Are you dreaming of a beautiful and stress-free wedding? Destination weddings are the perfect way to make your dreams come true. But what should you consider when planning for a destination wedding?
In recent years, destination weddings have become increasingly popular. An increasing number of couples are choosing to say “I do” in different locations all around the world. Whether it’s an intimate elopement or a large gathering, destination weddings can be full of beauty and romance.
Although they can be exciting and stress-free, destination weddings require extra thought and planning. In this guide, we will explore everything you need to consider when planning your destination wedding – from finding the right location to dealing with unexpected hiccups along the way.
Destination Wedding Planning Guide
Destination weddings are a great way for couples to celebrate their special day in a unique and memorable location. Whether it’s the Bahamas, Bali, or Tuscany, destination weddings offer couples the chance to combine their wedding and honeymoon into one unforgettable event. However, planning a destination wedding requires careful consideration of all details involved. Couples should be prepared to go with the flow and have a relaxed mindset when planning a destination wedding.
Fortunately, there are experienced wedding planners like Laurie Arons, Sarah Chancey, and Darryl Moore who can help make the process easier. They understand the importance of considering factors such as vendors, response times, and design elements when planning a destination wedding. With their expertise and guidance, couples can rest assured that their special day will be everything they dreamed it would be.
Choose a Location
When choosing a location for your wedding, there are many factors to consider. Safety should be at the top of the list when selecting a destination. Research any travel warnings, political issues, or health concerns in the region before committing to a venue. Accessibility is also important; make sure that your oldest or least jet-set guest will be able to get around easily and comfortably. Visit the location before booking anything so you can get an idea of what it’s like and if it is suitable for your needs.
Passport and visa requirements should also be taken into account when planning a destination wedding. Understand what documents are needed for your guests to enter the country and make sure they have enough time to acquire them if necessary. Additionally, research current travel risks and warnings as well as local cultural events and holidays that may affect your plans. Weather patterns should also be researched so you can include this information on wedding invitations; this will help guests plan accordingly for their trip.
Once you have chosen a location for your destination wedding, it’s time to book accommodations for your guests. If possible, try to find a hotel or resort that offers group discounts. This will help keep costs down for your guests and make it easier to coordinate transportation and activities. If you are having a destination wedding in an area with limited lodging options, consider renting a house or villa for your guests. This will give them more space and privacy while still allowing them to be close to the wedding venue.
When booking accommodations, make sure to check the cancellation policy and any additional fees that may apply. Additionally, research local attractions and activities so you can provide your guests with a list of things to do during their stay.
Or, Hire a Professional
Hiring a professional planner or coordinator is essential for planning a destination wedding. A planner should have knowledge of the locations, venues, and planning outlook to ensure that your special day goes off without a hitch. If you don’t have the budget for a planner, look for resorts with an on-site coordinator who can help you plan your dream wedding. Working with experienced wedding professionals who are familiar with local customs and restrictions will make sure that all of the details are taken care of.
Enlist both local wedding pros and destination vendors to help guide you through the process. Utilize their expertise to manage your budget, navigate language barriers, and fulfill regional marriage requirements. They can also provide valuable advice on how to best take advantage of the unique features of each location while still keeping within your budget. With their help, you can create an unforgettable experience for yourself and your guests that will be remembered for years to come.
Consider Guest Lodging
When planning a wedding or other special event, it is important to consider the lodging needs of your guests. It is not necessary for the host to cover the cost of accommodations, but providing recommendations for different budgets is a thoughtful gesture. Setting up room blocks can help you negotiate a lower price and consolidate everyone in one vicinity. Before setting the date, make sure there is room availability for everyone.
In addition to finding suitable lodgings, hosts should also think about how to make their guests feel welcome and comfortable. Include warm touches such as a map of the area, a list of local attractions, an itinerary for wedding-related activities, bottles of water, and snacks. Offer fun items like flip-flops for beach weddings or spa gift certificates. Investigate activity options to please a wide range of ages and proclivities, such as group activities or sightseeing tours. Arrange special help for guests in advance if needed, such as wheelchairs or cribs.
Look into group discounts and other perks that may be available for your guests. Many hotels and resorts offer discounts for large groups, so make sure to ask about this when booking. You can also look into special packages or amenities that may be available to your guests.
