Planning a destination wedding?

Use our really helpful destination wedding planning guide to help you succeed in organising your stress free wedding day. We hope this guide is a good starting point for you and the arranging of your wedding abroad.

Why have a Destination Wedding?

You’ve always dreamed of your wedding day in a certain travel location. Maybe you spent a fantastic vacation earlier in your relationship at a gorgeous Ibiza resort or a smart Cyprus hotel. Or maybe one of you spent a summer at a quaint Tuscan village or a rustic beach venue in Mexico. If it’s easy to imagine a picture of yourselves in a wedding dress or suit in these wonderful holiday memory places, a destination wedding may be just the ticket for you and your partner. Your families and friends are from here, there and everywhere. Many couples with far-flung relatives have thrown up their hands in the air at trying to find a place that suits everyone. Soon it occurs to them: If everyone’s going to have to travel anyway…Bomba! Destination wedding!

Somewhere warm….

Maybe you are not into traditional church or hotel/reception hall weddings. You’ve been there, done that and want something different for yourselves. These options are just leaving you uninspired. But someplace warm in the sun? Ah, now that’s a different story. You may want to make the planning of the day easier. It’s true that any wedding—whether at home or away— can become a nightmare.  But because many resorts and hotels have on-site wedding coordinators that do all the legwork for you, a destination wedding can be less stressful to plan.

You may also want to streamline costs (or even, in some cases, save money). No one can say that a destination wedding costs less than an at-home wedding. But no one can say it costs more, either. However, it can often turn out to be easier to keep costs in check in a faraway location. Two reasons: One, you’re likely to have a slightly smaller guest list; and two, your choices are might be less lavish than they might be at home. When you’re planning from afar, it all seems exotic and wonderful, so you’re more likely to be happy with the simple bunch of local flowers the hotel provides, whereas at home you’d be visiting a half-dozen florists and being tempted by a more lavish and pricey bouquet.

Planning a destination wedding? 1

What to consider before Planning a destination wedding?

Start as early as you can. You may think you have plenty of time, but when you start looking at your first choice location, you may learn it is a bit pricier than you may have thought, or getting it is too complicated for you and your guests. And speaking of guests, they need lots of time, too. While six to eight weeks ahead is fine for sending invites to a traditional home wedding, you’ll need to give as much notice to guests invited to a wedding abroad. Stick to your budget. While it’s true that it’s easier to keep costs in check with destination weddings, it’s wise to keep an upper limit firmly in mind.

Be communicative. Send out save-the-date cards as soon as you know when and where you’ll be marrying. It can be a good idea to set up a wedding website to keep guests apprised of details. Let them know if you’ve set aside blocks of hotel rooms and how to book them, what to pack, what the itinerary of the event will be and so on.

Caring for Your Guests

You are about to have the time of your life. But what about your guests? Let’s face it: If you hadn’t invited them to your wedding, they may not have chosen to visit this particular spot. So be sure to include warm and welcoming touches to keep guests happy.Put together lovely welcome bags or baskets. This is simple to do and well received by travel-weary guests. Offer things like a map and a list of local attractions, an itinerary for wedding-related activities, bottles of water and snacks for the room. And maybe put in fun stuff like flip-flops for your beach wedding, a waterproof one-time-use camera or even a spa gift certificate if you can afford the cost.

Investigate activity options to please a wide range of ages and people. If your location is great for hiking, kayaking or windsurfing, schedule a group activity for the day before or after the wedding. For those who may not want to take part, arrange a sightseeing tour.

Figure out if anyone will need special help, and look after them. Does your grandmother need a wheelchair or your sister a cot for her little ones? Arrange these things with the hotel in advance if you can. If there will be children, check with the resort about babysitting services available to your guests. Make reserving a no-brainer, and pay for whatever your budget allows. Generally accepted etiquette says that guests, including the bridal party, pay for lodgings, but do find out if your hotel offers a discount for groups. Arrange a welcome cocktail party or light supper, as well as breakfast or brunch the day after the wedding.

planning destination wedding

Timeline

First Steps…

  • Sit down with your other half and discuss your ideal wedding
  • Draw up your budget and stick to it
  • Start planning the guest list
  • Pick potential wedding dates
  • Research potential wedding venues and ceremony locations
  • Pop the question to your bridesmaids and groomsmen
  • Enlist any helpers/talented friends of family with aspects of the wedding (for the cake, flowers, dresses etc)
  • Optional: Have an engagement party

