So you’re planning on jetting off somewhere beautiful for a destination wedding – who can blame you with so many wonderful possibilities out there! However, it isn’t all romance and butterflies, at least not at the start! You have some quite big decisions to make before you can get to that point. Check out what exactly you need to consider when planning a destination wedding.
THE Legalities WHEN IT COMES TO A DESTINATION WEDDING
Each country has a different set of legal requirements that you will need to meet in order to get married there.
This can include having to take certain legal documents over with you such a birth certificates, certificates of no impediment, etc. They may also need to be translated and then the translation verified. You may need to be a resident for so many days before you are able to wed and in some countries you will be required to have a blood test or medical test. Make sure you find out exactly what your destination will require of you and whether this will be legally recognised in your home country.
Your travel agent or resort wedding planner should be able to assist you with this.
Budget will still be a factor
Yes a destination wedding can be considerably cheaper than a wedding in your hometown but it is still going to come at a cost and you need to ensure you have the budget.
The reason they tend to work out cheaper is you usually have considerably less guests, along with cheaper catering options. But the reality is you are still going to want to have a lot of what you would have if you were getting married at home. The bridal party will still need outfits, you are still going to want to look and feel fab with your hair, make-up and the dress. You will still want to ensure your guests have fab food and a good time, maybe still favours. And you are still going to want it all captured so you can look back on it whether that is photography or videography. This on top of the costs of any legal requirements and of course the holiday means you are still going to want a healthy budget.
If you are working with a travel agent or resort wedding planner ask for a price list for their additional extras, menu price lists and of course spend some time pricing up those items you will need to purchase and take over with you.
Get To Know The Local Area
By this we don’t just mean for the wedding but for the whole duration of your stay there.
Planning a destination wedding also means you are planning a holiday and you are picking a holiday for your guests. You need to consider what resorts work best for you and your guests to stay in as well as for hosting your wedding. Your guests will look to you for guidance on where to stay so unless you are prepared to send a coach around the island collecting guests for your wedding you need to pick a location that has it all. You also need to consider how easy your guests can get there with flights. If you know everyone will be using it as a week away then you can relax but if you know some guests will only be planning on joining you for a few days then you need to be sure you pick a wedding date that works with the destinations flight days.
TripAdvisor will be your best friend here if you are unable to take a visit beforehand. If you use Facebook look for a group to do with your resort where you may be able to ask questions. Your travel agent will also be able to provide you with the information with regards to flight days from certain airports.
Unless you are going to an extremely popular destination for weddings (and even then in some cases) you will have a much more limited selection on what suppliers you have access to.
If you are very particular about the type of photography for example you would like, you may have to consider flying them out with you. This also leads on to the language barrier you may encounter when dealing with local suppliers – be as specific as you can when you are dealing with them, whether that is Pinterest boards, playlists, menus, dietary requirements, etc. They need to know exactly and explicitly what you would like or you have to be prepared you may get something that is their interpretation of ‘classic romance’.
We would recommend using a resort wedding planner to help make the process a whole lot smoother for you.
Picture Perfect vs Reality
We can all look at a glossy brochure and think ‘oh wow that venue looks amazing’ BUT let’s not forgot that a picture is not a true reflection on reality.
The simple fact is that unless you are able to go and visit it beforehand you won’t really know for sure what the venue is like, how the food tastes, what the temperature will feel like, etc. Travel agents are only human and have not likely been to every wedding venue you are looking at in the brochure.
If you absolutely can’t afford to go to the destination and visit the venues before you choose one then you really do need to do a lot of research online.
Be extra organised earlier
Although there is a case to argue in some instances a destination wedding is less stressful you do have some quite big decisions to make and as early as possible.
If you are planning on eloping then you have all the time in the world but if you would like to invite guests to share your day then they will need as much notice as possible to give them a fair chance of attending. That means you have to have considered all of the above, decided and booked before you can sit back and relax.
Consider all of the above, take time to find the perfect place and you will have an amazing destination wedding planned you can look forward to!