According to Condor Ferries, 25% of UK couples get married in another country despite the Brexit vote and the weakened Pound. Therefore, destination weddings remain popular because they are fun, intimate, and memorable. However, planning this type of wedding is no easy feat since there are several factors to consider. Nevertheless, you can plan an excellent destination wedding by following some of the most tried and tested tips. Below are some top tips worth knowing to plan a great destination wedding.
Give everyone a heads-up
Guests and other stakeholders need to know you are planning a destination wedding, so it is best to give everyone a heads up. For instance, your bridal party must know about your destination wedding before asking them to stand by your side. This way, they can get the right dress for the occasion or politely decline if their finances won’t allow them to participate. You must also give your guests several notices so they can secure the best deals on accommodations and flights before prices rise. Consequently, consider sending out save-the-dates about nine months in advance but don’t be upset if some of your closest family members or friends can’t make it. Hotel, travel, and car rental fees can really add up for guests, even if you will foot some of their bills. Therefore, try to understand if someone you want present on the big day can’t travel with you due to financial constraints.
Make guests feel welcome
Your family members and friends will be eager to celebrate your big day too, so it is vital to make them feel welcome and comfortable. For starters, consider creating a wedding website to make it easy for attendees to find all essential details in one place. This website should contain group rates for hotel rooms and flights, an itinerary of the weekend’s activities, and directions to and from the airport. Additionally, consider delivering welcome bags to your guests’ rooms upon arrival. These bags should be full of essentials for the trip, like bug spray, water, sunscreen, and customised hotel bathrobes for extra comfort.
Being a control freak when planning your destination wedding will do more harm than good since there is a lot to stay on top off, especially if you are hosting in a distant place. As such, you will need to entrust some aspects of the planning to another capable pair of hands at the very least. Fortunately, many resorts offer wedding specialists as part of their wedding packages. These specialists can deal with vital logistics like rental and lighting as well as researching and getting local vendors, which is particularly beneficial if there is a language barrier. In addition, get a coordinator to work behind the scenes at the destination. This coordinator will handle essential tasks like creating guests’ gift bags, greeting everyone at the airport, and getting people where they need to be on time. Ideally, it is prudent to go with a local planner provided by your venue as your man-on-the-ground. However, if you prefer a planner from back home, ensure that they have enough experience planning weddings in your preferred destination. Also, remember that you will have to cover their transport costs for planning visits and the actual wedding.
Ask your guests to pay for some things
Many destination wedding couples plan a multiple-day event that includes brunches and welcome dinners. As such, they often assume that the onus is on them to host and feed all their guests for all these events. However, doing this can significantly inflate your wedding budget. If you are able and willing to cover guests’ expenses, that’s terrific, but you shouldn’t be stressed, guilty, or anxious if you can’t single-handedly shoulder your guests’ expenses. You can ask attendees to cover some part of their costs, like contributing money to their accommodation, welcome dinner, or any activities they want to partake in. After all, it is highly likely that your guests will overextend their stay at the destination, so they will understand if you cannot cover all their expenses. You won’t be the first couple or the last one to ask guests to pay for some things. It is estimated that 40% of destination wedding couples pay for only a portion of travel expenses for some guests, who are typically family members and close friends.
Pick the perfect spot
The most popular destinations for Brits getting married abroad are Thailand, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, America, the Caribbean and other parts of Europe. However, you don’t have to stick with these destinations because they are popular. It is vital to remember that your location determines the travel time, budget, and mood on the big day. Also, consider choosing a place that means something to you in a way. Perhaps this place could be somewhere you know quite well from a childhood trip or favourite past holiday. This way, you can take your spouse and loved ones to a place representing your past. Alternatively, you can select a place you have both been dying to see. However, keep in mind that safety and suitability are the top considerations when deciding on a destination. For instance, a lovely beach town you visited during your childhood won’t work as a destination if it has one hotel that can’t even accommodate all guests or satisfy particular accessibility needs.
Finally, ensure that there are no political issues, recent travel warnings, or health concerns in your preferred destination to prevent your wedding from turning into a disaster.
Research local marriage requirements
Countries have different requirements for marriage that may need you to present a wide range of paperwork or satisfy some other conditions. For instance, you need to spend at least a day in Turks and Caicos to get married. This residency requirement is usually just a few days, but places like France require you to spend at least 40 days there before marrying. Therefore, conduct the necessary research to know the marriage requirements in your preferred destination before selecting it.