A destination wedding is often less stressful than a wedding at home, especially if you appoint a wedding coordinator or your chosen resort includes one as part of its wedding package. However, there are a few things you need to do to ensure the entire planning process and actual wedding goes off without a hitch.
Whats next? To stress a little less about your honeymoon see our honeymoon planning guide.
1. KEEP A BUDGET
A wedding budget might seem like an oxymoron but it can be your best friend when planning a wedding. Discuss with your partner exactly how much you plan to spend, and be sure to put a little extra cash aside in a back-up fund just in case something unexpected happens or a loved one can’t afford to travel to your wedding.
It’s important to be super organised by keeping a spreadsheet of absolutely everything. Your itemised list should include each component of the wedding and the expected costs, but be sure to track the actual costs as you go to ensure you don’t blow the budget.
2. CONSIDER YOUR GUESTS
Remember, a destination wedding is also a holiday for your guests. While it’s impossible to get everyone’s buy-in on each decision, try to make the experience feel inclusive when possible. Group accommodation is a fabulous option for negotiating bulk discounts and it’ll also help less travel-savvy guests feel more at ease.
Consider where most of your guests will be flying from and check airfare prices and connections – you don’t want your guests paying exorbitant amounts to join you or changing flights several times just to get there. If some of your invited guests don’t have the budget or time to attend your destination wedding resist pressuring them. Instead, organise a post-wedding soiree’ where you can share your wedding photos and catch up with those who would’ve loved to attend but weren’t able to.
3. BE PRACTICAL
Although it’s a phrase every bride is probably familiar with, it’s easier said than done when planning a destination wedding. To ensure the day is stress-free, do some research. Knowing about things like monsoonal patterns and vaccinations from the get-go will help you decide where and when to marry. Find out about the flight times, wedding legalities, accommodation options and best times of year to travel to your destination of choice. See whether there are any festivals or major events scheduled and try to avoid those dates as costs are likely to be much higher, not to mention the influx of tourists.
On the flip side, avoid the low season as restaurants and must-see sites could be closed during that period. It’s a good idea to share relevant information with your guests in the form of an information sheet that can be sent out with the invitations.
4. ENGAGE AN EXPERT
If you spend money on one thing for your destination wedding, make it a wedding coordinator. A good wedding coordinator is a lifesaver who will help make your big day (and of course the lead up to it) a very stress-free affair. Australian and overseas wedding venues that specialise in destination weddings often have a dedicated wedding coordinator who is happy to organise everything for you at no extra cost. Many brides we’ve spoken to who have had destination weddings, refer to their wedding coordinators as “angels”.
However, if you have something bespoke or unique in mind, or are dreaming of a five-star event unlike anything your chosen resort has done before, it pays to find your own wedding planner who can work in conjunction with the resort’s wedding coordinator. Wedding coordinators are pros at communication, understanding the local geography and customs, and sourcing suppliers – giving you precious peace of mind that you’ll really be thankful for.
5. HAVE A BACK-UP PLAN
Imagine this: You’ve planned your dream beach wedding and all of your favourite people are there, then an hour before your wedding ceremony the heavens open up and it pours with torrential rain. It’s times like these that you’ll wish you had a back-up plan. The worst thing you can do is let this kind of stuff ruin your special day, which is why it’s important to discuss a back-up plan with the resort before your actual wedding day. Being prepared will alleviate stress and give you the confidence to make your dream wedding a reality.