How to plan a destination wedding: tips and advice


Planning a wedding can be overwhelming.  Add a foreign country to the mix things can definitely start to get a little crazy. While  destination weddings conjure up thoughts of exotic, dreamy locations the reality is there is a lot of leg work that needs to be done before you get to that magical day. To help get you there without the stress I have put together top tips to planning your special day.

Having Time on Your Side

Planning a destination wedding takes time. To ensure your venue choices aren’t limited and that your wedding is scheduled during the season with the best weather conditions allow yourself plenty of time.  Your guests need time as well, to accommodate this it is imperative that you send out Save the Dates as soon as you have the location and date selected. If neither is set in stone, an estimate will suffice. For instance the month or year and the city/country are enough information for your guests to decide whether they will be able to attend.

Avoid Doing it All on Your Own

If you are getting married at a resort,  part of your package  will most likely provide you with their resident wedding planner who will take care of most things.  However, local based wedding planners will have relationships with vetted suppliers in the area. It is a wise move to enlist the help of a wedding planner from your area who specializes in  destination weddings. The two teams of wedding planners will then be able to work with each other ensuring that your dream day is made complete. Securing local suppliers can be difficult especially when time differences or language barriers are an issue, hiring a wedding planner will ensure that you remain stress-free throughout the entire process. 

Doing Your Research

Your wedding guests will be far more dependent on you for an overseas wedding than they would for one at home.  It is important to work with a wedding planner that specializes in Destination Weddings,  who will do  research and work for them.  They will negotiate hotel contracts,  transportation, and activities for them to do in the area. It’s a good idea to have planned group activities to keep your guests occupied and make a full week or weekend of festivities for your guests to mingle with one another.  This is key is to make your wedding a celebration unlike any other.

Sourcing Suppliers

If you have your heart set on a particular photographer or hair and makeup artist discuss with them the possibility of travelling to your wedding. Try and negotiate with them the additional rates or whether they would just want you to cover the costs for their airfares and accommodation.  For overseas weddings, have a session with a makeup artist who can teach you some tricks for perfecting a bridal makeup look. Then have at least one practice run of doing your own makeup in the lead up to the big day. Another alternative is to ensure you arrive at your destination a few days in advance and to schedule in a trial so you can have a test run and make any tweaks to the look before the big day. One more idea is to bring all your own makeup products for the makeup artist to apply.  This way you can guarantee the foundation will suit your skin tone.  

Understanding the Reality of a Destination Wedding

It is best to understand that when choosing a destination wedding there will be quite a few close family and friends who will have to decline your invitation. This is merely the  reality of a destination wedding and you should manage your expectations from the start.  If by chance there are certain family members or friends that you simply can’t imagine your day without who are unable to attend ask them their their thoughts on attending virtually and have the wedding live streamed. 

The Art of Travel

When it comes to selecting your bridal attire and  other elements you wish to bring with you it is important to consider how you will transport such items. Perhaps you pay for extra baggage or split items amongst guests and the bridal party. Ensuring nothing will get damaged in transit is paramount to avoiding any unnecessary wedding day dilemmas. To do this diligent planning will be vital.  No bride wants any unwanted surprise in the lead up to her big day.

It is recommended to refrain from requesting gifts from guests who have made the effort to travel to attend your big day.  Giving back to the destination where you are getting married is a wonderful gift, and your wedding planner can assist with charitable contributions to the local community.  If by chance you are given gifts you will have to figure out how you will get these home, look into the option of packaging them up and shipping them back separately or ensure you have left room in your luggage just in case.  Doing this ahead of time will eliminate potential stress.

It’s always nice to put together welcome gifts for all your guests. They can be as extravagant as you like however just simple baskets of goodies is more than enough. For instance in tropical locations provide your guests with sunscreen, insect repellent, band aids etc. – essential items they may not have thought of.  Your guest will love this personalized added touch.

While planning a destination wedding can definitely be more difficult, working with a certified wedding planner that specializes in Destination Weddings, such as   Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways will definitely make it stress free.

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