Planning a wedding is one of the most fun, and often stressful, times of your life. With so many moving parts it can be hard to keep up – especially if you are planning your wedding a destination away from home!
To keep you on track and organized, check out our Top 10 Destination Wedding Planning Tips:
Choose the best destination for you
When choosing the location of your destination wedding, make sure to choose a destination that’s you. A place that wedding guests will arrive and say to themselves “this is so them!” A wedding is such a personal celebration of both you and your spouse-to-be, and if you are planning something as detailed as a destination wedding, the biggest detail of them all, the location, should be spot on.
Whatever you do, you want it to feel authentic and you want it to be a destination that both you and your guests will enjoy.
Keep the season in mind
Once you’ve chosen your destination, you need to start thinking about the best month and then the best day. One big thing to keep in mind when making this decision is the season and/or the weather of your destination of choice.
Also keep in mind whether that season is peak or off peak for the destination – in peak season the prices will likely be much higher and there are more tourists, and while the low season might have less tourists it may also have undesirable weather. Rule of thumb is to aim for what is called a shoulder season, which is the season between peak and off peak seasons.
Visit the destination before your wedding
If at all possible, it’s important to visit the destination before your wedding. Not only will this help with knowing what to expect upon arrival but it will also give you time to scout venues, vendors, local restaurants and activities to get an overall feel of the destination.
If you don’t have time and/or cannot afford a trip before the big day then rely heavily on online research, reviews from other brides, bridal forums and suggestions from others who may have been to the destination. The more research you do before hand, whether in person, or online, the more smoothly things are likely to go on your big day!
Know when you need help
Planning a destination wedding can be completely overwhelming; and, in fact, can nearly take over your life if you let it. With a to-do list including things like venue inspections, vendor contracts, hotel room blocks, transportation, rentals and activities (just to name a few), it is perfectly normal to need a little help.
Make sure you understand the local marriage requirements
Depending on the destination, there might be a legal aspect of your wedding ceremony that is different than what you would expect here in the US. For example, some destinations require you to arrive to the country a certain number of days before your ceremony (in France it’s 40 days!), some require birth certificates and/or proof of dissolution of prior marriages and even blood tests. Best thing to do is that as soon as you choose your destination – look into the legal requirements to ensure you have the time and ability to meet them.
Make your guests a priority
Traveling isn’t for everyone, and if your guests are planning on making the trip to celebrate with you, it’s not only a financial investment, but also one of their time.
In order to make things as smooth as possible for your guests, make sure that you give them enough notice that they can start to save and plan their travel. Consider hiring a travel agent to guide your guests better, and assist them in making bookings and reservations.
Dress the part
Don’t forget to consider the climate when choosing your wedding dress — and deciding on everyone else’s attire. You’ll be swimming in sweat if you pair your fairy-tale satin ball gown with tropical humidity, and asking your groomsmen to wear tuxes in the sun and heat is just cruel. Also, if you’re exchanging vows outside, you may want to reconsider a long train that will not easily get muddy or grass-stained or three-inch heels that will stick in the mud.
Vet vendors carefully
While you can view vendors’ portfolios online and check references from afar, it’s especially important that you’re comfortable with all your vendors. You’ll be leaving a lot in their hands, as you won’t be able to be nearly as hands-on, so it’s important you trust those hands are capable.
Invitations for a destination wedding are generally sent out earlier than for a local one. Send the save the dates at least a year prior. Have the invitations sent at least four to five months before the RSVP date to give your guests enough time to plan and respond.
Make a timeline
Remember you are working on local time and vendors in your chosen country may do things differently to ones back home. Make a wedding weekend timeline for both your vendors and guests, so that everyone knows where to head when, during the wedding.
With our love,
The DPARK Family