Top 10 Wedding Destinations
It happened. The love of your life got down on one knee and popped the question. And you said “yes!” Now, you have a wedding to plan and are already crossing off all the things you DON’T want on your big day. You don’t want a crowd of strangers gawking at you, whispering about your lack of lace. It follows that you don’t want to get married in your hometown. Also, you don’t want your wedding to look like everyone else’s. If these are your wedding don’ts, then you’ll definitely dig this out-of-the-box “do”: a destination wedding. Follow these tips to ensure you experience the perfect nuptial-exchanging getaway.
1. Pick the Perfect Spot
Consider the mood or theme you want to achieve and then start researching destinations. This will help you narrow down the exact locale and climate you need to make your big day special. Check out this interactive infographic to see which wedding getaways are the most popular as well as what you’ll need to bring.
Besides theme, landscapes and climate, here are some other things to think about as you research the pros and cons of potential destinations.
- Time, travel and budget. Create a wedding budget and then make sure that your destination keeps you within those financial parameters. Keep in mind that destination weddings tend to be a little more expensive. The average spend for destination weddings is $404 per guest while average “local” weddings cost just over $100 per person.
- Make it unique to your couple personality. Are you foodies? Pick a locale that will compliment a gourmet menu. Maybe you’re movie buffs. A beach tent might make a great backdrop for a midnight showing of your favorite movie after the ceremony.
- What’s your adventure level? Up for an adventure? Have a guest list full of fellow adventurers? Some exotic locations offer amazing zipline routes or rock climbing excursions. If you and your guests are more traditional, you might want to focus on the beauty of the landscape as you choose your destination.
2. Take a Trip.
Once you choose a destination, plan to take at least one trip to organize the wedding. Make a “to do” list before you go to ensure that everything is taken care of by the time you head back home. Here’s a list of things to take care of during your planning trip:
- Reserve ceremony and reception spaces
- Secure hotels for guests
- Choose and reserve a rehearsal dinner venue
- Chat with and hire local suppliers like caterers, florists and photographers
- Schedule “tastings” with the caterer
- Schedule time with your florist to look at bouquet samples
- Plan a hair and makeup session with a local salon
- Look at local attractions that might be fun for guests before or after the ceremony like: golf, tennis, walking tours and museums
3. Research local marriage requirements.
Destination weddings have specific legalities to work around, depending on your destination country.
- Many countries have a “residency requirement.” For example in Turkey you need 24-hour residency before you can be officially hitched. In England, it’s 7 days.
- Have you always dreamed of a Paris wedding? France requires you to arrive at least 40 days before you marry.
- Though it’s not necessarily a requirement, consider getting travel medical insurance to give yourself peace of mind.
4. Look for help locally.
A local wedding planner is your best bet, since he or she will be able to advise you on the best domestic services and businesses to use.
5. Give your friends and family a heads-up.
Let your wedding party know that you’re going offsite for the ceremony, so that they can politely decline if they need to.
6. Mind mother nature.
Consider things like hurricane season, monsoon season and other weather factors before you choose a location.
7. Dress the part.
Make sure your dress matches the climate. Also consider the climate as you choose the clothing theme for your bridesmaids and groomsmen.
8. Make sure your guests will be comfortable.
Destination bags are a nice touch for welcoming guests. Arrange to have a few essentials for their stay available in a small bag or basket at their hotel room. Also make sure to offer to help with flights and information on local restaurants and other entertainment.
9.Poll your friends.
Some of your best buds may have destination wedding experiences. If so, ask them for tips on planning and which destinations they’d recommend.
10.Choose vendors carefully.
Check online references and reviews before you secure vendors. Follow the advice of your wedding planner and try to arrange to meet all your vendors face-to-face during your planning pre-wedding trip.
By following these tips, you’ll create a beautiful day with close friends and family in an amazing location. Even if you’re miles from home, the flower girl may still trip over your train. But it will be the gorgeous backdrop and unique experience that your guests will remember.