Planning a destination wedding can be more effort and time-consuming than tying the knot in your home city. When it comes to the planning, you will need a laser-like and detail-oriented focus – and an organised to-do list. Here, we share the top 10 tips for how to plan a destination wedding to ensure your big day is everything you dreamed of.
Pick your destination wisely
Choosing the location of your wedding is a big deal and you want to make sure you get it right in every sense. You might pick a certain location for its meaning to you as a couple, your heritage, time of year, or love affair with a certain special place. When it comes to choosing your destination, make sure you check everything from local seasonal weather, visa requirements, local culture and legalities around marriage so you don’t hit any curveballs down the track.
Plan well in advance
Planning a destination wedding can be time-consuming for both the couple and their guests. Guests will need to put time and effort into planning their getaway, so you want to give them as much notice as possible to get organised to ensure all your favourite people can be there. It’s a good idea for the couple to take at least 12 months of planning to pull off an amazing destination wedding.
Hire a wedding planner in your location
To help with step two, the best solution is to hire an on-ground wedding planner who specialises in destination weddings. A wedding planner in your location will be able to orchestrate all the finer details that you can’t do from home. Choose someone who has worked on many destination weddings before and who is seasoned and highly recommended. It will put you at ease to know there is someone physically there to work out all the nitty gritties.
Research your suppliers
Think about it, you may not get the chance to meet your suppliers face-to-face before the big day if they’re interstate or on the other side of the world, so it’s important you do your research and investigate each one thoroughly. Checking out their website, credentials and testimonials is a good place to start. Then, perhaps set up a Skype or Facetime meeting with each one so you can get a better sense of their professionalism and their way of working.
Consider the legal requirements
The legality of the marriage—and making sure it’s recognised in your home country – is imperative. If the ceremony is outside your place of residence, couples should plan to visit their native embassy at their location to verify that the destination wedding is legally recognised. Often, many couples make it official in their country from a legal standpoint and then ceremoniously celebrate their union at their destination wedding.
Create a wedding website
Even if you’ve always vowed you would never be one of “those couples” who creates a wedding website, it really is a great idea when it comes to planning destination weddings. This is a central spot where you can include all the most basic and important information, such as dates, flights, transport etc., but also the fun things like accommodation recommendations, sight-seeing inspiration, information on the local area and more. Trust us, your guests will thank you.
Think of the days either side of the wedding day
If you are asking guests to join you somewhere long distance who will spend time, energy and money to get there, you will want to include a few activities for guests to enjoy either side of the wedding day itself. Usually, couples will plan a welcome drinks cocktail party for the night before and some fun recovery activities for the day after the wedding. This will make them feel extra loved and even more delighted that they make the trip.
Plan your transport
In the days, weeks and months before leaving for a destination, couples can save money by thoughtful planning. Brides transporting their dress can opt to take it as carry on. Check with the airline and have someone steam the dress when you get to the location. Before and during travel, couples should also consider the comfort of the guests. Plan to personally greet or have someone else greet the guests with itineraries, instructions and other welcoming items. This simple act can stave off confusion for larger parties and will make the guests feel appreciated for their efforts to attend the event.
Understand the local customs and culture
If you are tying the knot in an exotic location, make sure you are across that country’s local customs and culture, as it is likely they will be different from your own. Small things like greetings, etiquette, food handling and more can be vastly different to what you are used to. A bit of quick research on the country will tell you everything you need to know.
Celebrate and enjoy yourselves
Finally, have fun and enjoy every moment!