Before you decide to jet off and tie the knot, here's some helpful advice from real-life brides (and a groom!) that'll guarantee a memorable and successful out-of-town celebration.
1. See the venue in person
If you have the means and time, plan a trip to your destination to meet with your vendors in person. It's great to put faces with names and to discuss details in person rather than over email for months at a time. Couples love seeing the different venues beforehand because pictures can be misleading.
2. Pinterest is your best friend
Create a vision board on Pinterest that you can share with your vendors like florists, designers, wedding planners, cake decorators, etc. It's hard planning a wedding far away so communicate with visuals as much as possible,
3. Arrive early!
Get there a few days before your guests do. Arrive ahead of time with your future husband, and maybe your mother so you have time to get organized and make gift bags.
4. A (good) Travel Agent is essential
Having a wonderful Travel Agent who understands your budget, what you're looking for stylistically and at the wedding destination. They need to be extremely experienced at planning international weddings at that particular site and have a roster of vendors who are also experienced at traveling for weddings.
5. Add an extra day
Planning a weekend of festivities for your guests, make sure and build in an extra day. Your wedding location could require quite a long journey to reach and it is in a drastically different time zone. After deducting the travel time, jet lag, late arrivals and early departures, you may feel like you barely spent any time with your guests.
6. Don't sweat the small stuff
You and your guests are going to remember the stunning sunset during the wedding ceremony and the amazing view from the sky deck overlooking the sea, not the centrepieces, bouquets, favors or themed place cards. So if you can, cut out these details and keep it simple! Leverage off what the destination already has to offer and save on planning, stress and set-up.
7. Some things may get lost in translation — literally
If you're not able to hash out the details of your flowers and decor with the vendor in person, make sure you're as detailed as humanly possible about what you want. Make Pinterest boards and PowerPoints, and review them via video chat with your florist and wedding coordinator.
8. Trimming the guest list isn't easy
One of the hardest parts is deciding who to invite. You don't want to leave anyone out, but you probably have big families and ultimately need to decide not to have extended family at your destination wedding. Just enjoy it with your parents, siblings and close friends.
9. Use the free perks to your advantage.
If you have enough guests staying at the same resort, you can score free room upgrades and additional credits for things like spa sessions and personal shuttles to and from the airport
10. Give Everyone a Heads-Up
Tell your bridal party you’re planning a destination wedding before you ask them to stand by your side, so they can gracefully decline if finances are tight. Besides those VIPs, it’s also a good idea to give the rest of your guest list plenty of notice so they can get the best deals on flights and accommodations before prices skyrocket. Send out save the dates at least nine-twelve months in advance, but don't be upset if some of your closest friends or relatives don't attend. While you are, in a sense, footing some of the food bills, their fees for travel, hotel and car rental can really add up. You want your friends and family to plan their vacation around your Destination Wedding.