Go Local to Save Big
Going local is a great way to save money while still creating an unforgettable experience. Incorporating local blooms into your event or celebration can be a great way to save money on decorations and create a unique atmosphere. Local florists often have access to seasonal blooms that are not available in other parts of the country, allowing you to create something truly special for your guests. Additionally, serving local specialties at your event can help create an immersive experience for your guests and give them a taste of the destination they’re visiting. From regional dishes to craft beers and wines, embracing the destination and all it has to offer can be both cost-effective and memorable. Not only will you be able to provide your guests with an authentic experience, but you’ll also be supporting local businesses in the process. By going local, you can save big while still creating a unique and memorable event for everyone involved.
Visit in Advance
Visiting the wedding venue in advance is a great way to ensure that your big day goes off without a hitch. It can help with planning and decision-making, as well as give you peace of mind that everything will be just as you imagined it. Before booking, it’s important to visit the venue at least once and then again three to four months before the wedding to finalize details. If possible, arrive five days early for hair and makeup trials. To get a sense of the overall vibe, visit during peak and non-peak hours from Thursday to Sunday.
Sandals Resorts offers a ‘Wedding Test Drive’ for couples who are unable to visit their chosen destination in advance. This gives them the chance to meet with their wedding planner and go into detail about what they want for their special day. If this isn’t an option, staying in close contact with your wedding planner is the next best thing. They can provide advice on how best to plan your dream destination wedding.
My Top Bucket List’s Pro-Tip: No matter where you choose to have your destination wedding, it’s important to do your research and plan ahead. With a little bit of planning and some help from the experts, you can create an unforgettable experience for you and your guests.
Meet Your Vendors
Meeting with local vendors is an important part of wedding planning, especially if you are having a destination wedding. It’s important to set up meetings with florists and rental companies prior to your first site visit so that you can get a better idea of what’s available in the area. Ask your venue for referrals to uncover local talent and potential savings. Negotiate travel and lodging costs for specialists from home in advance so that there are no surprises when it comes time to pay the bill.
Working with experienced wedding professionals who are familiar with local customs and restrictions is also key. Enlist both local wedding pros and destination vendors to help guide you through the planning process. They can provide insight into managing your budget, navigating language barriers, regional marriage requirements, and other important tasks on your wedding checklist. Utilizing their expertise will make sure that everything goes smoothly on your big day!
Plan Additional Events
Planning additional events outside of the big day is a great way to extend your wedding celebration. Popular choices include a welcome party, interactive activities that showcase the locale, and a post-wedding brunch or luncheon. There is no right or wrong way to plan your wedding – it’s up to you to decide what works within your budget and timeline. Hosting a welcome party or post-wedding brunch is an excellent way to thank your guests for traveling to be with you. You can also organize a tasting or an afternoon excursion so that everyone can bond and soak up the culture of your destination. If desired, you can even expand your itinerary into a wedding weekend! With careful planning and consideration, you can create an unforgettable experience for all of your guests.
Secure Wedding Insurance
Wedding insurance is an important part of protecting your financial investment and providing emotional assurance for your big day. It’s important to sign up for wedding insurance well in advance of the wedding day, so you have time to understand the policies and type of coverage you are agreeing to before signing up. Communication is key when it comes to setting safety standards for guests. Encourage them to get tested before the wedding and don’t invite more guests than you are ready to host. This will help ensure that everyone attending is healthy and safe.
When planning a wedding, it’s essential to consider all aspects of security, including insurance coverage. Wedding insurance can provide peace of mind by covering unexpected costs or losses due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness or weather-related issues. It can also cover any deposits made on vendors or venues in case they need to be canceled or postponed due to an emergency situation.
Consider Unexpected Expenses
Destination weddings can be a great way to celebrate your special day with family and friends, but they can also come with unexpected expenses. From non-vendor tips to airport transfers, shipping costs, and baggage fees, it’s important to consider all the extra costs that may arise when planning a destination wedding. For example, the average cost of a destination wedding in Mexico is between $5,000 to $7,000 for 30-60 guests and around $10,000 for 100 guests. Additionally, you should factor in welcome parties or day-after brunches into your budget as well as let your credit card company know of your travel intentions and carry some cash in the local currency.
Overall, it’s important to do your research before committing to a destination wedding so that you are aware of all potential costs associated with the event. With careful planning and consideration, you can create an unforgettable experience for all of your guests.
