You are engaged! What now? The planning part, of course. Hopefully, I can provide some knowledge on this since my wife and I just went through this.
Have you ever asked yourself what it would be like to have a destination wedding? I’m sure it has crossed your mind before.
Of course, the idea and thought of it can be overwhelming and scary. There are probably hundreds of questions you are seeking answers for.
It WILL get better and you WILL not regret making a decision to do a destination wedding.
Here are a few note-worthy “To-Know” before you jump all in.
1. Location, location, location
After making that decision to have a destination wedding, you now have a large responsibility of deciding on where you should host it.
I would suggest doing some research and finding which travel agency fits best for you. Personally, I got recommended to use Wright Travel Agency and had no regrets.
They will provide you with a quick questionnaire to understand your wants and needs. I was given a handful of webinars to attend to get a better insight on the specified destinations that I had in mind.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Remember, they want to help you pick the best possible location.
2. Legal or symbolic
Make sure you fully understand this as you’re thinking about doing a destination wedding. There are rules and requirements that you must follow if you wish to go the traditional “legal” route. My wife and I chose to do a symbolic wedding in Jamaica.
I personally see no advantages of having a “legal” wedding. It costs money and there is more paperwork to deal with and that’s extra headaches.
What this means is that we got legally married back in the states so all we’re doing in Jamaica is the symbolic ceremony to tie our knot…again…in front of the rest of our friends and family. This is a MUCH easier route and less mess to deal with.
3. Not being able to see your venue first
This is probably very hard if you are very controlling on how things will look. Well, good thing we live in the age of instant gratification. Google the dang place and see where the spot for the ceremony will be at. We searched online and found many pictures of previous couples that had it at the same location.
Also, early on during my research for a venue. I would get current pictures from my travel agent for the places that I was interested in. So do not hesitate to ask…
4. Assembling the welcome gift bags
This was one of the toughest things we had to deal with. Make sure you plan this accordingly because you’ll be bringing a lot of luggage for all the gifts. We had some friends that were flying Southwest and utilized their free bag check-ins with our extra luggage.
You’ll be arriving before everyone so take an hour or so out of your paradise vacation to set up your gift bags. It’s a nice gesture for all the guests that are making that long trek to witness your special day.
***Some resorts will offer to deliver these bags for you or hand them to guests as they check-in.
Packing is a pain in the butt regardless of where you’re going. Now multiply that pain by 10 haha.
I highly recommend packing a few days in advance (heck, do it a week if you can) before departure. We have tendencies to forget things and only to realize it when we’re at the resort. Make a checklist to help yourself.
But be aware, you’ll be bringing a lot more than usual since you’re on a week-long trip out of the country. Make sure everything is accounted for. There are some great tips out there on how to organize your items to utilize the space most efficiently. DO IT! It’ll save you extra baggage fee.
6. Making sure all your guests are booked correctly
Not only are you responsible for booking for yourselves, you are also responsible for making sure everyone is booking their trip correctly.
The only reason why it’s a big deal is that you’ll reserve a block of rooms that are reserved for your guests. This is coming out of your own pocket in the initial contract to reserved the rooms. I believe we only held 15 rooms in the beginning and as we got more confirmations, we added more to the reservation at a prorated cost.
Don’t worry, the money will be applied towards your room/flight cost in the end.
It’s very important to follow up with your guests to make sure they contacted the right person to get the contracted rate.
7. Expect complaints
Ha, I chuckled a bit as I’m reading this headline and starting to type down my thoughts. Be aware that there will be guests that can’t make it and will moan and groan about this.
Last time I check, this is your wedding. I didn’t know accommodation was required for everyone. But just understand that there will many that can’t make it, whether it’s financial or schedule conflict.
Surprisingly I had over 60 guests for my wedding, which is not a typical party size for a destination wedding.
8. Hosting your bridal shower before the trip
My wife thought it was easy to have everything taken care of back in the states. This is a favor for both you and the guests.
All things considered, this is a much better option since guests won’t have to drag extra baggage with them. And you don’t have to worry about bringing everything home safely.
Less stress and fewer headaches.
This is THE most important thing. If you think communication is important for a regular wedding, this is beyond that.
You are working with so many different moving parts here. Making sure everyone is on the same page and there is no miscommunication is the key to your PERFECT destination wedding.
For this reason, it’s your responsibility to communicate effectively to your guests, travel agent, and wedding planner. You’ll be doing a lot of chasing for
You’ll be doing a lot of chasing for this since people tend to be forgetful or not as responsive as you want them to be.
10. Be aware of seasonal weather
Nothing like a downpour to ruin your perfect wedding day. Make sure you check the weather for your destination wedding. I know during the summertime, certain areas are affected by hurricane season. But the great thing about these Carribean areas, the rain usually last 30 minutes and it’ll be clear again.
Make sure you work with your wedding planner on a backup spot in case it does rain.
I know for my wedding – our wedding planner discussed this potential problem and walked us through the indoor ceremony area. Thankfully we didn’t have to deal with any rain.
Now you know more about the hurdles and challenges of planning a destination wedding, what are your thoughts?
Did you have any other challenges that are worth noting for future engaged couples?