Choosing to get married in another country may sound like the easy option. After all, you don’t have to deal with hundreds of guests and a terrifying seating plan, or worry about paying additional money for a honeymoon after the wedding. But, destination weddings do come with their own set of worries, so you still have to be thoroughly organized to pull it off. Here are some tips that could help you to plan the perfect wedding.
Know Your Budget
Knowing your budget from the outset will mean you’ll be able to figure out the types of destinations that are affordable to you and what type of wedding you can have. You may also want to figure out how long you’d like to stay in your destination, if you’ll be paying for guests to travel with you and other expenses, like the wedding breakfast. It can save you from overspending if you know the budget you want to stick to early on.
Choose Your Destination
Your destination will set the tone for the entire wedding and determine the kind of style you should go for. For example, getting married on a beach could indicate a free spirited, bohemian or elegant wedding, while getting married in a villa in Italy may be more rustic and classic. The destination you choose has to speak to you and your partner. Perhaps it’s somewhere you’ve frequently visited in the past, or perhaps it’s place where you got engaged. You want your guests to walk away from your wedding understanding why you chose the destination and what it means to you both. Finding the perfect destination will create memories that last a lifetime.
Check Your Seasons
The last thing you want to do is book a destination wedding for a wonderful outdoors affair and find that you’ve arrived during monsoon season. The last thing you want from your wedding is to look outside and see thunder and lightning. It’s so important to check the weather predictions for the time of year you plan to get married. Similarly, you may not want to travel during peak seasons. Imagine your wedding taking place on a beautiful white sands beach with clear blue water for as far as you can see…and sunbathers everywhere. You don’t want you favorite wedding photo to be spoiled by the family playing volleyball in the background. So, finding the perfect time to travel to your chosen destination can be tricky.
It can’t be said enough that wedding destinations should never be chosen based on pictures alone! If you have the time and the money, take a trip to visit your preferred destination beforehand. You’ll need to see where the ceremony will take place and if it suits your requirements. You’ll also need to speak with the event organizers and find out how they usually run their weddings. How many guests does the package cater for? Will you be able to have a rehearsal? Will they organize a florist, cake maker and photographer? For example, a Vittore Buzzi photographer is usually available for wedding photographs in Venice. Knowing as much about how your wedding will pan out will ensure there are less problems for you to deal with down the line.
Remember All the Extras
Once the destination is booked, it can be so exciting that you forget about planning and budgeting for all the extras. For example, your wedding dress may need alterations and you may have to pay extra to get your wedding dress to the venue, depending on its size and weight. Perhaps you’ll want to take your own decorations with you to personalize the venue, or you may want to take favors and welcome packs for your wedding guests. When you plan a destination wedding, it’s almost like planning a wedding and a holiday at the same time. Remember to pack travel essentials, like comfortable clothes, shoes and any necessary medications. Make sure your passport is up to date and purchase your travel insurance ahead of time.
Legally Married vs Destination Ceremony
If you want to be legally married the same day as your destination wedding, you’ll have to check the countries requirements on getting married. As foreigners getting married in a different country, there may be some requirements you’ll have to research before you go. For example, different countries require you to reside there for different lengths of time before allowing a marriage to go ahead. In Turks and Caicos, it’s as little as 24 hours, but in France, it’s forty days. That means if you want to get married in France as a foreigner, you need to arrive in the country forty days prior to your wedding. Of course, you could always get legally married in your own country before leaving for your destination and have the ceremony as something to remember with family and friends.
Hire a Wedding Planner
If you’ve dreamed of your perfect wedding for a long time, a destination wedding could be hard on you. That’s because you’re forced to give up control to someone else. Unlike planning a wedding in your own locality, you can’t keep an eye on all those little details that mean so much to you. You have to rely on the venue to get everything perfect, and for those brides who like to have control, that can be too much to bare. However, there are wedding planners all over the world who can take the burden off you. It’s their job to make sure every little detail is perfect and with a destination wedding, they can be there ahead of time to get everything in order. They’re also fantastic for when big problems arise, like the suitcase with the wedding dress in going missing. You’ll have someone at your side who can translate everything you say and ease your worries tenfold.
Learn to Relax
If you’re getting married on a tropical island somewhere, you may have to throw all the rules out the window. We’re so used to being busy and running our lives by the clock that it often comes as a big shock to us when we visit a place that’s far more laid back. So, if you’re wedding doesn’t start at exactly 2pm, that generally isn’t because the venue and its staff are lacking in punctuality; it’s because they’re used to being more relaxed. So, it’s best to try and go with the flow and enjoy yourself as soon as you arrive.
Let Your Guests Know
Destination weddings typically last longer than traditional weddings, cost more and require more planning from your guests. It’s a good idea to ask your bridesmaids and the rest of your bridal party in the early stages of planning. That way, if they have to pay for their own tickets and they can’t afford to, you can either pay from your own budget or allow them to gracefully decline your offer. You may find that some of your guests are unable to attend to various reasons, but that’s often to be expected with a destination wedding. The main thing to remember is that the wedding is about you and your partner.
Take Care of the Guests That Come
If there’s a large group of you travelling, you may be able to arrange group rates, saving your guests a significant amount of money. Make sure everyone knows the plan before travelling. It could be a good idea to put together a pack for your guests detailing directions to the airport, flying times, transport to the venue details and contact information for the venue itself. If you are separated from your guests for any reason or some of guests fly out on a different day, they’ll have everything they need to get to the destination safely.
Your Wedding Dress
Arguably the most important factor of a wedding for the bride, the wedding dress has to suit the destination you’ve chosen. You don’t want to be dragging a huge ball gown down the beach on a hot day. Similarly, you may find that the satin slim fitting gown you chose in the air-conditioned bridal store, sticks to your body with sweat as you walk down the aisle on your Caribbean island. The destination you’ve chosen will help you to narrow down what you can and cannot wear. That goes for the groom and groomsmen too. Is your groom better off in a short-sleeved shirt or are you planning a wedding in the snow?
Stay in Touch
Since you’re planning a wedding from a long distance, it’s important to stay in touch with everyone involved in bringing your wedding together. In the weeks leading to your wedding, contact your vendors and your venue by email and phone to establish whether you’re on track for everything or whether they anticipate any problems. Finalize last minute details and remember, now isn’t the time to be indecisive.
All in all, a destination wedding is the chance of a lifetime and certainly something you’ll cherish forever.
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