Check Local Marriage Requirements
Getting married is a big decision and it’s important to make sure that your union is legally recognized. Different countries have different requirements for marriage legality, so it’s important to check the local marriage requirements before traveling. Paperwork such as birth and medical certificates, letters of intent, and proof of residency may be necessary in order to get legally married in a foreign country. It may be easier to get a domestic marriage certificate prior to departure if you are unable to meet the local requirements.
It’s important to remember that getting married is more complicated than just hiring an officiant. Researching the local marriage requirements before traveling can help ensure that you are not surprised by any unexpected paperwork or legalities. If it’s impossible to have your wedding legally recognized in the country of choice, consider having a civil ceremony before traveling instead. Taking the time to research and understand the local marriage requirements can help make sure your special day goes off without a hitch!
Secure Passports and Other Documents
Having a valid passport is essential for anyone who wishes to travel internationally. It is the most important document that travelers need to have in order to gain entry into another country. A passport contains personal information such as name, date of birth, and place of birth, as well as a photograph of the holder. It also serves as proof of citizenship and identity when crossing international borders.
In addition to a valid passport, domestic travelers may also need a current driver’s license. This document serves as proof of identity when traveling within one’s own country. Depending on the destination country, additional documents may be required such as visas or other forms of identification. It is important for travelers to research the requirements for their destination before they depart in order to ensure that they have all the necessary documents with them during their journey.
Create Welcome Bags
Welcome bags are a great way to show hospitality to guests. They provide comfort and convenience upon arrival and can be filled with items that reflect the local area or provide comfort for their stay. For warm-weather destinations, include sunscreen or aloe vera while alpine environments are better suited for hot cocoa mixes or mittens. Other items to consider adding to the welcome bags are bug spray, city maps, local snacks, and pain medicine.
Melissa Gayle Photography has provided an image of a welcome bag as inspiration. The bag is filled with all sorts of goodies that will make any guest feel welcomed and appreciated. From water bottles to aspirin, this bag has it all! It’s a great way to show your guests how much you care about their visit and make them feel at home in your destination. Welcome bags are sure to leave a lasting impression on your guests!
Stuff Your Suitcase
When traveling outside the continental U.S., it is important to pack as much as possible into checked luggage. Arons suggests that anything that can be shipped should be sent out no less than a month before the trip and addressed to an individual. Shipping overseas is risky and expensive, so it’s best to pack what you need in your suitcase. To make the journey more enjoyable, ask the front desk to distribute goody bags full of munchies for the plane. These goody bags should contain a mixture of M&M candies and nuts, pre-assembled in advance. This will provide passengers with a tasty snack during their flight and help them stay energized throughout their travels.
In addition to packing snacks, travelers should also consider bringing items such as books, magazines, headphones, or other entertainment items that can help pass the time on long flights. It is also important to remember any necessary documents such as passports or visas when packing for international travel.
Choose an Appropriate Dress
When it comes to choosing the perfect dress for your wedding day, there are many factors to consider. Climate and terrain should be taken into account when selecting a dress. For hot, humid locations, breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen are ideal. Thicker materials like wool or velvet are better suited for cooler climates. Additionally, if you’re flying to your destination wedding, make sure to carry your dress on the plane with you instead of checking it in your luggage. This will help prevent any damage that could occur during transit.
The Knot recently partnered with Men’s Wearhouse to provide wedding looks for an influencer crew in Guatemala. A variety of styles were available for attendees to choose from, ensuring they love their looks and feel comfortable throughout the day. The ensembles fit the personal aesthetic of each attendee seamlessly while also being appropriate for the climate and terrain of Guatemala.
Get Away Gracefully
Getting away gracefully after a wedding can be tricky, especially if you and your guests are staying at the same resort. To ensure that everyone is comfortable with your departure, it’s important to be clear about when you’re leaving. A great way to do this is by saying your goodbyes amidst the fanfare of a post-reception send-off or next-day brunch. This will give everyone an opportunity to wish you well before you go.
If you want some privacy after the wedding, consider moving to a different section of the hotel. Luxury suites, over-water villas, and independent cabins are all great options for couples who want some alone time after their big day. These accommodations provide more space and privacy than traditional hotel rooms, so you can enjoy your honeymoon without feeling like you’re intruding on anyone else’s vacation plans. Plus, these types of accommodations often come with extra amenities like spa treatments or private pools.
