A destination wedding is exciting and romantic. However, when it comes to planning and logistics, there are a few unique challenges that need to be dealt with. If you are planning a destination wedding, these are a few tips and things you should keep in mind so that you and your guests have the best experience possible!
Choose a Location that Can Accommodate a Wedding
You may dream of throwing your wedding in a quaint, tiny town in rural Italy you visited when you were a child – but logistically, it might be more of a nightmare than it is worth. Keep in mind that you’ll need access to vendors, reasonable transportation, as well as ample lodging options in close proximity to fit your guests. Keep these things in mind as you are narrowing down your locations.
Visit Your Location
It can get pricey, but it is important that you actually physically visit your venue. Plan to see the place before booking, and then come back a few months before the wedding to set everything in stone with the venue staff and vendors. The first trip will also give you an opportunity to meet with local vendors.
Send Out Your Wedding Invites Early
Destination weddings require more planning for your guests, so you’ll need to give them ample time. They’ll have flights and hotels to book, and may need to arrange to take time off work – so the more time the better! For destination weddings, it is recommended that you send out invitations at least 3 to 4 months in advance. This means sending save the dates 8 to 12 months early.
Get Help from a Pro
Planning a destination wedding can be complicated. Working with a wedding planner who specializes in destination weddings will make your job a lot easier. They’ll be able to guide you through any unique challenges and make sure everything is checked off your to-do list. If your destination wedding is in a country that speaks another language, it can be a major plus if the planner speaks it.
Provide Lodging Options for All Budgets
Hotel and lodging costs can put a strain on wedding guests on a tight budget, especially if your destination wedding is in a more popular tourist spot. Do some research to find hotels that fit all price points so that guests can pick an option that works best for them. Look into sites like Airbnb and VRBO – if there are rentals of great value, you can recommend your guests there, as well.
Provide Local Activities on Your Wedding Website
Your guests will likely be spending more than just one night at your destination. Allow them to fully take advantage of their vacation by providing recommendations for the area. Think of local sights, activities, restaurants, and bars. If children will be attending your wedding, be sure to include family-friendly activities and restaurants, as well.
Plan an Additional Get-Together For the Weekend
You’ll have all of your loved ones together in this special place, so plan additional activities to take advantage of the time you have and the beautiful destination! It is also a great way to show your appreciation for them traveling and taking time out of their lives to celebrate with you. You could do a welcome cocktail party the night before, or a brunch or lunch the following day. Depending on your destination, you could even plan location-specific excursions – like a beach day or a hike.
Remind Everyone to Have Their Passports Ready
If you are jetting out of the country, you’ll want to make sure everyone is properly prepared with the right documentation. Remind guests (particularly family and wedding party members) to make sure all their necessary documents are up-to-date.
Buy Your Plane Tickets Early
You’ll have your wedding date set far in advance, so why not take advantage of it? Get the early-bird savings by booking your plane tickets as soon as possible.
Carry Your Dress and Valuables on Board
You don’t want your wedding dress to be a casualty of lost luggage. Play it safe and carry your wedding dress on board with you. It is a bit inconvenient, but you’ll feel much more at ease having it with you. The same goes for other important items, like your rings. Make sure there are accommodations to steam your dress once you are at your destination.
If you are in the process of planning your wedding, come to the next Georgia Bridal Show near you. You will have the chance to meet with professional wedding vendors – including travel agents and wedding planners – of all talents who can help bring your vision to life!