While more complicated to plan, destination weddings are unforgettable experiences for both the marrying couple and their guests. Whether you’re choosing a domestic venue or going for something more exotic overseas, there are many things to consider when planning this type of wedding.
1. The Location
It’s an obvious point, but you should give consideration to the location.
Getting married in Fiji may be your dream, but what if your friends and loved ones cannot afford to make the trip?
Maybe you want to get married in a location that means something to you, like the small beach town you grew up in. What if the destination is lacking the amenities that you need, like a large enough hotel to accommodate all of your guests?
If you’re flexible on the location, try choosing a place that is relatively affordable for your guests and will have the resources you need to throw the wedding you want. It may take some time and compromise to find the right location, but it will be worth the effort.
Don’t forget to consider unconventional options, too, like renting a home. Foxboro Ranch Estates in Arizona, for example, has beautiful homes – some with lake views – that may be the perfect backdrop for your big day. A location like this would be an affordable compromise that could bring your dream wedding to life.
2. The Local Laws
There’s one important thing couples overlook when planning a destination wedding: local laws. Marriage laws vary from one country to the next.
Here are some important legal issues you need to consider:
- What is considered an acceptable officiant?
- Is there a blood test requirement?
- Do you have to be a resident to get married?
If legal issues are getting in the way of your dream destination wedding, you may have to have a ceremony at your local courthouse before you leave and have your destination wedding be mostly symbolic.
3. Hiring Hair and Make-Up Pros
If your budget allows, you may fly your favorite stylist to your destination wedding. If not, you’ll need to book someone local, which can be tricky. You may get lucky and your stylist may be able to recommend someone at your destination. Otherwise, you’ll need to rely on reviews for vendors and will have to book long distance.
If you go this route, you might consider scheduling hair and makeup trials after you arrive at your destination. Make sure you’re there at least few days in advance.
4. Finding a Hotel and Venue
Finding a hotel shouldn’t be as complicated as finding a venue. But you’ll need to consider the hotel’s capacity and the cost to stay.
As for the venue, you may have to book it sight-unseen. If the destination isn’t too far away, make it a point to at least see the venue in person once. If you can, go back for another visit three or four months before your big day to finalize the details.
If the second trip isn’t possible, you may want to arrive at your destination at least five days in advance to sort out the last-minute details.