How to Plan a Destination Wedding

If you’re dreaming of tying the knot in a faraway place, you may be concerned about the logistics of making that dream a reality. However, destination weddings are becoming more and more popular and easier to plan. In fact, more than 20 percent of couples now opt for a getaway wedding.[1] With the right planning, you can tie the knot in the destination of your dreams!
[Edit]Steps [Edit]Choosing a Location Pick a place that’s meaningful or exciting to you and your partner. You may decide to say your vows in the place you got engaged, where you took your first vacation together, or in a parent or grandparent’s home country. Whatever destination you choose, you’ll want to make sure it’s somewhere both you and your partner want to make memories.[2] Even if you don’t choose somewhere with sentimental value, it’s still important to pick a location that appeals to you and that you think your guests would enjoy visiting. Research your destination’s climate and weather patterns. Your destination’s weather can have a big impact on your wedding. For example, if you know you want an outdoor wedding, you’ll want to avoid places with unpredictable weather patterns. Once you’ve researched your destination’s weather, you may have a better idea of what time of year would make most sense to schedule your nuptials.[3] Estimate travel costs for you and your guests. When choosing a destination for your wedding, it’s important to get a sense for how much you can expect to spend on airfare and accommodations and how much you’re asking your guests to spend. While you’re not expected to help cover your guests’ travel expenses, you may choose to discreetly help certain people buy their plane tickets and/or hotel rooms if you know they can’t afford them on their own.[4] If you’re flying halfway around the world, chances are your plane tickets will be expensive, and it’s important to take this into consideration when you choose your location.[5] Keep in mind that your guests may also have to take additional time off work to travel to your destination if they end up having to take multiple flights over many hours. Visit your destination ahead of time if possible. If your budget allows, it’s a good idea to travel to your location beforehand to make sure it’s really the place want to say your vows. This will also allow you to tour potential venues, meet with a local wedding planner, and establish a vision for your big day.[6] If you’re planning on hiring local vendors, this is also a good time to meet with potential caterers, photographers/videographers, hair and makeup professionals, and any other people who will contribute to your big day. Make sure to manage your costs by doing as much research as possible before your trip and scheduling appointments well in advance to avoid having to take multiple trips. You don’t want to end up spending your wedding budget on traveling back and forth before your wedding. Reserve your venue at least a year in advance. Your venue is one of the most important things you’ll need to think about when planning your destination wedding. You may be envisioning an intimate ceremony on the beach, an elegant cathedral wedding, or a cozy celebration at a mountaintop lodge. Whatever your vision for your big day, your venue will serve as the backdrop, so it’s important to choose it early in the process. Wedding venues book quickly, and you want to make sure you don’t miss out on your dream venue because you waited to long.[7] If you’re planning an outdoor wedding, you may want to choose a venue that has an indoor space available as a backup, in case of bad weather.[8] [Edit]Inviting Your Guests Send out wedding invitations at least 8 months in advance. Your guests will need to book flights and hotel rooms and may need to ask for time off work to attend your wedding. That’s why it’s important to give them plenty of advance notice. If possible, try to send out “save the date” cards even earlier (preferably 10-12 months before your wedding date) so your guests can plan ahead.[9] Keep in mind that not everyone will be able to attend. This is true for any wedding, but especially when you’re asking your guests to travel. Organize group accommodation for your guests. This will save them time, money, and the trouble of having to find and book a hotel on their own. Many hotels offer discounted rates for groups, and reserving a block of rooms ahead of time will ensure all of your guests have a comfortable place to stay once they arrive.[10] In many cases, if you’re getting married at a resort or lodge, group rates will be included in a wedding package. Create a wedding website with an itinerary and important details. This is your chance to showcase your love story and provide your guests with all the details they’ll need about your wedding and destination.[11] It’s a good idea to provide your guests with a list of local activities as well as an itinerary of all your wedding-related events. Make sure to include information on group accommodations and airfare. You’ll also want to include instructions on how to get to your venue. Welcome your guests when they arrive at your destination. Ideally, you’ll be able to greet them in person upon their arrival. Otherwise, leaving welcome notes and gift bags full of destination essentials (like sunscreen, bug spray, and flip-flops) is a great way to make them feel welcome and included.[12] [Edit]Planning the Details and Getting Help Develop a budget and stick to it. Together with your partner (and any family members who may be helping pay for your wedding), you’ll want to decide exactly how much you can afford to spend. It’s important to do plenty of research so you have an idea of how much each individual aspect of your wedding is likely to cost. Although weddings can be expensive, it is possible to plan the day of your dreams on a budget. Destination weddings aren’t necessarily more expensive than traditional ones and can even save you money in some cases.[13] However, it’s still important to have a reasonable, well-thought out budget and consider any extra expenses you’re likely to incur. Enlist the help of a local wedding planner. Since you’re unlikely to be able to travel back and forth multiple times to attend various appointments and meet with local vendors, it’s a good idea to hire someone you can trust to take care of these details on your behalf. Some venues and wedding packages provide a wedding specialist.[14] In other cases, you’ll need to hire someone on your own. Either way, make sure you clearly communicate your vision and ideas to whoever will be helping you plan your special day. Especially if there’s a language barrier, choosing an all-inclusive package where your venue does most of the work for you can take away a lot of pressure and stress. Set a date, keeping the weather and your budget in mind. Consider your destination’s peak season when you decide on a date for your wedding. There may be certain seasons that are more crowded and touristy than others, and venue and vendor fees may be much higher during these times. Having your wedding during your destination’s “off-season” may save you money, but keep in mind that some vendors may only operate during peak season and inclement weather may be more likely.[15] It’s also a good idea to talk to your wedding party, as well as your close family and friends, before setting a date to make sure they’re available. Find and vet your vendors carefully. Your wedding planner may have a list of vendors they regularly work with and trust in the area, so talking to them is a good place to start. You’ll also want to look at any potential vendors’ online portfolios and ask them for references. [16] If possible, plan a trip to meet with your vendors in person. If that’s not feasible, consider scheduling meetings via video chat. You can also opt to bring certain vendors with you. For example, if you have a photographer you really like, or a friend who does hair and makeup, it might be worth flying them out for your wedding. Buy your plane tickets at least 6 months in advance. Airline ticket prices vary from season to season and can be unpredictable.[17] The earlier you start looking for a good deal, the better. For a trip as important as your wedding, you definitely don’t want to wait until the last minute to book your flight. Dress according to your destination’s weather. If you’re getting married in a warm, tropical climate, you probably don’t want to be wearing a heavy ball gown or wool suit. Also, keep in mind that high heels aren’t well suited to ceremonies on sandy beaches.[18] Make sure to suggest appropriate attire to your guests as well. You can do this on your invitations or wedding website. Arrive a few days early to help with final preparations. If possible, fly to your destination ahead of time to meet with your planner, tour your venue, rehearse for your ceremony, and make final arrangements.[19] Arriving early can also help calm your nerves and prevent you from being jet-lagged on your special day. [Edit]Video [Edit]References [Edit]Quick Summary ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