10 Tips For Planning A Destination Wedding

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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.

1. WORK WITH A WEDDING PLANNER IN THE DESTINATION

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.

2. KNOW LOCAL LAWS AND MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS

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.

3. TAKE A TRIP THERE

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.

Bride and groom in blue suit on hawaii beach

4. FACTOR IN WEATHER

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.

5. FLY IN A PHOTOGRAPHER

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.

6. CONSIDER A HOTEL WITH THEIR OWN PROFESSIONAL WEDDING STAFF

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.

7. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

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.

bride and groom in tan suit with mountains

8. PLAN FURTHER OUT THAN A TRADITIONAL WEDDING

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.

9. TREAT YOUR GUESTS WELL

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.

10. NEGOTIATE A GROUP HOTEL RATE

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.

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