Destination weddings should be a dream come true. Making it a reality can entail a certain set of struggles that are not present for other events. Because of the distance between you and the venue and vendors etc, it can be difficult to communicate your exact vision. This is why hiring us as your wedding planner can be a lifesaver! You can relax and enjoy your engagement and any hen/stag parties you want, all while we handle the stress of creating your dream wedding day.
Here are some struggles that we can help ease;
Check Legal Requirements
Different countries have different laws about marriage, so it is important to look into what they are where you are getting married. You don't want to come back from a lovely honeymoon and then find out that you're not legally married! This is, unfortunately, a big risk for lgbtq+ couples marrying abroad, as a lot of countries still do not allow this and in some, it is illegal to even be in a same-sex relationship. But for all weddings, it is important to look into what the country or state requires and plan accordingly.
Guests' Ability to Attend
The biggest downside to having a destination wedding is that some of your guests, won't be able to attend for one reason or another. They may have work that they can't get out of, children who have to go to school, not be able to afford it or even that they don't feel comfortable going to the country you have chosen. A way around this is to have a smaller party when you are home with everyone, but it isn't the same and will cost extra money.
Give Your Guests Plenty of Notice
A way to ensure the most amount of guests is to notify them early, this way they can take time off work, notify schools if necessary and possibly save up for it. This also gives you lots of time to plan everything and make changes according to how many guests are attending. It will also give you time to answer any questions your guests may have.
Location and Accessibility
When choosing a location, you want to consider sentiment and look. But also the logistics of having your wedding there. If some of your guests are elderly or disabled, don't have your wedding somewhere that requires lots of walking, or is inaccessible. Or if you or some of your guests have hay fever, don't have the wedding in a field of flowers. Not only do you have to think about the venue location but also the country you are going to. Do they have any laws that could cause discomfort to you or any of your guests? Are there health warnings, violence or political issues? If you still want to go to the country and there is anything that could upset your guests. Make sure you inform everyone of the issues and do not be offended if people do not feel comfortable going.
Wedding and Climate
It is important to take into account what the weather and terrain are like where you are getting married, for all aspects of your wedding. But especially for clothes and catering.
For a hot climate, you will want a dress/suit that is breathable and ideally has layers that you can take off if you get too hot. On the other hand, in cold weather, you want to be warm enough. So don't wear a strapless dress with no coat or shawl. You also need to consider the terrain and how easy it is to walk around in your dress and shoes. It may not be the best idea to wear 10" stilettos if the wedding is in a field or requires lots of walking. If you are wearing heels, it may be an idea to also have some flats ready for dancing and/or when your feet start to hurt. Catering will be a lot easier to handle if you are hiring a local caterer who knows the best foods for the climate. You still get to choose what is served but it is easier to have their input on what will or won't work. Like having a hot stew and stodgy pudding in a hot climate, or having ice cream in freezing weather.
You do not need to pay for accommodation for your guests, though it could mean certain people can attend that couldn't if they had to pay themselves. But it is always appreciated if you can recommend hotels at different price points. You could hire a block of rooms in one hotel so that you can then negotiate a lower price. It is probably a good idea for all guests to be within 10-15 minutes away from the wedding venue, whether it is all in one place or not.
A great way to save money and support small businesses is to shop local. Use the vendors near where you will have the wedding for flowers, the cake and even for hair and makeup. Consider flying out a week or so before the wedding to get everything ready. It means you can get nails done, get your hair cut or have a pamper day for you and your partner. This also gives you time to have a trial with your makeup and hair people so that on the wedding day everything goes as planned. This will also be a great way to have the local culture and fashions in your wedding, helping it fit in with the venue more.
Entertainment and Activities
Guests that have travelled far to attend your wedding will usually stay for more than just one night. To make the trip worth the money and effort your guests have put in, it may be a nice gesture to plan some events that the guests can enjoy. Whether you are there is up to you, they will understand that you are busy. If you plan an event after the wedding it could be a good way to transition into the honeymoon. Plan an after-party just for your guests while you are on your way to your honeymoon. Another idea is to have a welcome party for all your guests, just to show your appreciation for them all coming. You could also organise something for the children if any are coming. Especially if you want a childfree wedding, you can hire childcare for everyone. Or if you're feeling extra generous, plan a party for the kids while the parents can relax at the wedding, knowing their children are safe.
A good way to keep your guests updated without bombarding them with information is to create a wedding website. This will not only be a nice way to remember the wedding in the future but will also mean that all the information is in one, easy to access place. It is important to remember to tell your guests about the website and send them a link so they can stay updated and check it whenever is convenient to them. It could also be a way to keep family and friends that cannot attend feel included, maybe by live-streaming the wedding or by having them help in the planning process.
Destination weddings have lots of hidden costs, such as shipping costs, baggage fees, non-vendor tips and exchange rates. These are all things people may not think of as wedding expenses but they will very quickly eat away at your budget. A good idea is to have some cash in the local currency. You can take out what is left of your budget or what you are comfortable going over budget, this way it will be easier to keep track of what you are spending last minute.
Written by Sanne @eatoneventhire