How to Plan the Destination Wedding of Your Dreams from Home
You’ve decided to get married abroad! Awesome! But now what? Keep on reading if you want to learn how to plan the destination wedding of your dreams from the comfort of your couch.
Choose a destination! This is the most fun part. Is there a country that you’ve always dreamed of getting married in or that you’ve been dying to visit? Perhaps you’re wanting a winter wonderland in Iceland, a tropical beach wedding in Bali, or a fairytale wedding in a Scottish castle. Lean in to whatever speaks to you and run wild with it! When thinking about potential destinations, there are a few things you should factor in though: price (what you can realistically afford and if your guests can afford to go there too), weather, and the legality of getting married (check the laws and make sure you can get married there before getting too attached).
Find your dream venue. Your venue should reflect your style and your personality. If you’re a boho free spirit, a wedding at the Louvre might be too stuffy for you. On the other hand, if you enjoy elegance and the finer things in life, a venue like a luxury resort could be the place for you. Pull out those Pinterest boards and decide what your vibe is. You’ll also want to make sure that your venue can accommodate the number of guests you plan to have at your wedding.
Choose your wedding date. You could have this be Step #2 but if you’re flexible with your date, you have a better chance of getting your top venue choice. You’ll want to make sure that the date you choose falls in an ideal weather season. Some places have hurricane season, monsoon season, etc.
Hire a local, reputable wedding planner. Planning a wedding from a different timezone is no easy task. Hiring a wedding planner who is located in the country you’ll be getting married in is worth their weight in gold (and I’m a photographer so you know I’m not biased)! Not only can they help you plan your whole wedding, but they’ll be able to check out your venue for you ahead of time. Traveling to your wedding destination a year in advance to scout the venue can be expensive and inconvenient so having your planner do it is an extra benefit. See if you can sync up times where they can do a walkthrough and Skype with you during it or have them record the walkthrough that they can send to you after.
Consider hiring a travel agent. While your wedding planner will plan your big day, they don’t plan the before and after of getting there and leaving. Hiring a travel agent can save you a ton of headache on purchasing plane tickets, hotel accommodations, and other fun things you might want to do while you’re there. Either your travel agent or your wedding planner might be able to get you a discount for you and your guests on your hotel depending where you’re staying.
Send out invites early. Booking an international trip is a big ask for your friends and family so give them plenty of time to get the time off work and to make travel accommodations. Creating a wedding website is an easy and affordable way to do this!
Book your wedding photographer. Some venues will give you the option to book their photographer but here’s why you should hire your own: 1) You’ll get to choose a photographer whose style you love and who you’re comfortable with, 2) You’ll usually get more photography time (think full day coverage + possibly other pre-wedding coverage versus a couple of hours that your resort photographer is contracted for), 3) You’ll probably get more photos since resorts and hotels often have you buy the photos you want afterward versus a photographer you choose who gives you all of the digital images, and 4) Hiring your own photographer is often not as expensive as you might think. Many destination wedding photographers, like myself, have a list of locations where they’ll photograph weddings for free if their travel and accommodations are paid for.
Get any necessary vaccines. Some countries require you to get certain vaccines before visiting so make sure to look into that!
Buy your dress and bring it with you. Purchasing your wedding dress and having it physically with you before you arrive to your destination will eliminate so much stress. You’ll want to bring the dress on the plane with you, even if you have to fold it (you can steam it later) instead of checking it because you don’t want to risk the airline losing your dress.
Arrive early. You’ll want to get to your wedding destination a few days before your wedding takes place to get used to the different timezone, to make sure everything is ready and organized, and to relax instead of feeling stressed.
Get married and celebrate! You’ve made it to your wedding day and you deserve to enjoy it. Have fun with your friends and family, and most importantly, your partner!