Planning a Destination Wedding: Follow these steps for the wedding of your dreams.
So you have weighed the pros and cons of having a destination wedding, You have spoken to friends and family, maybe even someone like me about the process, and now you are ready to proceed with your destination wedding. Every bride wants her wedding day to be picture perfect, and I would say that your destination wedding should even be more than picture perfect, especially given the fact that you will be getting married in a beautiful location. Great destination weddings don’t just happen; they are the result of a lot of hard work and proper planning. With that in mind, here is a great outline of the steps you need to take in order to have your dream destination wedding.
- Plan Early: It takes time to put together a wedding getaway. You and your guests will need adequate time and money to secure the accommodations and flights.
- Decide on a destination and location: Miles of white sand beaches, crystal blue waters, lush botanical gardens, exotic waterfalls, picturesque sunsets, and emerald mountains, so many destinations, so many choices! The best destination wedding location depends on your personality. The key is to match the perfect destination and location to your personality as a couple. A wedding consultant can make this process easy and successful.
- Secure The Date ASAP: Destination wedding popularity is increasing and dates for weddings get filled up fast. Once you know where you want to go, you will want to secure your wedding date at the location as soon as possible in the planning process. It is easier to change the date later, than miss out on the date you want. A destination wedding specialist can do all of this for you, saving you hours of stress and time.
- Decide on a Budget for you and your guests: Once you have the basics in place, you will need to think about your personal budget as well as a budget for your guests. The bride and groom usually save about 10,000 dollars when doing a destination wedding over a traditional wedding, but your guests will pay more. Try to stay in a price point you can afford. Many resorts offer a multitude of wedding packages that include your ceremony and reception. Choose the one that gives you the most quality at the price you can afford. A consultant can usually get great group rates for you and your guests.
- Start a guest list: Once you know your destination and budget, it will be time to decide on who you would like to have at your wedding. There will of course be certain people who you definitely want there, and then you can begin to decide on the others. Keep in mind the age and health of your guests. Some people may not be healthy enough for a long trip or a lot of walking. Also, some of your guests may not have the financial means to go to your wedding.
- Length of Stay: When trying to decide on your length of stay, you will need to decide if you will be planning to get married legally in the country that you are staying in, or if you will be getting married in the U.S first, and then having a symbolic ceremony. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Talking to a consultant can really help you decide on which option is best for you in your unique situation.
- Flights: The lowest airfare is not always the best option for your destination wedding. You should be on a flight that will get you to your resort as quickly as possible. You don’t want to have an 8hr lay over somewhere and arrive at your resort too late to enjoy your first day that you have already paid for. Not all flights are created equal.
- What Do You Pay For? Your guests should pay for their vacation package to your destination. That includes their air fare, hotel accommodations, and transfers to and from the airport. You should pay for any activities, events, dinners, or transportation that your guests will need to go to because you have scheduled it for them. Having your wedding at a good all-inclusive resort will include all of your food and drinks at the resort, as well as, many activities that the resort sponsors.
- What about Children? There are many great resorts that accommodate children and families. Many have family and adult only areas of the resort to provide the best of both worlds. The resorts we recommend to our clients have kids clubs and day care to allow you and your guests more time to relax.
- Legal Requirements: You will need to know what the legal requirements are to get married at your destination. Your destination wedding consultant knows all of the legal requirements for the locations you are looking to get married at.
This outline should help make planning your tropical wedding much easier and ensure that you truly get the wedding of your dreams.