Need tips on how to plan a destination wedding? This guide is a good place to start.
Destination wedding planning is always a significant undertaking, but these tips can help you maintain your sanity while setting up your special day.
1. Choose a Meaningful Location
First things first: Every destination wedding needs a destination, and your first task is to pick a place that’s meaningful to you. It could be a favorite park you and your beloved like to visit, or a local attraction that can host the kind of wedding you envision. And of course, you can also choose a perennial destination wedding location like Hawaii, with endless options for a scenic and memorable ceremony.
2. Know Your Destination
Even if it’s a setting you’re familiar with, visiting your destination well in advance and looking at it through “wedding eyes” can open up the possibilities and expose potential issues. Taking one last walk-through and making final arrangements in advance can be a lifesaver. Be sure to get to know the hotels or resorts that are available to host your special event and accommodate your guests.
3. Complement the Destination
Think about the feel and vibe of the setting, and tailor your dresses, suits, décor and even entertainment accordingly. While it’s great to have a laid-back wardrobe for a beach ceremony, that wouldn’t work for a wedding hosted in an ornate hotel ballroom.
4. Consider Your Guests
Your family and friends have come all this way to celebrate your vows with you, so try to put them up in (or at least find and recommend) affordable local lodging. Often, you can arrange block discounts with nearby hotels and resorts if you have a lot of guests coming. Or if you’re staying in a vacation villa at a Marriott Vacation Club resort, know that you’ll already have the extra space to comfortably accommodate some of your guests. Also, since you’re probably asking at least a few guests to travel fairly far for this, be sure to give them a courtesy heads-up well in advance of your wedding, so they can fit it into their schedule.
5. Timing is Everything
This might seem like a no-brainer, but when you have the ceremony is as important as where. Plan in advance to have it at the right time of year for the destination. Have that beach wedding in Florida in the spring or fall, when temps are near perfect, versus the sweltering summer. And have the beautiful lakeside Colorado wedding in the springtime and not the middle of winter, unless you want to provide snowshoes for the wedding party.
6. Get Help from a Pro
Most weddings have myriad little details that can overwhelm even the most organized person; and a long-distance wedding even more so. It may at first seem like an unnecessary expense to hire a professional wedding planner, but it can be well worth working it into the cost of a destination wedding. Not only do wedding planners help make all the arrangements and assure things come together smoothly, they can help you achieve your vision for the entire event — they may even have local knowledge of the destination that turns out to be useful.
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