Destination weddings are very popular and it’s easy to see why. You get to travel to a picturesque location with your partner and your closest friends and family. You’ll have a great time, take some absolutely wonderful photos, and experience a moment and a celebration that you’ll never forget.
If you’re thinking of planning a destination wedding, here are some tips:
Get the Timing Right
Timing your destination wedding is important. Not only will you have to think about the local weather, but you’ll also need to take into consideration how popular the area will be at certain times. It makes sense that most destinations are busier during the best weather. So, if you want to book your wedding for a popular time, make sure you do it well in advance. You should also let your guests know about it as early as possible so they can get flights and accommodations before prices go up or everything sells out.
You may want to consider booking your wedding slightly after the peak season. You’ll probably still have great weather but it will be easier to book venues, hotels, and flights.
Choose a Destination that Suits You
The most important part of planning a destination wedding is, obviously, picking the destination. The location that you choose will have a huge affect on the mood, feel, and overall style of your wedding. Getting married on the beach in a tropical destination is very different from saying your vows in an old castle in Europe.
For this reason, it’s important to choose a location that matches the look and feel that you’re after. This will strongly be influenced by the type of people that the two of you are. Think about your personal style, your passions, and your likes and dislikes. Then choose a wedding destination that suits you and the overall vibe that you want to have at your wedding.
Take a “Planning Trip”
It will likely be a costly to do so, but it's a good idea to consider taking a “planning trip” to your destination before you get married. Things often look and feel very different in person and if you’re relying on promotional material, websites, and conversations to give you an idea of what the wedding location is like, you could arrive there for your wedding and be very surprised or underwhelmed.
If you can take a trip to your destination during the planning phase, not only will you be able see the venue in person, but you’ll also get the chance to do some tastings, meet the staff that will be helping with the wedding, check out the hotels, take a look at sample wedding bouquets and flowers, and much more.
Research Local Marriage Laws
Some countries have residency requirements for those who wish to get married. This means that you will have to stay in the country for a certain number of days before you actually get married. It’s important to learn this in advance, so that you don’t arrive at your wedding and find out that it’s not legal for you to get married when you want to.
Remember that you may also need to fill out applications in person, and there could be a waiting period to receive a marriage license, so do your research.
Tell People Early
You’ll probably have a smaller guest list for your destination wedding than you would if you were holding a local wedding, but if you’re planning on having any guests or members of your wedding party in attendance, be sure to let them know about your plans well in advance. You want to make sure that everyone is able to schedule vacation time, get their passports updated, and do anything else that they need to do so that they can travel to your wedding.
It’s also important to tell people in advance so that they can save up the money to pay for the trip. While you may be helping your guests by footing their food bills (and potentially some of their other expenses) remember that it still costs money to attend a destination wedding. You’ll want to make sure that you give people plenty of time to save up for and book flights, hotels, etc.