How to Plan a Destination Wedding

How to Plan a Destination Wedding

How to Plan a Destination Wedding

You’ve got beaches on the brain—but where to start? Here, the five things you need to do first

  • Share Your Plans with a Few Key Members of Your Inner Circle

Though your big day is all about you and your partner, celebrating with the people you love plays a major part in taking the magic to the next level, which is an important consideration when you’re planning a wedding abroad. To help ensure that your BFFs and closest family can make it, create a shortlist of the guests that you absolutely want to attend. Then, consult them early, touching on their availability, budget, and any other factors that may make it easier for them to attend, such as childcare, if relevant. You might not be able to accommodate everyone’s wishes, but having them in mind can help you steer your plans so that your sidekicks are with you when you say “I do”.

  • Consider Cost

Gorgeous views and hotter temps aside, one of the best perks about destination weddings is that they’re often more affordable than their at-home counterparts. Savings come from the fact that your guest list will likely be smaller (typically only 30 to 40 percent of invitees can make it to a destination wedding), and that you can work your honeymoon into the same trip.

That said, it can be tricky to figure out who pays for what. Typically, the couple covers the cost of the wedding reception, as well as a welcome party, rehearsal dinner and morning-after brunch (though a close friend or family member may offer to “host” these gatherings as a gift); guests pay for their own flight, accommodation, and any meals and drinks (if the resort is not all-inclusive) and activities outside the festivities. With attendees forking out cash just to be there, you may want to ditch the gift registry. Other not-required-but-considerate options include providing transportation to and from the airport, welcome bags, a fun group-bonding activity, and chipping in towards your bridal party’s accommodations.

  • Book Early

Action time! A consultant can help you reserve a block of rooms for guests at a discounted rate—which you’ll want to do in advance to score those ocean-front views. (Also inquire about extra perks, such as 10th-person-travels-free deals.) Once you have the location on lock, you’ll also want to look into local marriage regulations, vendor options, and travel requirements (vaccines, visas, etc.) Working with a pro from can help eliminate the guess work, and give you more time to focus on your own personal touches.

  • Get Inspired

Now comes the fun part of developing your vision—A.K.A. the Pinterest spree! Just like how it’s best to show up to the hair salon with visual references of the cut you want, having examples of weddings you love will help your consultant, venue and vendors nail your wedding dream (especially if you’re dealing with a language barrier). Start gathering photos of things you love, from flowers to dining-table arrangements to creative cocktails. Once you’ve done a broad search, narrow down to seven or eight top images that can serve as your mood board, so that your inspiration is clear and succinct. That way, when you share it with your wedding consultant, they’ll know exactly what you’re looking for.

  • Send out Save-the-Dates

Because your guests will need to save up funds, book vacation time, get passports in order and more, it’s important to give them an earlier heads-up than you do for local weddings. Aim to send your save-the-dates about 10 to 12 months before your big day. Whether you choose to go the traditional paper route or digital, be sure to include all relevant information, including the resort (including room types and prices) and your consultant’s contact information so that everyone can book their travel. With your mood board now sorted, you can also have your save-the-date reflect your wedding theme, or you can play on the destination itself with a postcard or luggage tag design.

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