So you and your partner have decided to get married abroad, bravo great decision!
Whether you seek a vineyard, beach, mountain retreat, cliffside, finca, historical villa or so much more for your wedding be assured that your choice of venue will determine the vibe and feel of your wedding. Whether you’re a rustic, romantic, elegant, boho, chic, beachy or vintage style couple there are still some key points you need to bear in mind when planning your destination wedding. Here are our top tips to help you navigate these waters should you choose to go it alone.
1. Hire a Professional Wedding Planner
Yes, we might be a little biased on this one however we cannot stress enough the value and sense of ease a professional Wedding Planner will bring to your whole experience.Planning a wedding in your own country can be stressful enough let alone dealing with language barriers, time differences, lack of knowledge of the area, vendors and limited accessibility between now and your wedding.So, to make both you and your partners life easier and to allow you to really just enjoy being engaged our best advice would be to hire a Wedding Planner.Your Planner will know the best venues, caterers, vendors, be able to negotiate the best deals on your behalf, prepare realistic budgets and coach you through the whole experience.
2. Pick Your Perfect Location
When choosing your location make sure you take into consideration the travel, time and budget that both you and your guests will require to organise and attend your wedding.Make sure when you pick your venue you can hand on your heart say yes this is our venue it feels like us.This is the vibe and feeling you want your guests to experience when they arrive.Take into consideration your personal styles and make sure the venue reflects this.For example, if you’re a laid-back beach and barbeque style couple best stay away from the five star hotel with countless numbers of courses surrounded in pomp.Also remember to ask what flowers will be in bloom at your chosen wedding date.Use the lush surroundings as an opportunity to minimise your decoration requirements.
Consider when is the best time of year for you as a couple and your guests to hold your wedding.If you plan on travelling somewhere tropical please make sure you know when rainy/hurricane season is.Remember in Europe August can be particularly hot and this may be an issue for some of your guests.Take a look at public holidays in your home country and perhaps consider having your wedding around these dates.Your guests will be grateful if they can plan a long weekend around your wedding without having to take too many valuable days holidays from work.
4. Visit Your Venue
While it may not be possible for you to visit your venue due to distance and time restrictions it would be our advice to make it happen if you can.Unless of course you have hired a Wedding Planner who you trust enough to have expertly vetted the venue on your behalf and made sure all of your requirements are met.
5. What Are the Local Marriage Requirements
Make sure you research whether you can legally marry in your chosen country and what requirements you must meet in order to do so.Again, this is an area where you Wedding Planner will prove invaluable if papers have to be lodged with the Local Town Hall or translated on your behalf.
6. Time Moves Slowly in Sunny Destinations
It is our experience that the pace of life in any destination particularly where the sun shines a lot is slow.This is the part of the joy and charm of a destination wedding, embrace it.Do not view venues and supplier’s tardiness to respond as incompetence, they march to a different beat so trust in their expertise and experience.
7. Don’t Rely on The Weather
While the chances of the weather on your wedding day being less than ideal are relatively low with a destination wedding make sure you ask your venue to show you their ‘Plan B’ option.A good venue will always have a Plan B and if they are really good they will have Plan’s C, D, E and F.Luckily, we have never had to venture past Plan B but it is comforting to know there are more options.Make sure you are happy with the proposed Plan B in the unlikely event that you have to revert to it.
8. Pick Your Vendors Following a Meeting/Skype Meeting
The vendors you engage must meet your requirements and expectations so make sure you pick them with care and attention.If you do choose to use a Wedding Planner it is their job to vet them and make sure they will you’re your expectations and budget requirements.Ideally when visiting your venue arrange to meet with them face to face, if this is not possible speak via Skype and make sure you feel good about your choice.Particularly when it comes to very personal elements such as your photography and hair and makeup.
9. Advise Your Guests in Advance
For a destination wedding it is advisable to give your guests up to ten month’s notice of your impending nuptials.This will give them time to avail of the best airfare’s and accommodation deals.
10. Use Pinterest
Pinterest is a great source of inspiration but also a great tool for explaining your vision for your wedding with your vendors.Being able to refer them to your Pinterest board particularly when there are language barriers will be of great help to you both.
11. Allow for Extra Expenses
If you are not using a Wedding Planner who will be familiar with all of the expenses you will incur as part of your wedding celebration make sure to allow some extra contingency for unforeseen expenses.This will mitigate the risk of any nasty surprises on your big day.
12. Plan, Plan, Plan ……. & Plan Some More!
We cannot stress this one enough.If you have a Wedding Planner you can be sure they are checking their list more times that they care to admit to make sure everything is in order for your big day.They meticulously run though all the details again and again so that a beat is not missed.If you do not have the benefit of a Wedding Planner make sure you have a clear plan or outline of how you want things to run.Go through this with your vendors so that everyone involved in clear on your vision for the day.We would however advise that while you can do your best to plan for all eventualities small hiccups will happen and it is our advice to not sweat these small things.Laugh them off and deal with them as best you can.Expecting things to go wrong is the best medicine, most importantly enjoy being in the moment and do not miss a heartbeat of this special experience due to a minor incident.
13. Dress for The Weather
When choosing your dress and outfits for your wedding please me mindful of the weather you are expecting on the day.Make sure you choose breathable fabrics which will not leave you looking like a hot mess!Choose things that are easy to wear, comfortable and most importantly make you feel good.
14. Consider How You Will Travel with Your Wedding Dress
It is our advice to not check your wedding dress in if you are taking a flight.Keep your dress within reach at all times.Contact your airline before you travel and see what their requirements are.Speak with your venue and confirm they have pressing facilities available in the event that the material of your dress has a tendency to crease.
15. Arrive Early
Make sure you give adequate time to arrive at your destination.This will allow you time to acclimatise and hold any last-minute discussions with your vendors on the smaller details.
16. Things Will Get Lost in Translation
Don’t be surprised if when you arrive at your venue there are one or two quirky additions to your plans.With different cultures, languages and time differences somethings are bound to get lost in translation.Laugh these things off and hope your venue can retranslate your vision as quickly as possible!
So, there you have it our top tips for planning your destination wedding. If after reading all of these you are feeling a little overwhelmed and feel you would like some professional guidance through the experience send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be delighted to hear from you and offer whatever assistance we can.