Destination weddings are becoming very popular with soon to be-wed couples or couples renewing their vows. Many are choosing to share their union and celebration with friends and families in exotic, cultural or historic locations that elicit romance and beauty, such as Mexico, Jamaica, Paris, Italy or South Africa, to name a few. For the guests, it maybe a perfect way to get that much needed vacation. And for the couple, they can also include their honeymoon at their destination.
Sounds great? Well it can be. However, here are some important tips to planning your destination wedding. Keep these in mind along your way.
- Decide the feel, look and location where you would like to share your union and celebration with other.
- Determine what time of year and weather conditions is right for you. The time of year and weather could play an important part in planning a destination wedding. For example, August and September temperatures in Cabo San Lucas could reach above the 100 degree mark. You may meet sunny and rainy weather from late summer to fall in Costa Rica.
- Determine Your Guest List.
- Define a Budget and plan for every detail that will be a part of your wedding.
- Enlist the services of a wedding planner, especially a planner who has knowledge about destination weddings.
- Evaluate transportation: Your travel, and if you are paying for bridal party travel and accommodations.
- If you are planning to bring your own photographer or other vendors, remember to consider their fees, travel and accommodations in your budget.
- Remember, if you enlist the services of your own vendors, you may be charged additional fees for not using a venue’s approved vendors.
- Plan your accommodations: Your own, family, friends and vendors.
- Create a vision or Inspiration Board: Creating an Inspiration Board will help communicate your vision with your planner and all destination-wedding professionals.
- Establish a wedding website and list your activities. Update it frequently with your wedding details. It will keep your guests in the loop as you progress with your wedding plans.
- Design, mail or email “Save the Dates” as soon as you can. This gives your guests the opportunity to plan ahead for travel and make necessary arrangements.
- Honor your guests traveling from afar with a “Welcome” reception to give everyone a chance to get to know each other before the happy day.
- If your wedding is in a remote area, plan to engage shuttle services to transport guests; remember to include the costs in your budget.
- Plan bridal and bridal party transportation to and from venue, if your ceremony and reception is not at your hotel.
- If you have found the perfect villa or location, make sure there is easy is transportation accessibility for your guests.
- Flowers, linens and rentals: Keep in mind that not all colors of flowers; decor and rental items are available at many destination venues.
- Remember that there maybe a language and communication barrier. Although email is wonderful, be sure to communicate verbally by telephone. This will help avert any communication issues, and prevent or minimize wedding day mishaps and disappointments.
- Enlist the services of a local, recommended wedding professional coordinator/planner to assist with all coordination. They will know who are the local wedding professionals and may act as a liaison with your wedding planner.
- Get clear communication as to what services the destination coordinator provides.
- Guests’ welcome baskets and favors: It maybe better to work with the onsite coordinator in creating favors and welcome baskets that are indigenous to the area, interesting, fun and useful! This is a wonderful way to welcome and honor your guests, who have traveled a great distance to celebrate your special day!
- Make sure there are activities that everyone will enjoy. This will make for a memorable wedding and mini-vacation for everyone.
- If you are getting married outside of the United States, consult with the country’s local authorities regarding their legal requirements.
- Remember life is not perfect and things do not always go as planned. So, even if the flowers are not the exact color of pink that you envisioned -enjoy your special day. Yes, it is your day, however you are also the hosts and your mood will determine whether your guests will have a wonderful time. Relax, enjoy and be happy!
So, now that you have tips that will help you plan a fabulous wedding? What’s your destination? Italy, Paris, Mexico, Jamaica?