This blog post was updated on September 6, 2022.
See the Venue in Person
Choosing a venue based on images you see online isn’t the best option. Before you say, ‘I do’, try to find cheap flights to your wedding destination and book the location for the ceremony, reception, and hotels for guests. You may want to hire a local wedding planner to coordinate the wedding events. Choose florists, caterers, photographers, and a venue for the rehearsal dinner. Three to four months before the wedding, visit again to go over the final details. You may want to schedule tastings with your caterer and see bouquet samples. Choose a salon for a makeup and hair session. Organize the activities you want for your wedding guests. If another trip isn’t possible, have an onsite coordinator or your wedding planner handle the last-minute details.
Customized Wedding Invitations Are a MUST
Update Your Luggage
Keep a Planner
You’ll also want an actual wedding planner (those range between 10 and 15 percent of your wedding’s total budget), but we’re talking about the classic paper kind. Map out costs like airfare, hotel bookings, transportation, and even coffee runs for the bridal party. Factor in emergency funds for fashion mishaps (broken heels, anyone?) and pharmacy trips. The last thing you want to do is fend for yourself on a private island… in a wedding dress, no less.
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Do Your Research
- Local marriage requirements
- Laws and customs
- Weather (A poufy tulle dress and 90-degree heat aren’t exactly a great pairing)
- Reception hall and local restaurant ratings
- Transportation methods
Arrive Early or Even Add an Extra Day
Wedding coordinators suggest arriving for your destination wedding several days before the ceremony and adding an extra day. You want everything to go according to your plan, but last-minute changes may be necessary. You’ll need sufficient time to iron out all the details, so everything is perfect for your wedding day. Schedule a salon appointment for hair and makeup before you arrive so you’ll be stunning for your wedding photos. If any guests arrive a few days before the wedding, a get-acquainted lunch or dinner allows the families and your friends to get to know each other. Your wedding planner can assist with arranging tours or activities for early arrivals.
Research Vendors Carefully
If you’re able to make the trip, an excellent suggestion is to meet your vendors personally. Discussing details in person is preferable to exchanging emails as online images can sometimes be misleading. Visiting the venues makes it easier to make the perfect decision.
Set up meetings with rental companies before your first visit to the wedding destination. Venue coordinators may know local florists and vendors that aren’t well-publicized but offer exceptional service. Also, you know those Pinterest vision boards you spent hours curating? Here’s a chance for you to share them with wedding planners, florists, cake decorators, and designers. Visuals make life easier for everyone. If wedding specialists are traveling to the destination, prepare to pay for their lodging and travel expenses. You should also choose a hotel close to the venue and negotiate prices ahead of time.
Let Your Guests Know Ahead of Time
Before you ask anyone to be in your bridal party, tell them it’s a destination wedding. Not everyone has the same financial circumstances, and some friends may decline. Your family and friends will need sufficient time to plan their trip and get the best deals on accommodations and flights. If the wedding is taking place in another country, everyone will need up-to-date passports, which can take time. Most importantly, a “save-the-date” should be sent eight to 12 months before the wedding. It’s preferable to mail invitations no later than three to four months before your wedding. Your guests will need ample time to plan if the wedding is in another country.
Create a Wedding Website
Creating a wedding website is the most effective method of streamlining communication between you and your guests and can help reduce the stress of planning your big day. Life is much easier for everyone if your website has information about the destination, how to get there, and accommodations. It’s helpful for guests to know what to pack and what to wear for the wedding. Your website may provide details about events before and after the wedding. You can list activities or attractions to visit, helpful travel tips, and a travel agent with contact information. A wedding website is an excellent alternative to sending out a save-the-date. Ideally, you should create your site six to eight months before the wedding.