If your wedding plans include tying the knot somewhere outside a 100-mile radius from your home, you’ll want to read the following tips for planning a successful destination wedding.
Find a location that matches your style.
Are you a beach bride who loves the sun-kissed skin and the beat of a steel drum? You’re in luck. You will have hundreds of options from which to choose. Top beach wedding destinations include Miami, Cape Cod, Aruba, Nassau, Tahiti and Kauai.
More of a mountain chick? Consider mountain states like Colorado or Utah. Both states offer breathtaking mountain views, winter skiing and beautiful summer blossoms.
Urban girl at heart? From San Diego to Seattle, D.C. to Chicago, a city wedding offers all the comforts of home, plus plenty of sightseeing options for your guests before and after the wedding.
Looking to go outside of the states? The world’s the limit! According to Forbes magazine, the top international wedding destinations include Mexico, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Italy and Costa Rica.
Keep your VIPs top-of-mind.
According to BrideBox, destination weddings are typically smaller and include around 50 guests. Of course, not everyone on your list will be able to attend your destination wedding; however, you will want to make sure the most important people in your life can make the trip. Things to consider are costs (the average travel cost for attendees is around $500), availability, fear of flying, small children and passports (if you’re planning to leave the states.)
Factor in every “little” cost.
All brides should have a budget, especially destination wedding brides. Put one in place and try to stick with it by understanding the hidden costs that come with travel. For example, some resorts charge upwards of 20% in hotel taxes and resort fees; tip customs vary by country; and some venues charge if you don’t meet their minimum guest limit. (Yes, you could end up paying for meals and rooms for no-show guests.) If going outside of the U.S., you’ll also want to know the currency exchange rate in your country of choice.
Research the laws.
Every country has its own requirements that need to be met in order for the marriage to be legal. Be sure to research residency requirements and required paperwork before you book your destination wedding. It would be a shame to travel all that way only to return to find that your marriage wasn’t legal! It’s also imperative that you make sure your own documentation, such as your passport, is up-to-date.
Visit your wedding venue before signing the contract, and book it early enough to be able to notify your guests eight months in advance.
Get it in writing.
Once you’ve decided on your perfect destination wedding venue, get everything you are promised in writing. If it’s not in writing – it’s not guaranteed. It’s also a good idea to keep track of everything you’ve paid for, including the check number and date every payment was made.
Hire someone to help.
Wedding planners can be a tremendous help, especially when you’re heading somewhere far from home. Equally important is a travel agent to help you coordinate flight and hotel arrangements. So, splurge on professionals to help you navigate your wedding, and sit back and watch as it will come to fruition with ease.
Throw in a free pass.
Chances are, your guests are busting their own budgets to attend your wedding. If you can afford it, arrange to pay for an excursion or two, such as dance lessons, a city tour or a museum pass.
Enjoy your day!
A destination wedding offers more of an opportunity for relaxation because of the limited guest list and destination wedding packages available to you. However, should something come up, you will want to remember to be flexible and go with the flow – that’s what vacations and wedding destinations are all about!