Recently, couples have been flocking to locations far from home to tie the knot. Destination weddings offer a lot of benefits, and some drawbacks, but are definitely worth considering for any soon-to-be-married couple. In many instances they can actually be more affordable than traditional weddings. Often holding your nuptials far away will result in many fewer RSVPs allowing for your ceremony to be much smaller and thus less costly. No matter your reasons for considering one, read on for our list of destination wedding tips.
Failing to plan is planning to fail
You can’t really fail at a wedding, but you can leave yourself with less than perfect memories of the event. Destination weddings require a few extra steps in the planning process to make sure everything is right. Don’t forget to renew all the passports well in advance and the sooner you book your flight the better deal you are likely to get.
Know your guests
Obviously you want to know who you are inviting to witness your matrimony, but you also want to have a good idea of how many people will actually make the trek to see you say I do on that perfect island off the coast of Mexico. There is no point in paying for a larger venue than you will need, but you also don’t want to assume you will have a small crowd only to find out that all your friends put off their vacations last year and are totally game for a trip to Lisbon.
Do your research
Different countries and regions have different legal requirements for marriage. You may need a blood test or immunization record, and there may be a time requirement between applying for a license and receiving it. Unfortunately, there are still a number of places where same-sex couples are banned from getting married. When you get hitched away from home you are subject to the laws of that region so make sure you know what those laws are.
Combine and save
Travel sites are always telling you how much you can save by booking your flight and hotel together, but you can also save a lot by having your honeymoon in the same city as your wedding. Honeymoons tend to be nearly 15% of the wedding budget. One way to reduce that is by doing your honeymoon in the same fabulous locale that you’ve chosen for the ceremony.
In fact, your friends and family may want to turn your ceremony into an excuse for a longer trip as well. This is great—when else are so many friends and family going to get the chance to explore Berlin together? Just be sure to take some measures to make sure your honeymoon is as private as it should be. Maybe you want to book a private bed and breakfast or the honeymoon suite at a different hotel.
Think about the weather
Havana is a great choice for a February union, but during hurricane season you might want to try Sydney instead. Plan ahead and know what to expect well before you book your tickets. If you just have to have that perfect mid-December wedding in Quebec City, be sure to buy travel insurance with your plane tickets and check on the rescheduling policy of your venue. And—even if you’re getting married in Corsica in July—make sure you have a rain plan.
Be nice to your guests.
Your friends and family are already spending a chunk of change to be present on your special day. Do what you can to make it easy on them. Try to hookup guests who may not know each other who could share a cab. If you have a lot of people coming, consider reserving smaller blocks at a few hotels of varying price points instead of a large block at the nicest hotel. Keep in mind that it is common for couples who do destination weddings to refrain from creating gift registries. With the added expense that your guests will incur to attend, their presence is a gift in and of itself.
Obviously there will be minor bumps during and leading up to the big moment. Dealing with international flights, currency exchange and foreign language issues can compound things. When something comes up, take a minute to process it, evaluate the issue and come up with a sensible solution. Don’t let anything ruin the day for you.
Joining the many other couples who have decided to go with a destination wedding is sure to be an unforgettable experience. No matter the location or your budget, with a little planning you are sure to pull off a beautiful ceremony that will be meaningful for you and your loved ones.
Do you have any destination wedding tips? Have you already planned one or are you in the process now? What did you do right? What went wrong? Share your experiences in the comments.