Congratulations on your engagement! If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking about planning a destination wedding. Lucky you! There are so many beautiful places around the world where you can tie the knot.
Getting married abroad can be a fun and rewarding experience. From the ceremony to the honeymoon, you’ll have many new experiences that you’ll cherish for years to come. Whether you opt for a destination wedding at a beach resort or in a historic city center, it is an unforgettable event that you’ll look back on fondly for years to come.
But how do you know where to start? We’re here to help with this comprehensive guide on how to plan your destination wedding!
It may be tempting to try to plan your destination wedding on your own; after all, who knows better about what you want than yourself! Let’s be real; you have enough on your plate without the stress of becoming a pseudo wedding planner/travel advisor. Enlisting a travel advisor will take that weight off your shoulders so you can enjoy engagement bliss and an expertly planned destination wedding.
Not only will an advisor be able to inform you of the best locations to fit your wedding vision, but they can assist with travel arrangements for your guests as well! We’ve seen how COVID has caused panic for those couples who planned everything on their own. A travel advisor will take care of all wedding details regarding travel and ensure continuous communication regarding up-to-date travel information for all. Questions about room blocks and best value for you and your guests? A travel advisor can guide you through these questions and more to determine what the best choice is for you and your partner. Want a peek into a destination wedding we planned in Mexico? Check out our post on Chantelle & Eric | Majestic Elegance Costa Mujeres.
This is a crucial part of the process, so take your time and choose a location that speaks to you. Your travel agent will take the time to listen to you and get to know you and your partner to help you make the best choice for your destination wedding plan. We’ve highlighted some incredible options on our blog post 10 Stunning Destination Wedding Locations in the Caribbean.
Let’s talk about location factors to consider when destination wedding planning.
Make sure to include travel costs, attire, and the works! Everyone has a comfort zone with what they want to spend! Even million-dollar weddings have some form of a budget. Setting your comfort zone will help decide what you and your partner truly want to focus on for the big day!
First, set your priorities for your destination wedding plan! We recommend choosing three items to be pillars for your wedding, i.e., what you are unwilling to compromise on. These pillars will set the tone for the experience you plan to cultivate for your guests. For example, your three pillars may be food, photography, and live music. For others, it may be florals, custom wedding attire, and entertainment during the reception.
Once you set your priorities, stick to them! Wedding budget planning is an excellent way for a couple to work together to accomplish a goal. Budgeting also offers the advantage of a sneak peek into the way your future spouse handles money.
Don’t forget to budget for the honeymoon as well!
For a destination wedding, you want to give at least a year’s notice. Ideally, save the dates should be sent to wedding guests between a year and eighteen months before a destination wedding. This strategy ensures guests have plenty of time to work with your destination wedding travel advisor and plan around their everyday schedules. We know one of the most stressful tasks for any couple is deciding who you will invite to your wedding. The first rule of destination wedding planning is you must be okay if only you and your partner show up.
Destination weddings are not for the faint of heart. At the end of the day, what matters is that you and your partner have the wedding you want. If the couple agrees on the first rule, then a destination wedding is definitely for you!
It’s crucial to keep in mind that destination weddings averaged 30%-40% of invited guests accepting pre-pandemic. We saw that once vaccinations began to roll out, that number skyrocketed to 50%-55%. We recommend using that number as a guide when developing your guest list.
Next, we believe it’s essential to include plus-ones for single guests. No one likes to travel alone. So while you can be stricter on plus ones for traditional weddings, it’s best practice to allow singles a plus-one for destination weddings.
We know it’s hard to choose vendors, especially if you cannot meet them in person before your big day! Luckily when you book with a Destination Wedding Planner, often they will have on-the-ground connections and can even travel to your destination before your wedding to ensure all is well. We recommend a zoom consultation before booking with destination vendors so you can ‘e-meet’ them and see if they are the right fit for you. If you choose a USA-based vendor, keep in mind you may have to reimburse them for their travel expenses.
Thinking of a destination wedding in Mexico? Check out The Ultimate Guide to Having a Destination Wedding in Mexico and 10 Stunning Destination Wedding Locations in the Caribbean for more information!
Communication with your guests is a little different when planning a Destination Wedding. Your guests will need more guidance than a traditional wedding to make it to the big day without a hitch. Including local maps, airport information, registry details, as well as a comprehensive FAQ can help ease the onslaught of questions from guests. Consider setting up a Facebook page or group chat for additional events such as a welcome party or post-wedding breakfast. Additionally, while guests traveling for your wedding will already be spending money to attend your wedding, it’s still a good idea to create a registry. Those who are unable to attend may still want to celebrate, and having a registry to refer to will save time for all parties involved. Websites like Zola give couples the option to have their wedding website and registry all in one place!
At Esprit Errant we are Destination Wedding Experts. If you are thinking about a Destination Wedding for 2022 and beyond, we would love to speak with you. Click here to schedule a time to chat with us!
Engaged and confused? Check out the following posts!
This post was update on February 19th, 2022