While exhilarating, planning a wedding can be quite challenging. In particular, planning a destination wedding comes with challenges beyond those usually associated with a traditional wedding. Here are four tips for planning the wedding. These tips will ensure the experience is hassle-free and enjoyable for both you and your guests.
1. Hire a travel consultant with plenty of experience planning destination weddings.
A knowledgeable destination-wedding specialist will save you great hassle and money when choosing reliable vendors and the best location or resort for your wedding! A destination wedding planner is essential if you aren't planning to take a pre-wedding trip. I recommend the phenomenal Dana Watts with Thyme & Details. We recommend a pre-wedding trip to taste the food, check out the venues, and see if the service is up to your standards. With years of experience working with vendors at different locations, you can trust an experienced consultant to make sure that your wedding comes off without a hitch (In this case, you probably want the wedding to go off with a hitch, haha)
2. Pick your wedding destination with care.
First, you must settle on the type of wedding you want. For example, do you wish to be married at sunset on the beach? Do you prefer a vineyard in Tuscany? Or perhaps you want to channel your inner princess and get married at a castle in France? Several destinations would likely be available depending on the type of wedding you desire. But before you decide, do the following:
Make a list of priority guests, i.e., the people you most want to attend your wedding. Ask yourselves if the destination you have in mind would appeal to most of your priority guests. For example, you wouldn't want to pick an adults-only all-inclusive if most of your priority guests have children. They might not be able to find someone to care for their children.
The more you can make the wedding destination a desirable vacation destination for your guests, the better.
Make a realistic estimation of the cost-per-person that your guests would find reasonable.
Pick a time when the majority of your priority guests can travel. You would not want to have a Fall Wedding if your parents could only take time off in the summer.
An experienced destination-wedding consultant can help you with these and other questions.
3. Send out a "Save the Date" card at least ten months before your wedding date, ask guests to provide an initial RSVP, and have a separate time for the final RSVP.
Be very considerate of your guests' needs because they must go out of their way to attend the wedding and reception. By working with a travel consultant with experience in planning destination weddings, you can arrange group pricing for airline tickets, hotel/resort stays, transportation, activities, etc. The more comfortable you make it for your guests to book their trip, the better!
Plus, by giving them the name of your travel consultant, you can avoid having to deal with complaints about pricing, arranging specialized accommodation/transportation for guests with disabilities or those with children, etc. The guest number will fluctuate. People will RSVP and then not be able to make it. A travel consultant will be able to quickly and efficiently make adjustments to the room allocations. They will also collect payments and keep track of room requests.
4. Pay attention to legal requirements!
Different destinations have different legal requirements that need to be fulfilled for your wedding to be recognized by your home country—plan on bringing birth certificates, pasa sport, and a divorce decree if you were previously married. Your destination will likely have other document requirements. Without the correct documents, you won't be getting married!
5. Ensure peace of mind for you and your guests
By working with an experienced travel consultant, all your communications with vendors, resorts, etc., are handled for you so that nothing is missed. Your travel consultant can also leverage their previous business with vendors, retreats, etc. to get you special treatment, pricing, upgrades, and other add-ons.
Your guests will have the peace of mind of working with a professional who can handle their needs, from different check-in and check-out times to special dietary requirements. Finally, your travel consultant can help arrange travel insurance for you and your group. We recommend canceling for any reason coverage so that everyone has peace of mind of knowing that their monetary investment is protected.
Hiring an experienced Destination Wedding Planner will be invaluable if you take anything away from this blog. There are a lot of moving parts to a destination wedding. Hire someone to take all the burden off your shoulders. You will thank me when you aren't combing through thousands of email requests (everything from not having to room near so and so to making dining reservations). Planning a destination wedding is not a marathon; it's a triathlon. Get help!