Planning a destination wedding can be an exciting and challenging experience, but with the right approach, it can be memorable and stress-free.
Whether you choose a destination in the United States or an international locale, I have outlined my top tips for destination wedding planning to help you get started!
Determine your budget: Set a budget for your destination wedding and stick to it. This will help you to make informed decisions about the location, guest list, and vendors. As you are building your wedding budget make sure to include travel costs. I always recommend for couples to plan to arrive at least 3-4 days before the wedding to go through final wedding details and to adjust to the local time zone.
Choose a location: Select a location that is special to you and your partner. Consider the weather, accessibility, and what the location has to offer. If you are starting from scratch and not sure where to begin, consider leveraging the power of social media. Facebook wedding groups exist for many different wedding destinations and in these groups you can network with other individuals planning weddings in your same destination wedding location. Gathering tips and wedding planning tricks from other couples who are a few months ahead of you in the planning process can prove very valuable and help you avoid common destination wedding planning pitfalls.
Plan ahead: Start planning as early as possible, especially if you are planning a destination wedding in a high season. This will help you to secure your preferred vendors and venues. If you are choosing an international location, give yourself at least 9-12 months to plan. Sharing your plans this far in advance with your family and friends increases the likelihood that they will be able to join you on this amazing matrimonial adventure.
Research vendors: Research vendors such as photographers, florists, and caterers who are familiar with the destination and have experience working with destination weddings. If you are unsure of where to get started, use Instagram and TikTok to help you find other couples who were married at your same location. Using the power of tags and hashtags you can find an array of wedding vendors to connect with.
Consider your guests: Take into consideration the comfort and convenience of your guests when planning your destination wedding. Provide them with information about local accommodations, transportation and things to do. Make sure to clearly communicate far in advance if your destination wedding will be family friendly or adults only. Couples with children will appreciate the clarity far in advance so that they can make appropriate travel arrangements.
Be mindful of cultural differences: If you are planning a destination wedding in a foreign country, be mindful of cultural differences and make sure you understand and respect the local customs and traditions. Take time to learn about local wedding traditions to determine what (if any) you might like to incorporate into your wedding ceremony as a tribute to your host country. If you are choosing a religious ceremony in a religious institution, ensure that your wedding day fashion aligns with the requested dress code of the religious institution.
Hire a wedding planner: Consider hiring a wedding planner who is familiar with the destination and can help you navigate the planning process. They can also help you to secure the best vendors and deals. Your wedding planner doesn't have to be from the country where you are getting married, but you will want someone who is familiar with the laws, culture, and traditions of getting married in your destination wedding location.
Become savvy on laws regarding weddings for your destination wedding location: Keep in mind that each state and country has specific rules and regulations for getting legally married. Take the time to study up on local regulations regarding legalizing your marriage. If you are getting married in the United States, know what the rules are for applying for and receiving a marriage license in that state. Remember, you must have a marriage license from the state where you are getting legally married. If you are choosing an international wedding destination, keep in mind that there may be specific guidelines for foreigners to have a legally recognized marriage in that country. Make sure to research these guidelines (your wedding planner can help you) as it may result in the need to take a trip in advance of the wedding to get all of the paperwork filed depending on your destination.
Create a wedding website: Developing and maintaining a wedding website early will help to provide up-to-date wedding information with all of your guests. Make sure to create your wedding website before you send out your save the dates so that your guests all know where to go to find out more about the schedule, travel arrangements, hotel/resort room blocks, and other wedding related details to help them plan. The earlier you can provide this information to your guests, the more likely they are to be able to join you.
Enjoy the process: Remember to take a step back and enjoy the process. It's a special occasion that you and your partner will remember for the rest of your lives. Give yourself the time to arrive early, immerse yourself in the culture of your destination wedding location, and spend time relaxing and spending time with those that you love. The beauty of choosing a destination wedding is you get to blend together a celebration and vacation all in one!
By following these tips, you can ensure that your destination wedding is a memorable and stress-free experience for you and your guests. If you are looking for an experienced wedding planner who loves to help plan destination weddings, I would love to chat with you. Click the button below to send an inquiry to book your destination wedding planning consultation today!