The Top Destination Planning Questions, Answered
When planning a destination wedding, it is important to think about the top destination planning questions: budgeting, guest list size, date flexibility, legal considerations, breakaway outings for guests to enjoy during their stay, and how you will share information with your guests. Budgeting is key when it comes to keeping costs down while still providing an unforgettable experience for your guests.
When should I have my destination wedding?
When planning a destination wedding, it is important to consider seasonal changes and the average rainfall in order to avoid hurricane or monsoon season. Researching the weather conditions during your ideal season can help you pick a date that will be perfect for your special day. It is also important to be aware of tourism fluctuations when booking rates and attractions as well as booking your venue and hotel room block as soon as possible if you decide to book during peak season. Sending out save-the-dates 8-12 months before the wedding and official invitations 5-6 months before will give guests plenty of time to plan their trip.
Destination weddings can be expensive for guests, so it is important to keep this in mind when deciding on a location. Guests who cannot afford to attend should not be judged; instead, couples should try their best to accommodate them with reasonable travel costs or alternative arrangements. Wild Connections Photography has captured a real destination wedding that can be viewed for inspiration on how to make your wedding unique and memorable.
When do I notify guests of my destination wedding?
Planning a destination wedding can be an exciting and unique experience, but it also requires careful consideration of timing. Save-the-dates should be sent 8-12 months before the wedding to give guests plenty of time to plan and book their travel. Official invites should go out 3-4 months before the wedding, although this lead time can be a bit laxer for domestic destinations.
When planning a destination wedding, it is important to consider seasonal changes that may affect your guests’ travel plans. Check average rainfall in the area to avoid hurricane or monsoon season, as well as fluctuations in tourism that could affect rates and availability. By taking these factors into account when notifying your guests, you can ensure that everyone has enough time to make arrangements and enjoy your special day!
Who pays for guest accommodations?
When it comes to guest accommodations, guests are usually expected to cover their own expenses. It is important to make this clear in a graceful manner so that no one feels taken advantage of or put out. Wedding websites and save-the-dates can be helpful in getting the word out about accommodations and giving guests plenty of time to save up for the trip. Consider hosting bachelorette/bachelor trips a year in advance so that everyone has enough time to plan and budget accordingly. Additionally, selecting bridesmaid dresses that are affordable can help keep costs down for everyone involved.
It is important to remember that not all guests will have the same financial means, so try to be mindful of this when making decisions about accommodations. If you are able, consider offering discounts or special rates at nearby hotels or other lodging options for your guests. You could also consider providing transportation from the airport or train station if needed.
Do I need to help guests book travel?
When hosting guests from out of town, it is not necessary to book their travel for them. However, it can be a nice gesture if you are able to do so. If you are looking for a group, enlisting the help of a travel agent may be beneficial in finding the best deals and making group reservations. Additionally, creating a Facebook group or chat with everyone involved in the trip and providing an itinerary can help keep everyone informed and organized.
Before traveling abroad, it is important to speak to your healthcare provider about any necessary vaccinations that may be required. Contacting your cell phone provider ahead of time will also help you understand international phone plans and downloading a texting app can make communication easier while away. Lastly, alerting the credit card company of your international travel and having local currency on hand will ensure that you have access to funds while abroad.
Do I need a registry for a destination wedding?
Destination weddings can be a thrilling and romantic way to celebrate your special day, but they also come with unique challenges. Planning an international wedding requires extra attention to detail and navigating language barriers and foreign regulations. Couples should consider scrapping gifts for a destination wedding due to the increased costs for guests. Instead, let them know their presence is the best gift via invitations or wedding websites. Alternatively, couples can look into virtual gifts like gift cards or donations to a honeymoon fund, or utilize resort-specific honeymoon registries. This Destination Wedding Checklist provides a comprehensive guide to help couples plan their dream destination wedding. It covers everything from researching venues and vendors to obtaining necessary documents and visas. With this checklist in hand, couples can rest assured that all of their bases are covered when it comes to planning the perfect destination wedding.
You May Now Kiss The…Sorry, Conclusion!
Planning a destination wedding can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, it is important to remember that not all guests will have the same financial means. Consider offering discounts or special rates at nearby hotels or other lodging options for your guests, and provide transportation from the airport or train station if needed. Additionally, couples should consider scrapping gifts for a destination wedding due to the increased costs for guests.