The idea of getting married in an exotic location rather than the standard reception hall in your hometown is appealing for many reasons. It can be pricey, but in some instances, you may even end up spending less money since you will likely have a smaller guest list. If you are interested in having a destination wedding, there are lots of things to consider and here are some of them.
Take a Trip There if You Have Not Already
If you have never actually been to the destination, you should really consider taking a trip there. Everywhere may seem perfect when looking at pictures and reading about it, but considering the expense, it is probably good to see it in person first.
Do Your Weather Research
Before deciding when you will have your wedding and where, it is important to do your research on the weather. While there are no guarantees, you can increase the odds of nice weather if you do your homework. Having your wedding during off-season in a tropical locale does not necessarily spell disaster – I once experienced a whole month free of rain during Phuket’s wet season, but regardless you want to make sure you have a plan in place for bad weather if the event will be outdoors.
Get a Tentative Headcount before Finalizing the Site
When planning a destination wedding, it is often assumed that only a small group of people will actually attend due to issues of finances, time off work, desire to travel,etc..But, you might find that people you never dreamed would make the trip cannot wait. So, before making that final decision, you should have a firmer grasp on how many people might actually come.
Research Marriage Requirements of the Area
Before picking an area, make sure you have a thorough understanding of their requirements to marry. Some places require you to be present in the area for a certain amount of time before being able to marry there—while in most cases, it may not be more than a few days, it could be up to a month or longer for some. You need to know what type of paperwork and documentation they require and all that other technical stuff.
Search for Deals and Discounts
Always look to get the best deals you can. If you are booking 80 guests in a hotel, see if you can get a special rate rather than paying full price for all of the rooms. Some hotels may offer a free wedding or steep discounts if you book your honeymoon there. If a package deal consists of things you really have no intention of using, ask if they can renegotiate the rate.
Notify Guests Well in Advance
If you are planning a destination wedding, it is important to give your guests ample notice. If you want to get married during high season to ensure the best chances of good weather, give at least 10 to 12 months notice so guests can book the trip as soon as possible to get the best deal.
Take Good Care of Your Guests
Considering the expense they are laying out for your wedding, you might consider forgoing a bridal registry; if you really want one, pick inexpensive items. Let your guests know their attendance is your present and not to worry about a gift. Prepare gift bags that provide things they may need, such as a beach towel and sunscreen for a tropical locale; provide information on activities and sights in the area and other practical info such as transportation options.
Consider Using a Consultant
There are lot of unique elements to planning a destination wedding, which also translates to a lot more potential issues. To ensure things go smoothly, you might consider hiring a destination wedding consultant who can help things flow more smoothly—they can head off problems and provide valuable information.
Considerations for Vendors
A destination wedding means you will have a lot less control over the process leading up to the big day given you are now hundreds or thousands of miles away. This is one of the reasons a planning trip is beneficial since it allows you to meet with people in person. If that is not an option, consider working with a coordinator who can vouch for different providers or get a list of satisfied clients from the vendor that you can contact.
Learn to Relax and Go with the Flow
People have different ways of doing things and some places that have a more laid-back attitude, which may be difficult to deal with, especially if you tend to get tense about planning things. If you are working with people who operate a bit differently, you need to just relax a bit and go with the flow. Keep in regular touch with the vendor to keep in the loop and let them do their thing.