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Planning a Destination Wedding

111813-destinationweddingWhether you dream of marrying at the beach, in the mountains, or just somewhere here in the U.S. that’s not home, planning a destination wedding requires some special considerations. Here are five you won’t want to forget as you’re planning your wedding long distance.

Allow time.

Planning a destination wedding can take longer than planning one closer to home, and if you’ve got your eye on a resort known for weddings, dates can be booked as far out as 18 months. Get a jump on things as soon as you decide that a destination wedding is for you.

You’ll also need this extra time to let guests know what your plans are. Most will have to make travel plans to get to your wedding, so they need time to ask for leave at work and book the best travel and hotel options. Save the date cards are an excellent way to let guests know your plans in advance of an invitation.

Be aware that planning a destination wedding means some of your nearest and dearest may not be able to attend. Also, when you’re asking friends to be your attendants, let them know beforehand that you’re planning a destination wedding. It’s only fair to let them know that there are likely additional financial and time costs.

Get help.

When your wedding location is far from your home, you’re not going to be able to pop in on vendors to ask questions, discuss details, or sign contracts. Find a local wedding planner to help you with the logistics and make recommendations. In fact, many resorts that specialize weddings have planners and coordinators on staff to help you through the process and be your representative with vendors. Plus, these experts also know the area where you’re marrying well and are familiar with the weather conditions at various times of year.

Know the laws.

Marriage laws vary from county to county, from state to state, from country to country. Know what the laws are at your location before you travel for your wedding. A local wedding planner can be helpful in this regard. Some couples get married officially at home before traveling abroad or to a foreign country. They then have an informal ceremony and their reception at their destination.

Take care of your guests.

Your guests will have traveled far and spent lots of money to come to your wedding – take care of them! Leave welcome baskets or letters in their hotel rooms, and plan activities for them at your destination. Offer information on local tourist attractions and activities, and always make sure they know how to reach the hotel concierge. Many couples like to plan a welcome cocktail party for their guests after everyone has arrived. It’s a nice chance to mingle and say thanks before your wedding day.

While you’re planning events, though, consider that your guests may also want to relax or sightsee on their own. Don’t overbook and don’t make events “mandatory.”

Take care of you!

In the hustle and bustle of a destination wedding, it can be easy to forget your own need for downtime and alone time. Schedule spa days, sleep in, or take a novel to the beach. You’re going to be surrounded by loving friends and family for several days, and they’re all going to want a little bit if your time. Make sure you have the chance to recharge yourself so that you enjoy rather than regret the experience.