Planning a wedding is difficult enough on its own, even more so if you’ve decided to go for the most luxurious of weddings: the destination wedding. Getting married in a different country is no easy task, and brings with it a whole new set of problems for everyone involved. Things like language barriers, budget constraints, and whole host of logistical problems for your guests are a common occurrence when planning an out-of-town wedding, so it helps to know what you’re getting into.
To help you in this monumental task, we’ve compiled a list of tips gleaned from experts with years of experience planning the best destination weddings.
Timing is Everything
Timing is a very important factor when planning a destination wedding. Remember that seasonal weather patterns are different around the world, and that it affects both the pricing and availability of everything from airline tickets to venue and vendor availability. You’ll want to make your bookings well in advance to get the best rates and ensure availability.
Warn Friends and Family Ahead of Time
Send save-the-dates and invitations well before the expected date, preferably 10 to 12 months before, so that guests can decline gracefully if they can’t afford it. If your heart is set on having them over for your wedding, consider footing their bill and providing for their travel expenses, accommodation, and entertainment while they’re here.
Take a Planning Trip or Two to Straighten Things Out
Planning trips are absolutely crucial early on. Ideally, you’ll want to schedule at least two trips, three if you have time, to scout for locations and vendors, and get information. Try to get the following things straight before the big day:
- Location, location, location!
Personal and aesthetic preferences aside, the location you choose will dictate the amount of time and money you’ll need to spend to pull off the a successful wedding. Be sure to get all quotes in writing and make doubly sure that you have no doubts about the location before committing.
- Research local marriage requirements
Each country has their own laws governing foreigners who wish to marry on their soil. Take some time out on one of your planning trips to get to know the local rules and regulations, and to fill out paperwork. One notable requirement present in many countries is a “residency” requirement that basically states that you have to reside in a country for a certain amount of time, anywhere from a few days to a month, before they will grant you a marriage license.
- Choose your vendors carefully
It’s important to set aside time on your planning trip to meet with vendors in person, to get a better idea on the quality of their work. You can view portfolios online, yes, and schedule video conferences to speak with them too, but nothing beats a face-to-face meeting. Don’t sign any contracts until you’re sure that the vendor you’ve selected can deliver the quality of work you expect – it won’t be as easy for you to manage them when you’re not in the same country. The most you’ll be able to do is to schedule regular check-ins over phone or video conference, so you want to make sure you can trust the vendor before committing to use their services.
- Select the right clothes for the weather
Ask locals what kind of weather they’d expect to have around the expected time of your wedding, and plan your attire for it. Some climates are not accommodating to the traditional tux and wedding gown, so be sure that you – and your guests – dress accordingly. The last thing anyone wants is to be uncomfortable during the wedding.