Let’s not beat around the bush, weddings are notoriously hard to plan and can be even more so when you’ve decided to jet set across the ocean to say ‘I do’. But for all the planning, preparation and dare I say stress, comes a truly magnificent experience, and honestly there is nothing more romantic and magical than a destination wedding. Check out our top ten tips and enjoy a stress-free destination wedding overseas!
You’re planning an amazing wedding and of course you want to share it will all your friends and family, but remember overseas travel does make a dent on the hip pocket. I’d advise being very candid on what you’re organising. Plan ahead and send out invites at least 12 months in advance and you’ll find that more of your favourite people will be able to attend! Understand that some guests will simply not be able to make it, due to either work, family or budget. Don’t be upset, make sure you let them know you understand!
Top tip: Create a list of possible travel costs and provide recommendations for accommodation so they are armed with all the info!
It’s not all about you
I would shout this from the rooftops if I could – think about your bridal party! And I don’t mean just considering their opinions on dress colour and heel height. I mean wholeheartedly thinking of them. Each member of your party should be made aware of the costs before saying yes and committing. Let them know the budget for the dress, shoes, hair and makeup and any other little extras you’re expecting to have. Being a part of the bridal party is an honour but remember not everyone can afford it so try to remain considerate to their budgets and feelings!
Organise a quickie
Now this is a lot to ask, but if you can, take a separate trip to your chosen destination. Money and time will obviously come into play, but this trip could mean your wedding could be organised in one short week! You’ll find your decision making will be on-point when time is not on your side. Organise the venue, caterer, hotels, florists and everything in between!
The event planner
The key to a successful destination wedding is hiring a skilled professional to help with the logistics. I know what you’re thinking, it will cost you the earth, but this is further from the truth. Wedding planners and event stylists are now providing more affordable services. They are no longer just for the rich and famous! The beauty of a planner is they go above and beyond, and they are in the ‘know’, which means you can expect every element of your wedding to run smoothly and if by chance it doesn’t, you won’t need to worry because the planner will be there to save the day! Because you are on the other side of the world, they truly are your eyes and ears.
Sonya from Bliss Creations, a professional and much-loved wedding planning company says that, “hiring an experienced destination wedding planner means that they will have contacts with the local suppliers to be able to handle all your various requests. Trying to do this yourself, especially when language may differ can be added stress.”
Wedding planners can help with organising venues, photographers, accommodation, floral arrangements, catering and more! Even if you choose to marry at a resort that includes a wedding planner, it may pay to have your own separate wedding planner to work with the resort and to convey your needs, personality and generally be your guardian angel watching over the whole event.
You can’t beat an all inclusive wedding package! Many destination wedding hot spots have wonderful deals for couples and their friends and family. These include the organisation of the ceremony, reception and, often, the accommodation for you and your loved ones.
These packages will help make the planning process a whole lot easier and there is a good chance you’ll secure great accommodation rates for your friends and family! Just be sure you research every element. If the package lists a florist look them up, same goes for the chef, photographer and the hotel. Be savvy and do some stalking and don’t be afraid to check with travel agents to see if they can provide extra feedback on the accommodation or restaurants before confirming.
Get there early
Please get there early! I’d recommend at least three days – and in fact, some countries require at least this time as a prerequisite to the marriage license (note: of course, check out the legalities for the country you are choosing to marry in!). This gives you time to get settled, kick the jet-lag and to foresee any last minute planning. You will also have enough time to make any changes if need be. Be nosey and introduce yourself to the staff. Build a positive connection, kindness goes along way and it will pay off come wedding day.
Protect the dress
The dress; often the most important aspect of a bride’s big day! This is one element that needs to be organised well in advance! Remember to think of the climate when choosing your gown. When travelling, make sure you pay extra special attention to the dress. Take the gown on as hand luggage to avoid any disasters or creases!
Gill Hulse, one half of the dream team from the couture label Paddington Weddings, Bertossi Brides, shares her expert advice: “It is important that the gown is easy to travel with, as there are a lot of planes and transfers that you have to go through, our gowns come in a garment bag that you can take on any plane and they are hung where the suits go, or if there is a spare seat the crew will often drape it over the seat (this happens a lot).”
Trial and error
You’ve made it to your destination, with a few days to spare before the big day. Make sure you make use of this time! Organise to meet with your hair and makeup artist. Have a trial and work out exactly how you’d like to be styled. Collect some images so you can provide the creative team with some visual examples of what you’re after. Although this will take some time out of your day it’s well worth it, not only for you, but also for your team. Remember practice makes perfect!
Make sure it’s legal!
It’s a pretty scary thought, travelling all the way to a stunning destination to get married, to then come home and it not be recognised. Don’t let this happen! Remember every country has different legal requirements. Research your chosen country. When you arrive you may need to visit the council or your home country’s embassy to ensure all the papers that you’ll be provided with are accurate and valid. If you’re feeling unsure I’d advise giving a call to Births, Deaths and Marriages before flying. They should be able to provide you with more information and advice.
Your destination wedding is about fun, friends and love! So don’t let it stress you out too much. You’re planning will pay off, and once the day is here, the little hiccups along the way will be distant memories.
For more tips on planning your perfect destination wedding, read some advice from thirteen real brides.