Here’s something to get you started – 5 first steps to planning your destination wedding…
Set a budget. Before you do anything else, work out how much you intend to spend. Is there a close family member or friend who may not have the finances to attend but who you really feel you need to have by your side? If so, you may need to factor in an amount to help them join you.
Think about your guest list and be sure to give people enough notice; a minimum of three to six months is recommended. Many people have enjoyed their very first trip overseas because of a destination wedding and they’ll go on thanking you for the rest of the year! However, you also need to be flexible and understand that not everybody on your wish list might be able to attend, due to lack of finances, time off work or even interest in visiting the chosen destination. Remember, this is your wedding day and as long as you have given your nearest and dearest ample opportunity to join you, it’s really about the dream the two of you share.
Shortlist which overseas countries and/or Australian regions appeal to you. Opposite is a guide to some of the most popular wedding locations for Australian and New Zealand couples. It is by no means a definitive guide but it will, we hope, help you understand the main legal (if any) aspects you need to consider For example, do you need to be in the country for a specific amount of time before the wedding? It might be wise to choose a first and second destination at this early stage, just in case there is an insurmountable issue with your number one choice.
Narrow down a list of resorts or wedding professionals in your chosen area, contact them and tell them what you have in mind, ask what sort of options are available in your budget – many resorts have several packages, from the simplest of ceremonies to the absolute ultimate package with bells and whistles you probably would never have thought of yourself! Talk about your all-inclusive options … ideally it would be perfect if you could turn up and have little to worry about – one of the perks of a destination wedding for many!
Research marriage legalities thoroughly. If you do not have a wedding planner helping you it is even more important to understand what is required. Contact the tourism bureau or consulate to ensure you are steps ahead with what is required.