Imagine your dream destination wedding; perhaps it's on a white, sandy beach where you'll get married under palm trees, surrounded by friends and family. Or maybe you've always wanted a winter destination wedding, complete with snow capped mountain peaks, charmingly rustic chalets and time to go skiing with your friends and family. Whatever you dream of for your big day, there are some things to think about before booking your destination wedding. While an exotic wedding and honeymoon in one might sound ideal, careful planning is essential to ensure it all goes smoothly! Here are 11 super important things to consider before booking your destination wedding venue:
1. Really consider all aspects of the location
As great as that tropical beach might look in photos, planning a wedding on it may be complicated. Besides the logistics of whipping your family and friends away, you should also consider which holidays may occur at the same time, both at home and in the country you'll be visiting. You’ll also want to keep in mind when peak seasons are, as crowds (and costs!) will increase during popular vacation times. Alternatively, you don't want to book your destination wedding during monsoon or blizzard season; besides the adverse weather, you'll likely discover many seasonal closures for shops and amenities.
2. Make (and stick to!) a budget
While this tip sounds obvious for anyone planning their big day, it's easy for destination wedding expenses to get out of hand. Lots of little costs can quickly add up, from extra baggage charges at the airport to planning activities or buying drinks for your guests in the days leading up to your ceremony.
3. Consider future currency exchange rates
It's also essential to keep current with exchange rates. As a savvy bride you may book your destination wedding at a time when your currency is strong, but between now and your big day that could change, meaning everything you can't pay for in advance may cost more than you're expecting.
4. Don’t rely on the Internet
If your heart is set on a destination wedding, you should make it a point to visit the location at least once prior to saying "I do." Perhaps you fell in love with a certain location during a previous holiday; while this can give you an idea of what to expect, hosting a wedding is vastly different from a couples' getaway. As professional as many popular destination wedding venues are online, can you really afford to take chances? Booking online can be risky because you won't truly know what vendors and supplies are like until you've seen them in person.
5. Hire an experienced wedding consultant
With the multitude of wedding planning material available, from Pinterest accounts to apps to step-by-step guidebooks, some girls are hesitant to see the value in hiring a wedding consultant. However, organizing your destination nuptials is like running the wedding Olympics! It can be more challenging and twice as complicated to take on, with so many factors to consider. Some wedding consultant specialize in destination weddings, and their experience and knowledge of popular venues can prevent you from feeling overwhelmed. Plus, your destination wedding consultant may be able to visit the location in advance, ensuring venues and supplies are the quality you'd expect.
6. Research legal requirements
The process you'll go through to be legally married is a bit more complicated when you're opting for a destination wedding. Not only will you have to find out what the requirements are in your chosen location, but you may need to go through an additional civil ceremony to obtain a marriage certificate in your own country, making your destination wedding symbolic.
7. Research medical & residency requirements
Some countries may require you to obtain blood tests prior to your wedding, while others have residency restrictions, ranging from 24 hours to over a month. If you've always dreamed of a wedding in Paris, for example, be aware you'll need to stay in France for a whopping 40 days prior to your ceremony!
8. Prepare to hear “no” from guests
When you decide on a destination wedding, you should expect some guests to not attend- but receiving multiple "no" RSVPs may feel different when it actually happens. You should also be willing to hear a few complaints from friends or family members at the mention of a destination wedding. If you have your heart set on a destination wedding, think about what arrangements you're prepared to make if a favourite aunt or close friend can't afford the expense or time away to attend.
9. Pack like a boss
Holiday packing can be tough enough, but packing for your wedding is a whole different ballgame. Make a thorough list and review it with your wedding planner, then stick to it when packing. This is especially important if you're off to a remote location , which might not have the amenities you're used to if you forget something. It's also a great idea to contact your airline ahead of time and learn about the requirements for bringing your dress as a carry on.
10. Respect local customs
Keep in mind what attracted you to your wedding destination; was it the ancient culture, vibrant and luxurious cities or perhaps the spirituality of the place? Spend a little time researching customs and practices you and your wedding guests might need to consider, specifically about to religion, dress codes and the consumption of alcohol.
11. Dress appropriately
As mentioned above, this may be a consideration for cultural reasons. On a more practical note, however, it's imperative depending on the climate in your wedding destination. For example, if you love fairy tale ball gowns and can't imagine your groom not wearing a tux, you may want to avoid the sweltering heat at a tropical beach resort. It's also wise to imagine and address scenarios such as the train of your dress dragging in the sand or grass during an outdoor ceremony. Don't feel discouraged; if you really want a destination wedding, you can make it happen. Your special day only happens once, and with a little extra effort it will be a memory you'll treasure for many years to come.