Wedding Planning 101: Destination Weddings

Photo via   Southern Weddings

Photo via Southern Weddings

We all know that planning a destination wedding is no small feat. A destination wedding is a special experience. It’s a way to share a place that truly captures you and your fiance's personalities and relationship. It’s also a great way to combine a wedding and vacation {who doesn’t want that?!} Yet, hosting your wedding at an unfamiliar {and far away} place, presents major challenges. To ensure your big day goes off without a hitch {no matter where it may be}, follow these tips and tricks that we’ve accumulated working with our couples.

1.Work with the vendor list provided

Most destination venues will already have a suggested list of vendors in the area to use. This is an easy way to find vendors in an unfamiliar location. Using the venue’s suggested list also ensures that vendors are reputable and that they have prior experience working at the venue, so they understand the kitchen, power limitations, whatever the possible issues might be. Venues will not risk listing a vendor if they do not trust them to provide great service! Using a suggested list will eliminate many headaches and hours spent searching for the perfect vendors in the area.

2. Look at local magazines and “best of” lists

Using magazines and local publications/websites to find “best of” lists is a great way to find vendors to broaden your options. Since you’ll be planning the wedding from afar, it’s important you choose your vendors wisely! “Best of” lists can give you an idea of who is most recommended in the area and can lead you to great vendors.

3. Take at least one planning trip

This may be the most important recommendation we have!! Take at least one trip to your location. Your planning trip should be jam packed with meetings and appointments. Be sure to do walk-throughs of the venues {rehearsal dinner, ceremony, and reception} and map out floorplans for each room, visit the hotel for guests, meet with your band/DJ, schedule a tasting with your caterer and bakery, meet with your florist to map out final details and plan a hair and makeup trial with your glam team. Don’t forget to apply for your marriage license and, if you can squeeze in time, explore the area so you can recommend activities for your guests.

4. Send invites early

Since a destination wedding requires guests to travel, informing them of your plans early is a must. Guests must plan for the extra expenses and time off of work that your wedding will require. It’s important to be fair to guests by giving them plenty of time to prepare! It’s also important to keep in mind that some guests may choose not to attend. Whether it be expense related or not, prepare for some guests to be unable to make the trip.

5. Check local laws

Different countries, even different states, have certain laws and requirements when it comes to marriage. The legal side of tying the knot can get tricky in some places, so be sure to do your research beforehand! Many countries have a “residency requirement,” which requires you to reside in the country for a certain time period before you’re allowed to get married. In most places this is a short amount of time, but others, like France, require you to arrive at least 40 days before you marry!

6. Make guests feel welcome

Most importantly, make your guests feel welcome and give them plenty of ideas for activities in the area! Start off the wedding weekend right by welcoming them to the hotel with a list of recommended restaurants, activities, and things to do.

Planning a destination wedding does take more time than planning a local wedding, but don’t let this discourage you from throwing the wedding of your dreams. You can always call on us to help take away the stress of planning a destination wedding!