If you're thinking about planning a destination wedding, we've got some helpful tips for you today to make sure you're prepared for the special circumstances involved. In some ways, you will have less to do since the guest list will most likely be smaller. On the other hand, there are a few tasks to take care of when you're traveling far from home to say "I do" that a local wedding wouldn't require. The following tips should help you get started.
Send Save-The-Dates Early
Wedding invitations usually go out 6-8 weeks before the big day, but it's helpful to send save-the-dates out 3-6 months in advance for any guests that will have to make travel arrangements to attend. For destination weddings, you may want to send out your save-the-dates at least one year in advance so that guests will have time to make reservations and request time off of work.
Time It Right
You can usually get better pricing on many things, like hotel reservations and vendors, if you plan your destination wedding to take place during a busy city's off-season. Keep in mind though that at these times many tourist attractions and stores might be closed. Also, research the weather for the time of year you will be there to make sure you aren't trying to get married in the middle of a hurricane!
Traveling and lodging will be big expenses for a destination wedding but you will be able to save money in other areas. With a smaller guest count, there are fewer people to feed and entertain. Also, if you've chosen the destination for its breathtaking scenery, you may not need to spend much at all on decorations.
Keep your guests' expenses in mind too. You'll want to keep their costs down as much as possible so that everyone you really want to be there can afford it.
Hire On-Site Help
It's extremely difficult to get all of your wedding tasks taken care of when you're not physically at the place where the plans need to be arranged. You could bring your own vendors from home, but that's going to get pricy fast.
Things will go much smoother and be a lot easier if you hire a coordinator that lives where you are getting married. They will also be of great help finding dependable wedding vendors in the area and be able to clue you in to the "local" scene.
Visit In Advance
Fit in at least one trip to the destination location during the planning stages. You can scope out everything in person so there are no "surprises" on the wedding day. Also, this will give you a chance to meet possible vendors in person to make sure they meet your needs and are people you can work with.
Do Your Research
Don't forget to find out what the local marriage requirements are. You don't want to have to get married again afterward because you didn't meet a requirement to legally get married on the day you planned for. If you have hired an on-site coordinator, they will be able to help you with this part.
Travel With Your Dress
Do not... we repeat... DO NOT put your wedding dress in a checked bag! This is definitely one item that you do not want getting lost if your luggage is misplaced. Occasionally arrangements can be made with an airline to have a place to hang it up during a flight. If you need to fold it into your carry-on luggage, make arrangements to have it pressed or steamed before the wedding. Some brides have even gone so far as to buy their wedding dress a seat of its own!
WhereBridesGo.com offers free ground shipping within the Continental U.S.A. If your wedding destination falls within that area, you can possibly arrange to have items you order from our online wedding store shipped directly to your on-site wedding coordinator. If not, we'll ship them free to you here and you can pack them into your checked luggage. There are plenty of small, light-weight items that don't have to take up too much room.
Destination weddings don't have to be difficult to plan. The key is to start planning early and have someone on the other end to help you so everything is ready and waiting when you get there to finally say "I do!"
~ The WhereBridesGo.com Team
Post by Deanna Powell, Certified Bridal Consultant