This is a guest post courtesy of Ariel Chiu, Principal Planner and Owner at Wonderstruck Weddings & Events.
Your destination wedding will be one of the most memorable events of your life, so make sure that you have a good one! If you haven’t traveled widely before, or if you don’t know a friend who can help, you can make a lot of mistakes during the planning stage. Mistakes in the planning can result in days of misery and confusion for you and your guests.
Imagine the embarrassment of flying everyone out to a beach wedding, only to find out it is winter in that part of the world. Imagine booking your hotels and being unable to make a deal with any of the local wedding venues or vendors. These incidents have happened to real people, but you don’t have to let them happen to you.
Take some precautions instead by taking the advice that we’ve given you below.
Set the budget before anything else
Your budget will be your limit on everything else, so make sure that you have it completely figured out as your first priority. Collect all your savings and gifts into one sum so you know what you will be working with, and then start building out each expense you’ll need to cover. There may be many that surprise you!
Destination weddings can have many more costs than local weddings, including air or land travel, travel costs for some guests, visa fees, and out-of-country insurance plans. A successful wedding will need a nice venue, attractive decorations and good food, so travel costs have to be controlled. If you can save thousands of dollars by choosing a more affordable area, you can have a better wedding.
If traveling to a new hemisphere, make sure you know the season
Don’t overlook the importance of weather — check out the climate of your destination wedding location a year in advance. Remember that winter comes to the Southern Hemisphere roughly during the months of June to August, and those famous sandy beaches in many popular locations can become a lot chillier during these months. Many destination weddings are planned around beaches and sunny areas, so make sure that yours will be that way before you make your booking.
Try to build a package for all the things you’ll need
Building a package for the things you need is going to make almost everything easier. Instead of negotiating separately for each thing you need (perhaps in a different language), you can put them all on one bill.
While wedding packages can be difficult to find, they are almost always available in places that are popular destinations for weddings, such as Jamaica, the French Riviera and Rio de Janeiro. The best way to work toward a single bill for all the help you’ll need is to go through your hotel booking. If you are having your wedding at one of the many famous hotels that also serves as a wedding venue, you’ll be able to find someone who can help you with the extra services through the concierge.
Consider the travel burden on your guests
Your destination wedding may need to be a lot smaller than one you’d have in your home town. Long-distance travel can be a massive expense for some people, especially the elderly or those with young families. A small wedding may be just what you have in mind, but if your perfect wedding is one that has all the right people in it, you should pick a destination that’s closer to home and more affordable.
Scout before you book
Before you’ve put any money down, make sure that you’ve scouted out the location completely. You may have had this destination in mind since you were little, but that can sometimes lead to problems — over a lifetime, you can easily build an image of a place that doesn’t match the reality. Seeing it in movies doesn’t help you understand being there, and visiting it when you’re young and wonder-filled can leave an overly rosy impression in your memory.
Take a short one-day or two-day trip one more time to your chosen location before you start planning your destination wedding. You may notice things that you didn’t before that can make it a less-than-perfect spot for your wedding. The views may have changed dramatically in just the past few years, cottages may have been replaced by factories, and it could just simply be more expensive than it was before.
Don’t forget to capture every magical moment
That’s all of our advice for you, but we do have one more recommendation: capture as many moments as you can. As long as you’re going all out to make your wedding not just a special day, but a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you deserve to remember every amazing moment.
About the Author:
Ariel Chiu is the Principal Planner and Owner of Wonderstruck Weddings & Events, a corporate event and wedding planning company located in Vancouver, British Columbia. Ariel Understands how special life events can be. She believes that these important memories should be cherished. Ariel feels honored to have been involved with successfully organizing and coordinating weddings in any season, and bringing dreams to life through her confessions.