12 Months Before The Wedding

  • Visit if you can and book your reception venue and ceremony location
  • Research potential wedding services – photographer, florist, invitations, cake, decor, music, hair, and makeup
  • Consider and review wedding insurance
  • Decide what type of entertainment you want for ceremony, drinks reception, and dancing
  • Book Photographer
  • Book Videographer
  • Choose and order wedding invitations & stationery
  • Consider options for your venue and ceremony decor
  • Start your wedding dress research and purchase, you may need fittings
  • Send Save the Date cards or invitations, start gathering addresses for guest list and include with invitations

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8/10 months before

  • Book ceremony music, band, and DJ for reception
  • Research and reserve accommodations for guests
  • Contact decor hire companies if you need to rent anything for ceremony/reception, such as chairs, tables, and tent.
  • Book Honeymoon if not at location
  • Order wedding cake
  • Shop for groom’s suit
  • Book Groomsmen’s Suits
  • Choose bridesmaids’ dresses

6/8 months before

  • Book ceremony musicians
  • Ensure passports are in date
  • Bridesmaids and groomsmen start planning Hen & Stag Parties

4-6 months before

  • Organise with florist or venue for bouquets and buttonholes
  • Organise the legalities
  • Decide on readings and music
  • Organise order of service if you want these
  • Arrange travel vaccinations if necessary
  • Organise wedding transport
  • Start gathering addresses for guest list

Planning a destination wedding? 2

2-3 months before

  • Review final RSVP list and call any guests who have not yet responded
  • Order wedding rings
  • Attend dress fittings
  • Choose wedding rings
  • Organise gifts for parents, bridesmaids, groomsmen and each other
  • Book hairdresser and organise hair trial with venue or local salon

4 weeks before

  • Have final wedding dress fitting
  • Pay any suppliers their final balances
  • Create your table plan
  • Make any last-minute adjustments with suppliers
  • Order and plan in-room welcome baskets for out-of-town guests
  • Call all wedding suppliers to confirm arrangements, create timetable for day

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2 weeks before

  • Deliver must-have shot lists to photographer and videographer. Include who should be in formal portraits and determine when portraits will be taken

1 week before

  • Give venue/caterer final guest headcount
  • Supply wedding coordinator with a list of supplier requests such as a table for DJ or setup space needed by the florist
  • Give ceremony and reception site managers a schedule of vendor delivery and setup times, plus contact numbers
  • Get manicure, massage, waxing & all your preening and prep
  • Do full wedding dress rehearsal from underwear to veil
  • Pack an overnight bag for the reception
  • Pack for the holiday/honeymoon
  • Organise money to be paid to suppliers on the day

2-3 days before

  • Make last minute changes to table plan if necessary
  • Groom: Ask the best man to make sure all groomsmen have packed up their outfits
  • Confirm pick-up times with wedding transport
  • Reconfirm final details with all vendors. Discuss any necessary last-minute substitutions

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Day before

  • Drop off place cards, table cards, menus, favours, table plan to reception coordinator
  • Provide all wedding professionals with an emergency phone number to call on the day of the wedding
  • Sort out payments (write cheques/organise cash) for any final balances to be paid at the end of the reception
  • Ensure the cake is on track to be delivered to reception venue
  • Rehearse ceremony with full wedding party ceremony readers your officiant at the ceremony site to rehearse and iron out details.
  • Get a good night’s rest

The Wedding Day!

  • Give the gifts for your parents to the best man/bridesmaid for after the speeches
  • Get flowers delivered to the bride’s venue
  • Give wedding bands to the best man to hold during the ceremony
  • Introduce your reception coordinator to your wedding planner, or bridesmaid/bestman for questions or problems during the reception
  • Assign a family member or attendant to be the photographer’s contact so they know who is who

After the Wedding

  • Prearrange for someone to return any rentals
  • Write and send thank-you notes to gift-bearing guests and vendors who were especially helpful.

Another helpful Blog to read is here from the WeddingWire : https://www.weddingwire.co.uk/wedding-tips

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Planning a destination wedding? Contact us to book your wedding photography, wherever in the world you plan to marry.