Planning weddings in general can become hectic and stressful. Add a destination to the mix and things can become even crazier. Keeping in mind that destination weddings can become pricey, know that there are ways to keep them in your budget while making sure this is the wedding of your dreams. We’ve brought together seven super-simple tips and tricks to make your wedding dream a reality, no matter where you decide to have it.
Choose the Right Location
Sure, your wedding day is all about you. After all, this is the day to celebrate the love you have with your significant other. But remember that you’re inviting guests. Find a location that you love as well as making sure there will be an area for the guests to stay. Also consider how the venue will work for guests who may have a hard time getting around or who may need some extra help. The beautiful island, the beach your mother took you to as a kid, or even the state you grew up in all sound amazing, but it won’t work if guests can’t enjoy it as well. Keep an eye out for accessible venues near a variety of hotels or short-stay accommodation.
Budget Just Right
When planning a destination wedding, the prices become higher. You’ll likely be booking venues, caterers, florists and other support from afar. This is the time to sit down and do your online research. Check reviews, sign up for local message boards and don’t be afraid to ask to do a video chat with potential suppliers.
You don’t have to give up any DIY embellishments just because it’s a destination wedding, either. Rolling up your sleeves and getting creative on decorations is a great way to keep your budget in check and as long as you plan ahead, it’s easy to bring them with you. Keep the decorations classy yet minimal to help stay within your set budget.
Let Guests Know Far Ahead
Keep in mind you’re asking guests to take on the expense and inconvenience of travel in order to be with you for your special day In order to show respect for their time, energy and money, let your family and friends know at least eight months ahead of time. This way they will have time to request time off of work or adjust their budget as necessary. Make sure your bridal party knows ahead of time as well. Destination weddings can be difficult for people to attend when they’re given a 3 month notice. Plan ahead and plan smart.
Keep Your Count in Mind
Knowing how many people plan to attend is vital information in any wedding – and especially in a destination wedding. When you’re booking with venues, remember that if you have fewer people than expected you may still be on the hook for additional money. If you end up being below your original number, some places will make you pay for meals or rooms that won’t be served or used. Similarly, venues such as historical homes or B&Bs will usually require a smaller number of guests.
Find Out What’s Included
When planning from afar, be sure to ask about what is included with a given wedding venue. There are wedding venues that will only include the location fee, so you pay extra for flowers, food and anything else. Conversely, there are venues which include extras such as flowers or photography. Look for combination venues with packages for out of town weddings in order to keep your budget on track and to streamline everything.
While having a giant gown, a tux with leather trim or bridesmaid dresses with long sleeves may make for a fairy tale look but it can be a disaster depending on the venue. The heat of the Caribbean or the Carolinas will make those fabulous ideas turn into a sweaty reality. Know the climate of your area and check the weather from the previous year at that time to get an idea of what to expect. Take the details with you when shopping for gowns, tuxes and wedding party attire.
Arrive to Your Destination Early
While you won’t be able to do much of the planning in person, that doesn’t mean you can show up an hour ahead of time either. Plan to get a few days head start on your guests. Arriving three days ahead of time will allow you and your significant other to adjust and get a feel for the area. This time will also mean handling last minute changes, and being able to prepare with your team.
If you’ve done your homework and planned carefully, you’ll even have some time to relax and enjoy your destination. After all, you’re there for your wedding, create memories beforehand as well.
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