7 Steps to Planning Your Destination Wedding

Beach-Theme-Wedding-195x300Destination weddings are a way for couples to keep costs down and their guest list low, which for some couples is the perfect wedding. But, it can feel daunting to plan your away wedding when you’re not sure where to begin. Here are a series of tips to help you take your first step toward wedded bliss.

1) What kind of a wedding are you going to have? It all begins with you, start making a guest list, include the essential people and those who are wanted and most likely to come to the wedding, then add onto it with complementary guests. These are people who you don’t think would come, but you would want them there anyway. It would be prudent to forewarn the people you’re going to invite that you’re considering a destination wedding. Once your guest list is finalized you’ll have a better picture of what type of wedding you’ll be having. You’ll want to book your wedding right away, so be sure you can do the next steps quickly if possible.

2) Start looking at destinations and the resorts available on them. Remember that where you hold your wedding will be as important to you as to the people you’re going to ask to come with you. So don’t choose a cheap resort because you want to save money for your guests, think quality in terms of the group, not just the individual. Have a top 3 list and call the different resorts to see what they can offer you and your group. Ask if you can visit the resort and experience for yourself first what they are offering you and your group. Sandals resorts will let you sample their resorts to see which one is fit for your wedding and honeymoon.

Also consider what time of year would be best for your wedding, try to chose a major holiday so your     guests would be taking it off anyway. Give your guests plenty of advanced warning so they can plan accordingly. Also research the weather for your destination. What type of weather do they normally receive during that time of year? This also gives you time to hunt for deals!

3) Once you’ve chosen a resort to get married in you’ll need to ask them about their wedding services. Most resorts have a consultant on hand to help you plan and handle all the details from the resort to help you plan your wedding. There are even local professional wedding planners and travel agents who specialize in away weddings, be sure to check with them as well. If you decide to take the help of a consultant,  you should take the time to ask about local marriage requirements and customs restrictions, what can you bring into the country for your wedding day.

Once all the details have been hammered out you will have to sign a contract. Make sure you go through the contract with a fine tooth comb and ask to have anything clarified for you that you don’t understand. If you don’t, you might wind up paying for something you weren’t expecting to pay. Another thing to look out for are “value added taxes”, these can be added to your wedding for labour and services and wind up costing you a lot more money at the end than you were expecting.

4) If you try to make any plans yourself without the aid of a resort consultant or local be sure to vet those vendors carefully. Language and culture barriers might come between you and what was promised. Get the recommendation of a company before making calls yourself.

5) If you find that planning a destination wedding is becoming tedious, maybe consider getting married on a cruise. There are many beautiful boats and you can probably score a deal for you and your guests. Another money saving idea is to combine your honeymoon with your destination wedding. Some of the best weddings away are in places where you can go island hopping, like in Hawaii and the Caribbean. Your guests will like the idea of having that advantage when the wedding is over too!

6) Once you’ve got your RSVP’s back now you need think about how you thank your guests for coming along with you to wherever you’ve chosen  to marry. You might want to coordinate it so that they can all get on the same flight and share cab fare to the hotel, or arrange for a shuttle to bring everyone to the resort together so no one gets lost or feels left out. You might also consider having your guests for dinner by the beach when they arrive to say thanks for coming. If you and your guests are going to be together for a few days you might even consider doing some group activities, like snorkeling, group massages, or group tours of something local.

7) Remember that when you’re away you’ll be going at the pace of the resort, so relax and go with it, no matter what happens you’re still getting married. If there seems to be trouble you can always enlist the help of one of your guests to help navigate any troubles you seem to be experiencing.

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