hire local vendors instead of flying them in. Get recommendations and then meet them.
Let your vendors work
Avoid micromanaging them. They may have a different general attitude to time than your clock-watching big city self, so don’t assume they are incompetent. Communicate what you want and when, and let them work.
Take care of guests
Make it easier on your guests. Arrange group rates for flights and rooms so people can save. Provide travel info, directions and a guide to the area. Send welcome bags to their rooms with essentials like bug spray, sunscreen and flip-flops. Remember to plan a welcome dinner too!