The big day is approaching, but it still feels like a million miles away, because it is. Destinations weddings offer a new experience and make getting to the honeymoon a lot easier.
However, it requires a slightly different level of planning. We've got you covered, and we made a list of the important things you need to remember.
Choose A Location That Meets All Your Requirements
Choose a location that you've always wanted to go to, but also one that is practical. This means a location where you can spend your honeymoon afterward, but where it will also be easy to find a suitable wedding venue.
Research Your Dates
Once you have a destination in mind, look up its climate and seasons, and see how that works with your schedule. Start by picking a season and have a few back-up dates in case your dream venue is booked up.
Give Your Guests A Big Heads-Up
A destination wedding means your guests need to plan, too. Make sure to give them plenty of notice so they can monitor plane tickets and book the time off. The more time you give, the higher the odds of your guests RSVP-ing yes.
Try To Visit The Venue In Person
Try to book a trip before the big trip to see everything in person and make sure it's up to your standards. Places can look really different in pictures than how they look in person. This will give you the peace of mind of knowing what to expect on the big day.
Make Pinterest Your Go-To
Make a vision board, a dream board with everything you wish you could have. This will give you great inspiration and narrow down your ideas about everything from flower colors to dress styles—and it gets you prepared to go shopping.
Stick To A Budget
Create a realistic and affordable budget as a couple. This budget should factor in airfare, hotel stay, honeymoon activities, vendors, venue, menu, attire, invitations, party favors, etc. Make a list of everything you need, and give it a dollar value estimate to help you plan ahead.
Less Is More
Due to all the extra costs and being far away from the venue, "less is more" should be your motto for things like decor. You want to keep things simple to give yourself peace of mind and because you'll want to ship a limited number of items.
Consider Climate-Appropriate Clothing
Consider best- and worst-case scenarios with your location's climate when deciding what you and your bridesmaids are going to wear. Go for lighter fabric for hot weather or something that still looks classy with a jacket on it.
Get Informed On The Destination's Mariage Requirements
Do some research to ensure that you will actually be able to get legally married at your destination. If you can't, don't worry, you can still have a quick civil ceremony before you go, and just focus on the celebration at your destination.
Make Sure Passports And Visas Are Up To Date
Check your passports and visa requirements as soon as possible, because it can take a long time if they need to be updated. Keep in mind that some countries require that a visa be valid for a minimum of six months prior to the ceremony, and passports can take at least three months to get updated.
Hire A Wedding Planner
Give yourself a bit of a break and hire a wedding planner who is already familiar with international regulations and has experience in destination weddings. Not only will they have tips to give you, but they will also do a lot of the hard work for you, especially if they know the local language.
Ship Items Ahead
Catherine Cindy Leo from CCL Weddings and Events advises, "If you plan to bring a lot of décor with you overseas, especially fragile items, make sure to ship it to the destination at least 2–3 weeks prior. This gives ample time for delivery without paying ridiculous costs in shipping, and allowing for inspection on the other end." Also, do not ship the most valuable items. Pack them with you instead.
Stay Organized With A Binder
Go to your local bookstore and buy yourself an aesthetically pleasing binder to keep all of your checklists, ideas, print-outs of your inspiration pictures, and all of your other organization sheets, like invites and the guest list. This will help keep you organized and give you a souvenir to look through when it's all said and done.
Launch A Website
Create a simple and free website where you can post your engagement photos and share your love story, but one that your guests can also use to track important wedding information, report any allergies, and send in RSVPs.
Don't Forget About Vendors
Make a list and tackle items one at a time. You will need local options for flowers, photography, transportation, food, entertainment, etc. Since you can't see it in person, don't be afraid to ask to see proposals and photos before you settle on an option.
Find A Local Photographer
Don't cheap out on this part! You will cherish the photos you take forever and show them to your children one day. Look up reviews to see what others have said about the best local photographers—use Google Translate if you have to.
Request Time Off Work
It's easy to get so caught up in the planning that you forget some of the simpler tasks, like booking time off work in advance to guarantee you get first dibs. That way, you can also get some work done ahead of time so you can completely leave all stress behind on your important trip.
Book A Room Block
To help your guests out, and to avoid getting a flood of emails about where to stay during your wedding, a lot of hotels offer the option to book off room blocks for events. This is kind of like reserving rooms to make sure they are available, so all your guests can be close to each other.
Write Your Vows
Perhaps one of the most important moments of your wedding will be your vows, so try not to get too caught up in the details that you leave writing them to the last minute. Start a note on your phone where every time you get an idea of what you want to say, you can write it down. Closer to the wedding, all you'll have to do is draft it all together.
Relax And Enjoy
On the actual day of the wedding, leave all last-minute planning to everyone else, and just focus on enjoying watching all your hard work come together. But more importantly, focus on what this day means to you and the rest of your life.