If you are unimpressed with the ceremony and reception venues in your area, you can plan an out-of-town, state, or country wedding. Maybe you have always had the desire to say “I do!” in Hawaii, Las Vegas, or Paris. Perhaps you are tight on cash and want to avoid the big party budget. Whatever the case is, you can have a beautiful one-of-a-kind wedding at any destination you want!
However, just as difficult as it is to plan a wedding right up the road, a destination wedding can be that much harder. You cannot be in that city physically to look at a venue or talk with vendors. Here are a few tips that can make the process stress-free and smooth. Do not feel bad for skipping the church wedding or the traditional nuptials. You can show your guests something unique that they have never seen before!
The Venue and Head Count
Unless you have your heart set on a specific city, it may be easier to choose a wedding theme before you pick a location. Do you want to tie the knot on a mountaintop, at the beach, or in a castle? Maybe you have envisioned your wedding in a certain light ever since you were a little girl. Now is the time to make your dreams come true.
After you plan your venue, you need a tentative head count. Make sure you have a definite number before you make a down payment. Depending on the distance, time of year, and financial status of your guests, you could have a hundred people or a handful. It is really important to know how many people will say they want to come versus who will truly make the trip.
Booking Plane Tickets and Hotel Rooms
You have to start planning in advance—far in advance. If you want to reserve the perfect suite, do not settle for the second best. Make sure you call and book your plane tickets, hotels, rental cars, venues, and all of the other details ahead of time. Imagine how awful you would feel if you bought a plane ticket, but the venue was full. What if you paid for a hotel room, but there was no space for your guests? Check with your hotel to see if you can block rooms to accommodate everyone. When you are looking for a plane ticket, you need to make sure you have passports. One major thing you need on top of it all: time off of work.
Traditional save-the-dates are mailed out a year ahead of time, so, when it comes to a destination wedding, you need to have the save-the-dates sent out even before that. You r guests need to equally understand the dates they need off from work, the traveling requirements, and how much money everything will cost. On average, guests tend to pay about $750 to $1,100 per person to attend a destination wedding.
Keep in mind that if you want some privacy after you say “I do!” then you should book your suite on a different floor from your guests. You may even want to venture off to another hotel, so you can enjoy your time as newlyweds. This may be especially desired if your wedding day turns into a weeklong getaway for you, your family, and friends.
The Marriage License
Something that may be difficult to decipher are the laws regarding marriage certificates. Each state or country has its own set of rules in terms of earning a license. As fun as the eating and drinking will be, think of how terrible the wedding destination would be if you did not have a true wedding. After all the vacationing, you will come home as a single couple.
Therefore, you need to check and double check about what documents and details are required in order to get your marriage license. This may include pre-approval applications, witnesses, blood tests, immunization records, divorce decrees, residency, and general identification.
Talking to Vendors
You may feel uneasy about discussing major wedding details with strangers over the phone. Since you are planning a destination wedding, you will not be able to see, touch, taste, or smell the things you desire. In order to book the perfect musicians, florists, caterers, and photographers, you should consult with several of them; more than you would for an at-home wedding. Make sure you ask lots of questions in order to get a full scope of the services. Read online reviews to see what other customers thought of the vendors.
Be careful not to become victim to a scam artist or a vendor with mediocre work, who demands a lot of money upfront. Of course, you will have to take into account that, in order for vendors to secure your date, they will require a down payment.
Hiring a Wedding Planner
If you have never visited the city, state, or country where you want to get married, it may be much less worrisome if you hire a professional wedding planner. A consultant can help you through every step of the wedding process. As an expert in the industry, wedding planners can give you a list of reputable vendors in practically any area of the world. To take it a step further, your planner can discuss your expectations with the vendors directly. They have the resources and experience to take care of all the wedding details in a fast and easy manner.
Many resorts hire their own personal wedding planners to help their guests. They will know all of the legalities of that region when it comes to the question of getting a marriage license. They can also explain all of the costs.
When the big day nears, you will not have anything to worry about. All of the fine details and little touches will be in place. Although hiring a wedding planner can be expensive, it will save you a headache and a potential wedding disaster.
It is important to remember that even with the most intense planning, things will come up that do not follow your precise idea of how your wedding day should go. It does not matter if you have your nuptials where you live or halfway across the world. Whether you experience bad weather, get lost, or have currency exchange issues, things happen unexpectedly. Try to take everything in stride; take a deep breath, and do not let small things ruin your beautiful destination wedding.