Planning a wedding can be overwhelming. If you then add a foreign country to the mix things can definitely start to get a little crazy. While destination weddings conjure up thoughts of exotic, dreamy locations the reality is there is a lot of leg work that needs to be done before you get to that magical day. To help get you there without a hitch we’ve put together our top tips to planning your special day.
Having Time on Your Side
Planning a destination wedding takes time. To ensure your venue choices aren’t limited and that your wedding is scheduled during the season with the best weather conditions allow yourself plenty of time. Your guests will need time as well, to accommodate this it is essential that you send out Save the Dates as soon as you have the location and date selected. If neither is set in stone, an estimate will suffice. For instance the month or year and the city/country are enough information for your guests to decide whether they will be able to attend.
Avoid Doing it All on Your Own
If you are tying the knot at a resort, as part of your package the resort will most likely provide you with their resident wedding planner who will take care of most things. Local based wedding planners will have relationships with suppliers in the area and will be able to source the best deals. However it is also a wise move to enlist the help of a wedding planner from your area who specialises in or has experience with destination weddings. The two teams of wedding planners will then be able to liaise with each other ensuring that your dream day is made complete. Securing local suppliers can be difficult especially when time differences or language barriers are an issue, hiring a wedding planner will ensure that you remain stress-free throughout the entire process. This does not by any way mean that brides cannot plan a successful destination wedding without a wedding planner. If you do happen to have room within your budget however it will just make things run a lot smoother.
Doing Your Research
Your wedding guests will be far more dependent on you for an overseas wedding than they would for one at home. It is important to work with a travel agency that specializes in Destination Weddings, like Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways, who will do extra research and work for them. They will negotiate hotel contracts, secure airfare, transportation, and activities for them to do in the area. It’s a good idea to have planned group activities to keep your guests occupied and make a full week or weekend of festivities for your guests to mingle with one another. This is key is to make your wedding a celebration unlike any other.
If you have your heart set on a particular photographer or hair and makeup artist discuss with them the possibility of travelling to your wedding. Try and negotiate with them the additional rates or whether they would just want you to cover the costs for their airfares and accommodation. If they can drive to your venue, it is not unheard of for vendors to charge a set rate based on the distance they are required to travel so keep this in mind. For overseas weddings, if you have had bad experiences with makeup artists in the past or are not entirely comfortable with the thought of having not had a trial beforehand consider creating your own look. Perhaps have a session with a makeup artist who can teach you some tricks for perfecting a bridal makeup look. Then have at least one practice run of doing your own makeup in the lead up to the big day. Another alternative is to ensure you arrive at your destination a few days in advance and to schedule in a trial so you can have a test run and make any tweaks to the look before the big day. One more idea is to bring all your own makeup products for the makeup artist to apply. This way you can guarantee the foundation will suit your skin tone. If your wedding destination is quite close to you, for instance driving distance it’s a good idea to go and meet with local suppliers and schedule in trials, consultations and tastings with your wedding reception venue in the one day.
Understanding the Reality of a Destination Wedding
It is best to understand that in the event of a destination wedding there will be quite a few close family and friends who will have to decline your invitation. This is merely the harsh reality of a destination wedding however it can keep your costs and guest list numbers down. If by chance there are certain family members or friends that you simply can’t imagine your day without who are unable to attend due to financial reasons, consider setting aside some of your budget to offer to pay in full or partially pay for their accommodation or flights. While some guests may be put off by this, insist that you can’t imagine your day without them and that it is already taken care. If they are still hesitant you will have to respect their wishes. Other guests may decline your invite as they are unable to take time off from work in this instance try and ensure you select a convenient time of year that will suit a majority.
The Art of Travel
When it comes to selecting your bridal attire, wedding stationery and any other elements you wish to bring with you it is important to consider how you will transport such items. Perhaps you pay for extra baggage or split items amongst guests and the bridal party. Ensuring nothing will get damaged in transit is paramount to avoiding any unnecessary wedding day dilemmas. To do this meticulous planning will be vital. No bride wants any unwanted surprise in the lead up to her big day.
It is recommended to refrain from requesting gifts from guests who have made the effort to travel to attend your big day. If by chance you are given gifts you will have to figure out how you will get these home, perhaps look into the option of packaging them up and shipping them back separately or ensure you have left room in your luggage just in case. Doing this ahead of time will eliminate potential stress.
It’s always nice to put together welcome gifts for all your guests. They can be as extravagant as you like however just simple baskets of goodies is more than enough. For instance in tropical locations provide your guests with sunscreen, insect repellent, band aids etc. – essential items they may not have thought of. Your guest will love this personalized added touch.
While planning a destination wedding can definitely be more difficult, working with a Travel Agency that specializes in Destination Weddings, Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways will definitely make it stress free.
‘Kristi Charter is an experienced freelance writer with a breadth of knowledge across an array of subjects. Captivated by the wedding industry, Kristi is currently the Content and Social Media Coordinator at Giant inviations. http://giantinvitations.com.au/