This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.
Destination weddings are an ultimate, fun and romantic adventure couples remember till the end of their lives. But even though they can double as your dream vacation, they take twice as much planning and can be quite stressful to organize. However, there is now one quite handy thing called the internet, where you can find all the information you need, so without further ado, here is how to prepare your perfect destination wedding.
Consider The Budget
Before you even start googling through hundreds of “destination wedding ideas” articles, you have to consider your budget. Just like with everything, your budget is going to dictate the time of the year, the location, and how long it is all going to last. Travel costs can fluctuate depending on if you are traveling during low season, peak season or holiday weekends. Make sure you check the calendar and all the events happening around your destination in advance. An average budget for one luxury destination wedding goes from $750 up to $1500 or more per person, only for the reception and ceremony, while your wedding planner’s fees can account for roughly 20% of the entire budget. So if you want to spare some expense and cut your costs, consider finding an all-inclusive resort which offers wedding packages for couples that fit your budget.
Picking A Destination
If your budget is limited, you should go with a destination that is closer to your home. Besides that, the place you are marrying at should make sense to you and be something that your guests will be excited about as well. Currently, the most popular destinations for destination weddings are the Caribbean, Mexico, and Hawaii.
Hire Some Help For Your Destination Wedding
Even though turning this into a DIY is possible in theory, it is a much smarter idea to hire an extra pair of hands – some of the destination management companies (DMC). If you are an American, have in mind that there are many different DMC in the USA that can help you and make everything go as stress-free as possible. There are simply so many logistical things that are behind the scenes but in the same time are crucial for everything to work, plus, they already know all the good vendors, the right people overall, etc.
Create The Guest List Early
The number of guests directly impacts your budget, because the smaller the list, the less alcohol and catering you have to bring, and, of course, fewer tables with fewer centerpieces etc., so knowing your numbers as early as possible is a win-win scenario. Send the invites at least nine months in advance, so they can decide and plan everything out.
Get Legally Married
The legality of your marriage and making sure it is recognized in your country is also an important detail you as a couple should plan. Make sure you visit the embassy of your country at your destination to verify the wedding is legally recognized. And if you want to avoid that step, you can do a civil ceremony in your own country and do the celebration at the destination.
Think ahead – if you are buying a lot of things from the vendors, check if you can send all that directly to the hotel where it will be assembled before the ceremony. Before and during travel consider the comfort of your guests as well, and plan their experience to ensure they are carefree and happy. Maybe go there a day early and personally greet everyone when they arrive.
Don’t Forget The Dress
For shipping, you will have to think about the logistics that are involved, since some countries may have shipping restrictions when it comes to this type of ‘luggage’, and may charge you customs at the point of entry. Also, you need to think about how you can get that dress back, since some airlines can make allowances for holding your dress on a flight or you might even have to book a separate seat for it. In other words, its size and weight also matter big time.
As you can see, a destination wedding is not an easy ceremony to plan, but once everything is done, your effort will definitely pay off.
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Bio: Carla Cartmell writes for SmoothDecorator.com, a website dedicated to that sanctuary that is your home.