Be Well Acquainted With Destination Locations
As a destination wedding planner, you need to be well-versed in the language, culture and laws of the countries to which youre willing to travel. Even more, you must be able to make the couple feel at ease about relinquishing control. If couples are going to shell out big bucks to cover your travel and hotel costs, you need to have answers for every question and a calming effect when responding.
Get to know reliable wedding vendors in the areas youre willing to work. If you have dependable go-to sources for travel, flowers and music, your clients will feel at ease about your proficiency in the location. Offer insider tips or discounted services to your clients so they will be more willing to spend the extra money to hire you for their destination wedding.
Give Everyone A Heads
Tell your bridal party you’re planning a destination wedding before you ask them to stand by your side, so they can gracefully decline if finances are tight. Besides those VIPs, it’s also a good idea to give the rest of your guest list plenty of notice so they can get the best deals on flights and accommodations before prices skyrocket. Send out save-the-dates at least eight months in advance, but don’t be upset if some of your closest friends or relatives don’t attend. While you are, in a sense, footing some of the food bills, their fees for travel, hotel and car rental can really add up. Although your wedding is a mini-vacation for you, it may not be the one they want to take!
Factor In The Extra Expenses
If done right, a destination wedding can cost no moreand maybe even lessthan hosting the same party at home . For example, if you live in a US metropolitan city where event facilities are in high demand, like New York City, then holding your wedding in Mexico will likely be less expensive than doing it at home, even when you factor in airfare, hotel expenses and planning trips. Still, there are extra expenses you’ll need to factor in for any destination wedding, including importing key vendors and décor, welcome bags for guests, additional activities for guests, and travel costs for you and your immediate families . Keep in mind you may choose to fly in certain vendors, in which case you’ll have to pay for their travel and accommodations too. So make a budget that’s realistic and factors in all of these extra costs.
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What Do We Need To Include On The Invitation
Unlike a traditional wedding invitation, you need to give your guests a lot more information when youre asking them to join you out of town. In addition to your actual invitation, youll want an information card outlining all of the events youve planned so guests know how long to be in town. The weekend itinerary should include the date, time, and location of each event. Youll also want to print a card with lodging detailswhether thats a huge house youve reserved for the group or the local hotels where you have room blocks .
A wedding website is a great idea, especially for celebrations with a lot of logistics. This will allow you to put everything in one place, as well as include details about transportation and local activities.
A Lot Of The Planning Will Be Out Of Your Control
Davidson said she’s a pretty obsessive person when it comes to planning things.
“You can only imagine the extra effort and energy I gave to planning my wedding,” she said. “Before flying out to our venue, I was confident I had everything covered, from the hotel accommodations of relatives down to making sure the local caterer does not serve anything that our guests are allergic to. But that’s never the case with a destination wedding, it seems.”
She said she had guests who missed their flights, or got their flights delayed and canceled, and her father-in-law’s bag was lost at the airport.
“Plus, the local band we hired backed out at the last minute,” Davidson said. “My husband-to-be spent the whole day before our wedding arduously consoling the Bridezilla-me.”
Jabali, too, said to expect that you won’t be able to plan or manage every change.
“While we loved our destination wedding and would do it all over again, we were surprised by how some of the vendors made changes without our consent,” she said. “For example, our cake maker changed the flavor of our cutting cake and the gift boxes of cookies were much smaller than the samples they provided when we booked them. And, the ‘highly recommended’ videographer literally fell over during our ceremony and didn’t edit the crash out of the video.”
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Extend Your Trip Into A Honeymoon
Considering most couples will choose a beachy getaway for their honeymoon, why fly somewhere else when you are exchanging vows on the sand, anyway? For budget-mindful newlyweds-to-be, Velez suggests extending your trip into a honeymoon, eliminating the need to plan another vacation. Depending on which hotel you partner with, you may even reap rewards. Many resorts will offer special honeymoon packages with perks when you get married on property, or you may have the option to move to a sister property nearby or upgrade your room for a change of scenery, she says.
Cut Costs Where You Can
Theres no doubt about it, destination weddings arent cheap. However, there are a few tips and tricks thatll help you save cash. For example: use Hopper to check when flights to your destination are least expensive or ask a travel expert about inexpensive package deals. Hotels and resorts also tend to offer group pricing, so look into that.
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Set Up A Gift/card Box
This is the perfect place for guests to leave sweet notes, gift cards, and other little trinkets. Put this box in a safe place, which is also easy to spot when guests walk in. Leave someone from your wedding party in charge of this area, so everyone who comes in knows what goes where. This person can also put the box away somewhere safe once all deposits are made.
Make A List Of The Documents You Will Need
Some of the common documents required for a destination wedding include your birth certificate and passport, proof of divorce or death certificate , change of name documents, written authorization for parties under 18, and your marriage license.
There are some places where you need to establish residency before getting married. In most cases this can be done within a 4872 hour residency period. Check whether your marriage will be recognized as legal in the country you live. For some destinations, youll need to be of the legal age to marry or have consent from both parents if under the age of 21.
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Take Care Of The Seating Arrangement
Picture: Seashell seating arrangement beach wedding at Beaches Negril.
A seating chart, or carefully arranged place cards , will help everyone to their seats for the ceremony. Get a map of the wedding venue, spend some time figuring out who should sit where, and theme your chart or place cards to suit the other elements of your wedding.
