Tips for having a destination wedding :
- hire a good planner – I cannot emphasize how helpful it was to have someone local to help plan your destination wedding. Many country’s websites are about 10 years behind so having a planner will definitely help you keep sane throughout the process!
- research the best location – Make sure to factor in all travel time, not just the flight. Some of the best destination wedding venues can be hours away from the nearest airport. Your guests won’t expect you to cover their flight cost but you could cover the shuttle cost to close the gap between the airport and the final destination. We got our guests flight information with the help of google questionnaires.
- check it out – You may have to book the venue site unseen but it’s a good idea to get a lay of the land a few months in advance. This way you can provide more information and advice to your guests and so you can design your wedding more appropriately for the location.
- non-wedding day activities – Most likely your guests are going to make a vacation out of the trip, do some research and find local attractions to make sure they have a great time and it will be a trip that they will never forget!
- plan in advance – Since we are wedding photographers we had to plan our wedding much farther out than the average person. With that said, if you want people travel to your wedding, giving them enough notice is important so that people can make proper arrangements.
- plan for bad (or good!) weather – Some of the most beautiful places have the most random weather. Just roll with it and incorporate the weather as a part of your big day.
- make it legit – Many countries will charge a few $100 to make it legal but you don’t have to, you can always get a friend to officiate and make it legal in the states before or after your real wedding date.
- good timing – Make sure the timing works for everyone. Pick a good season for the location you will be going. If kids are going, summers work great so they have time off from school. Plan over a holiday weekend so people get time off of work. If it’s going to be rainy season just make sure to be prepared.
- dress appropriately – Having a beach wedding? Wear a beachy dress or don’t wear any shoes. Getting married near a mountain in winter? Bring a cute cover up. etc.
- local cuisine – Your caterer will likely do best at what he knows best, often times this will be the local cuisine!
- website – Make a website to help with organizing RSVPs. Make a list of local attractions, restaurants, and hotels for guests. Tell a little bit about your story as a couple. This resource will be hugely beneficial for your guests.
- consider shipping details – Or bringing them with you, there are many things you will not be able to find locally.
- get on a frequent flyer program – Buy tickets for a few family members that can not afford the cost of a ticket with air miles. We are now platinum on delta’s sky mile program we can have up to 3 checked luggages each and they can weigh up to 70lbs, pretty good deal if you ask me.
- hire a good photographer – Obviously this has to be on here. When you’re looking for a photographer for a destination wedding, don’t just search locally, search anywhere. It seems economical to hire someone local but the talent pool is not as great as it is going to be in bigger cities in the states. Also, find someone that can really utilize the beautiful location you have selected.
Tips from destination brides :
- ” Prioritize. Our wedding planner made us pick our top three things and those things got more of our money, attention and energy. Photography was our top top top number 1 priority, so we focused more on that than say, lighting. In a sea of things to worry about it gives you an island to focus on. ” – Caitlin, Austin, TX
- “Take a breath and take it all in!” – Leigh, Horse Shoe Bay, TX
- “Everything they say is true! The day goes by in the blink of an eye. Be prepared and have things lined up by Thursday. I made sure everything was done – drop offs, pickups, tips, confirmations, everything! So that on Friday, when your guests start arriving for the rehearsal, you can really just begin to enjoy your weekend! Having a tight timeline ahead of time, gave us the opportunity to spend time visiting with our friends and family and not stressing about things that still needed to be done. Enjoy every minute! ” – Suzanne, Santa Cruz, CA
- “Try to stay connected with each other and not get lost in the details. We started journals to record all the little things we love and appreciate about each other. It’s not all about the wedding day, it’s about the life you want to build with your bestie.” – Helen, Cabrera, Dominican Republic
- “I’ve read that your wedding day flies by in front of your eyes, and it is so true. So much time and energy went into the planning but so little time to take it all in. It sounds cliche, but really my advice to future brides and grooms would be to really enjoy the day. Savor each moment, don’t get caught up on the things that didn’t happen, but rather on the things that are happening. Our wedding didn’t go 100% as we planned, but it went perfectly! In the end it’s the people there that you will remember and the happy memories that you will cherish for a lifetime!” – Ying, Antigua, Guatemala
- “My biggest piece of advice for brides and grooms planning their wedding today would be start planning early. I can’t stress this enough. Your wedding day was meant to be stress-free and it’s important to get all the details out of the way early. If your budget allows, hire a wedding planner or a day-of coordinator. These planners know their stuff and give good advice. You know the old adage, “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”? Well, your wedding is no exception to the rule. Despite the best efforts of many detail-oriented brides (trust me, I’m one of them), something may go wrong. So, go with the flow and don’t let the “small stuff” stain your memories. Additionally, if something does go wrong, don’t let guests in on your frustrations; your family and friends will feed off your vibe- so just enjoy it! In a few weeks, you won’t even remember your guests were rained on. True story.” – Camillia, San Juan, Puerto Rico