There are many reasons to plan a destination wedding. Maybe your family and friends are spread out across the country, maybe you want to have your wedding in a favorite vacation spot that has many happy memories, or maybe you just aren’t into the traditional wedding game. Whatever your reason (or reasons!) are, we have you covered with these tips for planning a destination wedding.
Choose the Perfect Location
When it comes to choosing the perfect location for a destination wedding, it is important to not only choose a spot that has significance for you but to also choose a destination where planning a wedding is feasible. As you decide on a location, consider places that have been an important part of your life or relationship. Perhaps a favorite family vacation town, the exotic destination where you got engaged, or an area where you’ve always wanted to travel. Once you have a few locations in mind, check into them to make sure they have the amenities needed to plan a wedding, such as multiple hotels, caterers, and a reliable airport.
Don’t Forget to Study Up on Local Culture + Laws
If you are planning a destination wedding in a different country, it is important to familiarize yourself (and your guests) with the local culture and laws. When researching local laws, make sure to look into laws that could apply to your wedding ceremony and reception, to make sure that you will not be in violation. Once you have learned about important cultural norms (for example, do guests need to tip at restaurants? And, is it appropriate to wear a bikini on the beach there?), you may want to make a handy guide for your guests to avoid any cultural snafus during your destination wedding.
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Be Accommodating to Your Guests
It is key to keep your guests in mind while planning a destination wedding. After all, these friends and family are traveling across the globe for your big day! One of the most important factors to consider when planning a destination wedding is accommodations for your guests. Be sure there are plenty of lodging options available to guests that are both nearby the wedding venue and in a reasonable price range for guests. Other ways you can be accommodating of your guests include looking into group rates with airlines, giving your guests a list of transportation options from the airport to their hotel, and planning additional activities for them to attend, like brunch the morning after your wedding.
Keep the Weather in Mind
When planning a wedding in a favorite vacation location, it is important to remember that the weather may not be sunny and warm year round. As you choose a date, be sure to take the weather patterns into consideration to ensure you and your guests are comfortable. Also, when choosing your wedding dress, and the attire for your wedding party, be sure to keep the climate in mind. You don’t want to be wearing a long, heavy dress in a tropical island setting!
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Don’t forget to incorporate your favorite traditions
Just because you are planning a destination wedding, doesn’t mean you have to forego all of your favorite American wedding traditions. Although you will want to embrace the local culture, be sure to incorporate some tried and true traditions from home. For instance, don’t forget to bring your “something borrowed” and “something blue” to add to your wedding attire just because you are traveling across the globe. Another American wedding tradition that we love? A grand wedding exit. Don’t forget to have guests send you off in style, whether it be with rice, flower petals, or sparklers!
Related: Warm Weather Destination Weddings
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Research and hire local vendors
When planning a destination wedding, it’s important to research and hire local vendors who are familiar with the area. Look for experienced wedding planners, photographers, caterers, florists, and other vendors who have worked on destination weddings before. Read reviews, browse through their portfolios, and communicate with them to ensure they understand your vision and can deliver the desired services. Local vendors often have valuable knowledge and expertise about the destination and can help you navigate any specific challenges or requirements.
Budget and Cost Considerations
Planning a destination wedding involves careful budgeting and cost considerations. Determine your overall budget for the wedding and allocate funds for various expenses, such as travel expenses for you and your guests, accommodation costs, venue fees, vendor fees, and any additional fees or permits required for getting married in a foreign location. Keep in mind currency exchange rates and potential fluctuations that may affect your budget. It’s essential to track expenses and consider potential cost-saving measures to stay within your budget while still creating a memorable wedding experience.
Plan for Travel and Accommodations
As you plan a destination wedding, it’s important to assist your guests in making travel arrangements. Provide them with comprehensive information about flights, transportation options, and nearby accommodation options. Consider negotiating group rates or providing suggestions for hotels or resorts in the area. Create a wedding website where guests can find all the necessary details, including travel information, accommodation recommendations, and any pre- or post-wedding events. Help your guests feel comfortable and excited about attending your destination wedding by providing them with the necessary resources and assistance.
Each destination has its own unique logistical aspects that you need to consider. Research the destination’s marriage license procedures, visa requirements, and any necessary documentation. Allow ample time for completing these tasks to avoid last-minute stress. Familiarize yourself with the local customs, traditions, and etiquette to ensure that your wedding celebrations align with the cultural norms of the destination. Additionally, consider the weather patterns, local holidays, and any other factors that may impact your wedding day. By understanding and planning for these destination-specific logistics, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable wedding experience.
Incorporate Local Elements
One of the joys of having a destination wedding is the opportunity to incorporate local elements into your celebration. Research the local culture, cuisine, music, and art to find unique ways to infuse them into your wedding ceremony, reception, or decorations. This could include incorporating local flowers into your bouquet and centerpieces, serving traditional dishes during the reception, or having local musicians or dancers perform. Embracing the local culture not only adds a special touch to your wedding but also allows you and your guests to immerse yourselves in the destination’s atmosphere and create lasting memories.