Planning a destination wedding is exciting but can also be even more stressful than a normal wedding. We asked Linda Dancer from Honeymoons, Inc to give us her best tips for planning a destination wedding!
There are many destinations that you could choose for your big day, but some of the most popular are: Las Vegas and Florida within the U.S. and international are Jamaica, Mexico and Italy. Obviously staying within the U.S. will be a little easier to plan than going international, but just make sure you do all your research for both before you start planning.
-Marriage requirements/documents you may need-
this varies by destination , some also require blood test and documents to be translated into local language where wedding is being held – destinations also have residency requirements (how many days prior to a legal wedding the bride and groom must be present in the destination before the wedding
many destinations have a rainy season or hurricanes so knowing the weather for your destination will help you know when to schedule your wedding there
-Crowded Times –
All major holidays are busy , blackout dates are usually in place as well over the holidays so group discounts and promotions are usually blacked out for wedding guests
Most all-inclusive resorts will have a wedding team with preferred vendors / especially with photographers which is the biggest issue – third party vendors that come on resort will pay a vendor fee to come on the resort
–Group Rates –
most resorts will offer discounted room rates for wedding groups of 10 rooms or more , the window is norally 3 days prior to the wedding date and 3-4 days after the wedding date to get discounted room rates
-Notify guests well in advance so they have time to plan if they can attend –
It is good to start planning 18 months in advance if you are having guests attend your destination wedding, but elopements can be 3-6 months prior to wedding date based upon availability.
-Arrive a few days early before the wedding-
this is based upon the residency requirements normally of the destinations and it’s also good for making sure that you have everything you need in place for the big event!
Take AT LEAST one planning trip to destination before wedding:
Many resorts will offer a test drive at a discounted rate to their resort / some will use this as a credit towards their wedding cost. This is also a good idea so you know everything that you are getting and making sure that it’s everything you want.
-Meet vendors in person-
It’s always a good idea to meet your vendors in person and not just talk over email or over the phone if it’s possible. This will insure you can portray everything you are expecting from them for your big day.
-visit hotels/venues in person-
Same with the hotels/venues. It’s always great to visit them in person before completely booking them to make sure they have everything you want and need.
—Consider a local wedding planner –
Having a wedding planner (at least for the day of) for a destination wedding is a must. Destination wedding are even more stressful and hard to plan especially if you don’t live close to the destination so having a planner can greatly reduce this stress and help you plan the best event! Also, make sure they are authorized as a preferred vendor if you are having it at a resort because most resorts have an in-house wedding team – if you are having in a destination wedding, but not on the resort then it is a good idea to work with a local planner – many of them can help take care of getting any license needed for the venue and other local regulations.