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It’s no secret that a destination wedding is the superior wedding. You can do it where you (and your spouse, of course) want to, it keeps your event small and it doubles as a honeymoon destination. However, it comes with a lot of caveats and stresses that’s already a stressful life event. But never fear. We’re here to give you 10 tips for planning your destination wedding.
Perhaps you have a wedding planner you already trust, but if you’re going to do a destination wedding, then having a planner in that destination is going to be of maximum benefit. First of all, they are a local expert, knowing all of the laws and venues of the land. But most importantly, they are your eyes and ears on the ground since they live there, and well, you don’t.
This is where having that local wedding planner comes in handy. Wedding and marriage requirements vary across cities and countries. For example, did you know that in France, couples must have resided in the country for at least 40 days before tying the knot? Don’t make the mistake Kim and Kanye did.
You should take at least one trip to the destination you want to get married in, if not more. First, not only is this a wedding, but it’s a destination wedding and you’ve got to like it above all else. It’ll then take more trips for booking tastings, caterers, venues and so on, even if you have a local wedding planner helping you.
It just so happens that hurricane season and wedding season overlap. So consider this and other weather patterns when choosing a destination wedding location in the Caribbean, particularly.
While you’ll predominantly be working with locals, you may want to consider flying in your own photographer, someone who you trust and have spent time with and knows your style. If not, this is where it’s important to have spent some time in the destination to have gotten to know your photographer.
Many hotels in popular destination wedding locations have a dedicated event staff. This will take out a lot of the legwork and puts your wedding more safely in the hands of someone who has done it in that destination in those elements many times before. Bonus points that it doubles as accommodations for you and your guests.
This isn’t about location of where you want to do your wedding as much as it’s about convenience for your guests. Fiji may be your dream wedding destination, but it’s probably inconvenient for most of your guests. Think about destinations that most people can fly non-stop or with as few connections as possible. Factor in peak season and airfares as well.
This will be one of the most important factors for getting your guests to your destination wedding. Plan far enough in advance that it gives your guests plenty of time to set aside any additional money to book their flights and hotels well ahead of time. And be extra communicative with them, such as informing them that booking at least a couple months in advance or booking their hotel/flight together can save up to several hundred dollars.
Your guests have saved up money, taken days off work and flown in for your special day, so make them feel special, too. Have a welcome basket waiting for them when they arrive and perhaps a handwritten note, itinerary and some recommendations of local things to do.
This isn’t a given, but many hotels (especially larger hotels) can offer a group discount (typically 5%-10%). However, a minimum number of rooms are typically required. Just as important, inquire about other nearby local hotels if everyone isn’t or can’t stay at the same hotel.