Top 15 Destination Wedding Tips

by Becca Hadley

Getting ready to plan your own destination wedding?  Check out this dreamy one below along with some of our BEST destination wedding tips!

1. Get started planning EARLY!  Destination weddings tend to take a bit more planning than a typically wedding so the sooner you can start planning the better!

2. Be sure to send your invitation out in plenty of time so your guests have plenty of time to book their travel to join you for your big day!  We recommend sending out save the dates first about 10-12 months in advance with enough details for people to get started booking travel (hotel reservation details, locations, dates, etc.) and then invitations about 2-3 months ahead of time.

3. Location, location, location!  Location is KEY!  Pick a place that you love and that will set the theme of your wedding.  Be sure to keep in mind local weather [hurricane season lasts from July - October] and holidays when deciding about dates as well!  

4. Take a trip!  We can't stress this one enough!  Take a trip to your location to scope out your perfect location, accommodations and suppliers.  This will take a HUGE load off your shoulders.

5. Make sure you research local marriage requirements.  Other countries often countries have a "residency requirement" meaning you must reside in the country for a certain length of time before your ceremony.  It can be just a few days or sometimes longer!  For example France requires you to arrive at least 40 days before you marry whereas England only requires 7!

6. Warn your wedding Party BEFORE they commit.  Make sure to give your wedding party a heads up about your wedding being a destination wedding before they commit to being by your side.  They may need time to figure out finances or have to pass on the adventure.

7.  Dress the part.  Make sure you consider your locations whether when planning attire.  You don't want to be sweating up a storm in a long gown as you say "I do" on the island!  Keep in mind both you and your wedding party will have to have room to pack your attire!

8. Pick your priorities!  There often will be extra expenses involved in a destination wedding [IE travel expenses, visas, welcome bags for your guests etc], be sure to set a strict budget and stick to!  Always plan for extra expenses to come up along the way.

9. Watch your numbers.  Some locations require a minimum guest count so you could end up paying for accommodations and food for guests who no show.  Other venues have very limited space so you need to be sure they can hold your guest list!

10. Remember currency exchange rates.  Always verify what currency prices and payments are made in to make sure no surprises come up along the way!  Keep in mind the exchange rate continually changes!  

11. Have a plan B.  Find out what options are available if suddenly an unexpected storm crashes your island paradise!  Better safe than sorry!

12.  Ask about special deal offers.  You may be able to score big time by planning your big day in the off season.

13.  Get it in writing!  You may be working with a culture that doesn't do formal contracts, draft a letter with the details you've agreed on, and have both you and your pro sign it.  That way you will be covered if there are any discrepancies!

14.  Consider using a travel agent.  Travel agents can negotiate group rates and help you manage cancelled flights or room bookings.

15. Get there early.  Getting to your destination a few days early will allow you to finalize all your details, make sure everything is in order and overcome any issues so there aren't last minute catastrophes!  

Most importantly, enjoy it! (: