Most people have that special distant location where they have fond memories of their marriage proposal, a childhood wish and dream destination. Destination weddings are the stuff of teenage dreams, tying the knot with a vista of mountains or a tropical beach. Foreign destinations are all nice and welcome, but you should also consider that planning a destination wedding takes a lot of effort.

There are many factors that you have to bear in mind when considering a destination wedding for your special day. You have to consider the venue, the time of the year, your destination’s weather conditions, the schedule of the guest you want to invite and travel requirements for the country you chose. While you can do this yourself, you can also hire a destination wedding planning service to take care of the numerous details for you so that you can focus on preparing for the rest of your life. Here are some great tips that will help you to have the destination wedding of your dreams.

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Choose the ideal location

Your wedding destination is going to set the tone for your wedding day. It will also determine how much money, time and resources you will need to get your special day. The destination decides whether you would be having a classic wedding or a rustic ocean front wedding. Choosing the perfect location is also dependent on your style and the things that matter to your partner. If you had your wedding proposal in Paris, why not have the wedding there? If you love food, you could have a small wedding at a vineyard in Napa Valley, California. The best tropical wedding locations are in Mexico, Hawaii and the Caribbean Islands. No matter where you want to have your wedding, with the right amount of time, resources and a destination wedding planner, you will have the best day of your life like it was your backyard.

Choose the perfect time

One huge factor with destination weddings is that the weather could be unpredictable. Tourist season is typically when most locations have the best weather but that also means that hotels are overbooked, ticket prices are expensive, and everything could be a hassle with availability difficult to confirm. It is advisable to book as far ahead as possible for your destination wedding especially because you would be accommodating a lot of people and so need many things to fall into place and be confirmed early. The shoulder seasons will help you save money and still get good weather at the destination. Try not to gamble with off-season weddings as the weather may take a turn for the worse and ruin even the best laid plans. Tropical weddings are fun until there’s a tropical storm looming and flights being cancelled.

Send invitations as early as possible

Because you need a lot of schedules to be in sync so that your bridal party can be with you on your special day, you need to tell your close friends and family that you are inviting as early as possible, up to eight months ahead if possible. This is because of the amount of time and finances involved. Your close friends may not be able to afford to travel with you on your dream wedding so that is another thing to consider for people to plan properly. Your guests need lots of time to get flight and hotel deals before the prices become too high for them. Also, destination weddings are expensive and require some days off which some of your friends and relatives may be unable to get. Don’t be disappointed or upset if people are unable to make it.

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Schedule a planning trip

One of our most important recommendations is taking at least one trip to your destination to see the venues. There’s nothing like meeting with local vendors to see what they can do and also visiting the likely venues for your wedding to see what it is like. Take some time to check the hotel and if possible, work out a package deal for a discount for all your guests. The reception venue should also be checked. Once you have chosen venues for your events, you can then see about visiting vendors like florists to see their selection, catering to try do tastings where possible. A meeting with the baker making your wedding cake should also be on the cards to ensure that everything is done to your taste. Sometimes, hiring a local vendor means you don’t necessarily have to travel to your destination wedding location but if you can make it there, it will save you a whole world of headache.

Plan for miscellaneous and unforeseen spending

Most destination weddings end up costing far more than the budget that you have for them due to the unfamiliar locations. Some cities are more expensive than your local city, so you need to plan based on the destination rather than what your original budget. This is even more glaring when dealing with wedding destinations that double as exotic tourist sites. You will need to consider the cost of party favors, transportation for the wedding party around the location, flights for guests and vendors as well as accommodation. When budgeting for a destination wedding, factor in as many unforeseen expenses as possible, bearing in mind seasonality and the unpredictability of a lot of expenses.

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Check for legal requirements for marriage

Each country has different legalities that govern marriages in their jurisdiction. Ask a legal representative to know what is required to get married in the country and how long it would take. There are some countries that need you to be resident for some time because you are eligible to be married in the territory. Sometimes, it is a few days, other times in countries like France, it could take over a month before you are allowed to get married in the country. Make sure you confirm all possible requirements before you decide on the country you are getting married in so that your wedding is legal.

Get a wedding planner or lots of help

If there is one thing you don’t want to do alone, it is monopolizing the planning of your wedding. This is even worse with destination weddings where there are many logistical issues. A lot of resorts nowadays have dedicated wedding coordinators who are included in the cost of a wedding package there. These professionals take care of everything for you so that you don’t have to worry about language barriers, logistical nightmares and dealing with vendors. Wedding coordinators also help you with all the arrangements at the airport, hotel and venues, making sure your vendors are on point and getting you the best deals with their relationships with locals. A local planner is your best bet to getting through your destination wedding. If you decide that a planner from your city is your best option, then you need to confirm that they have done a wedding at your destination before or at least have experience with destination weddings. You would most likely be responsible for their expenses for planning trips so bear that in mind too as another thing you would spend money on.

Patience is a virtue

Destination islands are typically laid back and don’t really have the hurried pace that city dwellers are used to. Try not to rush things. Do not pressure vendors and hover around them. When working with foreign vendors, trust them to deliver when it is time and have a schedule of regular situation reports so that you are abreast of the situation at all times. Pick the right ones and trust that you have taken the right decision. Let them do the job you paid them for without you making it any more difficult.

Choose vendors carefully

It is important that you choose your vendors carefully after considerable vetting. Check their reviews online, talk to them as much as possible. Have the wedding coordinator reach out to your vendor options and meet with them if possible. This is one of the key reasons why we recommend doing a planning visit to the destination so that you can meet vendors physically and have a feel for their capacity in person. You don’t have to depend solely on vendors at the destination. You can also have your local vendors work with the destination vendors to supervise some parts of the operation. This may be expensive but it something you can consider if you feel more comfortable with a familiar face around.

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Everyone invited is family

Your dream wedding cannot be complete without having your friends and loved ones with you on that special day. A great way to ensure that all the details are available in a convenient way is to create a wedding website. The website will have details of the hotel options, discount codes for the selected airlines and hotels and the most important details of the wedding. Once the itinerary is also firmed up, this can be uploaded to the website to make it easier for people to find everything they need in one easy to access source. When guests also arrive, be sure to have gift bags ready for them containing important things they will need for their journey. These may include insect spray, swimming trunks and other items they will need for their stay during the wedding.

Dress according to the location

Everyone has a vision of what they want to look like on their wedding day and one thing to note is that the destination of your wedding will influence the type of attire you will wear. Beach weddings are great with loose fitting clothes, wedding dresses that are short to reduce their contact to the ground. Some destinations are really hot and so wearing a full satin dress could lead to dehydration and extreme heat. Do some research about dressing options at the destination and make sure you share the information with your guests so that they can dress in line with the cultural and weather expectations. Same way you would not want anybody getting in trouble for wearing something inappropriate. You can even provide printed shirts for your guest or flip flops that they can wear to the beach if you are having an Island wedding time.

Plan for the weather

There are many things you can control during a destination wedding, but the weather is not part of them. Make arrangements for backups for music and shades if you are doing a beach wedding. If you need to have a tent on standby, speak to your wedding coordinator to avoid getting soaked by rain as you take your vows. Be sure to keep an eye out on the weather conditions to avoid losing your deposit where you have a cancellation.

Preparing for a destination wedding is not the easiest but with the right planning and decision making, there are many ways to make it a success. Be sure to carry out as much research as possible, meet with vendors and speak with them regularly. Have regular visits to the vendors where you can. Once you begin to close out on one item at a time, planning the wedding of your dream begins to become to look achievable and this will help you relax. Trust the process that you have laid and make sure you are constantly talking to your wedding coordinator.

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