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Dont Skimp On Sunscreen
Couples usually arrive a few days prior to the wedding at the resorts and might not be used to the tropical sun, which is why we recommend plenty of sunscreenespecially during those first days to avoid sunburns, Mairhofer says. While it will look great to have a sun-kissed tan in the wedding pictures, keep in mind that the sun is very strong and can easily be underestimated.
When choosing a face sunscreen for your wedding day, opt for a clear formula that will provide a weightless feel and invisible protection. Having a white cast from your sunscreen is the last thing you want during outdoor wedding festivities.
Make Sure You Can Legally Get Married In Your Destination Wedding Location
Nichols said another thing to consider with weddings held abroad is whether you can actually get married there, or if you need to have a civil marriage ceremony in advance in your home country.
“Legal requirements differ depending on where you get married,” she said. “I got married in Mexico, but the legal wedding requirements caused for me to get blood drawn, and that was a no-no, as I am deathly afraid of needles. So this is something you will want to think about.”
As a compromise, Nichols said she and her husband chose to have a symbolic ceremony in Mexico instead and got legally married in their hometown the day before they left for Mexico.
“Also, on that note, because the primary language is not English in Mexico, if we would have gone through with the legal ceremony, the officiant would have been someone from the government and the ceremony would have been held in Spanish with a translator,” she said. “So if that’s not your cup of tea, you will want to look at residency requirements at home.”
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When Is The Best Time To Get Married In Marrakech
Morocco benefits from gorgeous weather practically all year round and is the perfect place for an outdoor wedding. From June to early September it is hot hot hot, with temperatures sitting at around 30 degrees so if you and your guests dont mind the heat then these are popular months to get married. If you want the weather a little bit cooler we would recommend tying the knot in May or September/October where temperatures sit in and around 20 degrees.
Find out when sunset is and plan your ceremony for around two hours beforehand so you can get the transition from day into evening in your wedding photographs. Did someone say golden hour?
Expect To Run Into Your Guests During Your Honeymoon
“When we said goodbye to our guests after the wedding, we meant it,” Davidson said. “What we didn’t expect was for their extended vacation plans to be identical with our honeymoon itinerary.”
For example, Davidson said she and her husband weren’t expecting the guests to join them scuba diving on the third day of their honeymoon. Nor were they expecting to share a breakfast with them at a remote beach restaurant.
“It was amusing and pleasing at first, but every time we ran into a familiar face from home, it kind of felt like less of a destination wedding,” Davidson said.
On a similar note, Nichols said to keep in mind if you want your wedding to be family-friendly or for adults only.
“Will you stay at the same resort for your honeymoon or honeymoon-hop to a different resort or island?” she said.
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Be Considerate Of Your Guests Costs
Yes, youre spending a pretty penny for flights, gifts, decor, music, and everything else that goes into your wedding. But be considerate of how much your guests are spending to see your big day. We gave our friends and family a year and a half to save up for the trip, knowing that most of our friends are mid-20s and dont have a few extra thousand to throw around at any given time.
We also let our wedding party choose when they wanted to do the bachelorette/bachelor trips and ended up holding them a full 12 months before the destination wedding. It didnt take away from the celebrations, but actually helped spread things out a bit. Plus, nobody wants to go to Vegas and spend a ton of money on a bachelorette a month before a big international trip.
I also selected bridesmaid dresses that were all under $100 so they didnt have to break the bank for some costly designer dress nobody will ever wear again. And truthfully, the dresses looked just as good as the high priced ones!
How To Save Money On Your Destination Wedding
You want your loved ones to celebrate with you on your wedding day, but you dont want to burden them with a hefty price. Never fear! There are plenty of ways to save money on a destination wedding so you, your fiancé, and everyone on your guest list can enjoy your time and not worry about the bill.
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Our Wedding Planning Services
At Viva Destination Weddings we have arranged over 1,000 destination weddings across the world so we know how to get it right, every time. From liaising with the locations best suppliers, navigating complicated local marriage laws, organising travel arrangements and group rates for 100+ guests & so much more.
To make it a bit easier to understand how we help you plan your special day, take a look at our Gold & Diamond planning packages below or our wedding planning services flyer.
Let This Destination Wedding Guide Be Your Go
If youre thinking of having a destination wedding, you may be wondering how it will differ from a non-destination wedding, if at all. The truth is that just like regular weddings, no two destination weddings are exactly alike, which is what makes them so special. There are all different types of destination weddings, from lively beach bashes to quiet, intimate elopements in the forest. Maybe youre dreaming of a destination wedding because you and your partner love to travel, or maybe youre opting to have a destination wedding for practical reasons instead, like getting married closer to loved ones who cant come to you.
And while its true that pulling off a destination wedding might require a little more open-mindedness and patience, particularly if youre planning from very far away, we promise it will all be worth it in the end. Before you start planning, take this opportunity to brush up on our essential destination wedding advice.
Unless you already have a specific far-flung locale in mind, the task of choosing a location for your destination wedding can range from exciting to downright overwhelming. So many places in the world to see, so little time! But by considering your budget, wedding season, travel preferences, and personal style, youll be able to zero in on which part of the world realistically fits your wedding vision.
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