How do I Plan a Destination Wedding?
Planning a destination wedding often makes sense if you want to keep the wedding small or have your heart set on getting married in secluded, romantic place. Depending on whether you choose a tropical island or a place with striking scenery like St. George, Utah, you may even save a bit of money. These destination wedding tips will help get your event planning off to a great start.
Choosing Your Wedding Destination
Your wedding is one of the most important events of your life, so the location you choose should be extra special. Ideally, you should think about a location that pleases both the bride and groom.
Consider your likes and dislikes. Do you enjoy the outdoors and like to explore new places, like the national parks in the southwestern United States? Or does the Caribbean sound like the ultimate place to marry and honeymoon?
After choosing a few destinations, consider which months during the year offer the nicest weather for your wedding. It is good to remember that the best weather usually occurs during most tourist seasons, which may mean higher hotel and travel costs. Planning your wedding destination right before or after tourist season can save you a good deal of money. You’ll want to make sure the location is affordable for both you and your guests.
Make Legal Marriage Requirements a Top Priority
It is not unusual to overlook marriage requirements when you’re busy with so many wedding decisions. However, you’ll want to check residency requirements, special documents, blood sample stipulations and the number of witnesses required in other countries to make your marriage legal.
Some countries may only require a minimum of 24 hours to meet residency requirements, while others could be more than 30 days. These residency requirements may make you reconsider your wedding destination.
Planning Your Budget
It makes sense for couples to set their budget for the wedding and reception before starting to plan the wedding. What may start out as a relatively inexpensive wedding can often blossom into a nightmare of expenses. Use the Internet and make a few calls to get current rates for accommodations, vendors and travel costs to determine a realistic budget.
Make sure you plan all the details of the wedding far in advance of your wedding day. For typical weddings in the states, guests should receive invitations eight weeks in advance. However, if you’re expecting guests to travel, you should give guests at least a minimum of four months advance notice.
This gives everyone time to schedule vacation days, shop for wedding attire, buy gifts, book flights and check out accommodations. Brides also need to ensure they have the time to tie up all the wedding preparations when they are event planning.
There are often unforeseen complications to be worked out if you’re holding the wedding in another state or country. So allow yourself and your guests some extra time to prepare.
Booking Accommodations & Travel Arrangements
Here are some important destination wedding tips for traveling:
- Reserving rooms and airline seats early is the best way to assure that everyone arrives at the destination on time and with no hassles.
- You can book hotel rooms and airline tickets yourself, go through a travel agent, or use a wedding planner or coordinator to handle these arrangements for you.
- After confirming the number of guests that will be attending your wedding, you may be able to book a hotel or resort and receive a group discount.
- Ask about minimum stay requirements to make sure they fit in with your budget and plans.
- If you’re going to a destination where there could be severe weather conditions that make your wedding impossible, you might want to consider purchasing wedding and travel insurance.
Wedding Venues and Planners
Every bride and groom may have their own opinion about planning their wedding. However, sometimes it makes things so much smoother if you hire professionals. Especially, when planning to use a venue in another country.
You can hire a professional wedding planner that will confer with you about your requirements, and they’ll likely make many great suggestions that you haven’t considered. Of course, you‘ll have to pay for their services, but you may save money in the long run because of their expertise in planning weddings.
Wedding planners can hire caterers, photographers, florists, musicians and book wedding venues. Essentially, wedding planners oversee the entire event for you.
In addition, many resorts and hotels offer package deals, and they have their own wedding planners on hand to take care of wedding arrangements for you. After selecting your destination, contact several venues and resorts to discuss the possibility of using their wedding planner.
Planning the Wedding Reception
- If you’ve decided to plan your wedding at some exotic paradise, make it a day to remember by serving the local foods and even observing some of the customs.
- Choose a menu based on the chef’s recommendations for local cuisine. He knows how to cook his specialties, and you can be assured he will provide a feast to remember.
- If you’re having an outdoor wedding, take advantage of the natural beauty in the area. Choose floral arrangements and plants that are native to the area to enhance the wedding reception.
- Always consider the possibility of strong breezes and wind when planning an outdoor reception. Arrange to tie down decorations and keep décor simple.
- Think about hiring local musicians to give your reception a festive and fun atmosphere. Make sure you go over the music selections carefully so there are a variety of songs suitable for dancing.
- Asking friends, family and co-workers for vendor referrals is a great way to find good professionals. You can also research vendors online and check customer review sites to learn about positive and poor experiences with various vendors.
- If you’re hiring individual vendors like photographers and caterers, you can expect to put down a deposit and may be required to sign a contract.
- Paying vendors with charge cards gives you a record of all your expenses for wedding activities. It also gives you the ability to stop the payment if you run into problems.
- You only have one chance to capture the precious moments of your wedding and reception with photos. Make sure you hire a professional. Interview several photographers, and ask for samples of their work.
Tips for Choosing Wedding Attire
Research the climate conditions of your wedding destination before selecting a gown and dresses for bridesmaids. If you’re having an outdoor wedding, make sure dresses will be comfortable and cool in humid climates.
Consider renting wedding attire. You may save a lot of money that you could put towards a fantastic honeymoon or a nest egg.
If you’re planning to transport your wedding dress to a wedding destination in the US, you shouldn’t have any problems. However, if flying outside the US, contact the airlines to discuss packing requirements.
Ask wedding guests to RSVP well in advance, so you have a good idea of how many people will be attending the wedding and reception.
If you’re planning a large affair, consider setting up a website just for the trip, wedding and reception. You can keep all your guests informed easily, and everyone will have the same information.
Provide wedding guests with maps and local information about nearby restaurants and activities, so they’ll have an enjoyable stay.
Make sure guests are aware of their financial responsibilities when traveling to a wedding destination.
- Always have a couple of backup plans in mind, just in case the weather turns bad or something comes up unexpectedly.
- It’s usually best to pack your own makeup and personal belongings from home, rather than assuming you can purchase them at your destination.
Planning a destination wedding can be exciting and fun for everyone when done properly. If you need help arranging travel, booking resorts or interviewing vendors, consider hiring a wedding planner or coordinator, like St. George Events & Occasions.
We would love to help plan your special day! We have the experience and the rentals that you need to make your wedding in southern Utah a success. When you choose St. George or one of the surrounding areas for your destination wedding, you will not have to worry about undesirable weather, foreign travel snafus, or complicated legal requirements for your wedding license. You can focus on the gorgeous scenery and enjoying your celebration with your family and friends.