Planning a wedding can sometimes feel like a full time job. From creating a unique wedding centerpiece to choosing the right photographer for you, there are countless small details you have to attend to. When it comes to a destination wedding, all these things will get a whole lot more complicated.
That being said, if your Pinterest is littered with pictures of barefoot weddings on white sand beaches, realizing that dream might be easier than you think. This list of things to think about when planning your destination wedding will help you lock down all the extra details and avoid disaster.
1. Planning a destination wedding can be harder
The perfect wedding day is your end goal, but having it in a faraway locale can sometimes lead to more complications than usual. If you need to plan the menu and cake, but can’t afford to travel to the destination to do so, you’ll miss out on sampling all the foods! This might not sound like a big deal, but making sure you’re happy with the catering can prevent both disappointment and embarrassment. Also, who doesn’t love free cake?
That’s just a start though, there are myriad decisions that you’ll need to make to see your dream destination wedding become a reality. If you won’t be on the site until a few days before your ceremony, those days could be beyond stressful as you rush to get every detail in place. It might take a little extra planning, but if you’ve got all of your ducks in a row, traveling to that perfect spot can make your big day unforgettable.
2. Many resorts have a wedding planner on staff
If your destination is an all-inclusive resort, you may be able to take advantage the resident wedding planner’s services as part of the event. Don’t overlook this benefit! Wedding days are a constant stream of small decisions and actions that can either make your day perfect, or stress you out big-time.
Take a look at our checklist of “Day-of” items that you can have the planner handle to make things run smoothly. With all the extra difficulties that come with a destination wedding, wedding planners can be a life-saver.
3. Traveling with a wedding dress can be tricky!
Unfortunately, sometimes the most perfect wedding dresses aren’t always designed to be travel-friendly. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still find one that will knock your husband’s socks off when you walk down the aisle.
Before you purchase your destination wedding dress here are some things you should consider:
- Will you be able to hang your dress on the plane? Will it need to be stowed in an overhead bin? (avoid this if at all possible).
- How will you get your dress from place to place?
- How will you get the dress ready once you’re there?
- Will you have access to a steamer? Is there a dry cleaner nearby in case of emergencies?
It’s a lot to think about, but here are a few tricks and tips to help your dress arrive in style. We know looking your best is super important, so making sure you have these details worked out in advance is crucial if you want to wow your friends and family.
4. Not everyone will be able to make it
Your family and friends want to celebrate your big day with you, but not everyone has the budget to meet you in Tahiti. Destination weddings can be a double edged sword. If you’re looking for a smaller, more intimate affair, the remote location may help you narrow down the guest list to key friends and family — saving you money in the process.
However, you also have to consider that some of your besties from college might not be able to make it. Also, some friends or family might feel hurt by the choices you need to make if the venue requires you to shorten the guest list.
Before choosing a location for your destination wedding, talk about it with the people you care for most and make sure they can get there to share the special day with you.
You don’t necessarily need to worry about everyone’s feelings (after all this is your day), but being excluded from family events can be difficult for your loved ones. Fortunately, there are some services that will help you to book group rates for the event — saving your wallet some pain, and helping make sure all your girls can make it for your big day.
Striking a balance between the guest list and the desired scenery might take just a little extra time and compromise, but your special day is definitely worth it.
5. You may have to share your honeymoon
You’ve chosen to share your life with your future spouse, but are you ready to share your honeymoon with your great-aunt Ethel? If your dream destination wedding includes staying afterwards for some private time, be aware that your guests may want to stay after the wedding for a vacation of their own.
This is especially true if the travel time from their home is on the longer side. It’s not the end of the world, but it can be bit awkward to see grandpa Joe walk by in his speedo when you’re trying to enjoy a romantic moment on the beach. If you plan to stay for a honeymoon, consider switching resorts, or going to another nearby destination to give yourselves some privacy. Wedding on Kauai? Honeymoon on Maui. You get the idea.
6. Choosing the right dress can be troublesome
An outdoor wedding in an exotic locale may be the stuff of your dreams, but not having a thorough understanding of the weather — and how that should affect your dress selection — can be a nightmare. Exchanging vows on the beach? Wear a light dress and get your swimsuit on! Getting hitched in the mountains? Look elegant and keep warm with a wrap or additional layer. No matter what you’ll look beautiful in the wedding dress of your dreams, but the pictures will be trickier if you’re sweating, shivering, or being whipped by a minor sandstorm.
Figuring out the right dress style for your destination wedding will help you cope with the climate your venue is known for on your special day. If you’re thoughtful about these choices, the combination of your perfect dress framed by breathtaking scenery will make those pictures swoon-worthy.
7. Traveling with large groups can be daunting
I’m not talking about getting to the island, mountain, or foreign land in question. It’s on the guests to get themselves there. I’m talking specifically about getting large groups of people from location to location, when you aren’t on your home turf. Have you ever tried to get cabs for two dozen people in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language? It can be… challenging, to say the least.
If you’re doing everything at one resort, that’s great, but if your plans call for a little getting around, be sure to inquire about the best options. You don’t want everyone stranded on the beachfront after the wedding rehearsal when the dinner starts in fifteen minutes across town.
Most hotels and resorts have concierge desks to help with this sort of planning, or your local wedding planner can take care of it.
With a little research, you can make these transitions as smooth as the silk on your wedding dress.
8. Your options might be more limited
If you’re anything like us, planning your wedding is a gigantic game of prioritization. What’s more important, the chocolate fondue fountain, or the band? When you’re having a wedding in your hometown, you can generally control most of the specifics and go with what’s most important.
When planning remotely, you’ll need to make some sacrifices and trust the planner to let you know what can work, and what definitely won’t. It’s a trade-off. But will you really worry about where the music is coming from when you’re sipping champagne with your new spouse while overlooking the vineyards and mountains in the distance? Nope. Totally worth it!
9. The additional expenses can add up
If you want to bring your photographer, wedding planner, or hair and makeup artist with you, be ready to open your wallet. You’ll need to cover their expenses, including airfare and hotel to make it worth their while. As for getting these services at the location, they might cost more than you expect.
Many exotic locations make a huge profit on weddings, and they won’t be looking to cut any deals. From flowers, to photos, to catering and cakes, a destination wedding is usually more expensive than a local one. That being said, you only get one dream destination wedding, so don’t be afraid to splurge on a few key items that are important to you. You’ll be cherishing those memories long after the credit card bills are paid off.
How else are you looking to perfect your dream destination wedding? Hit us up in the comments and let us know! Need some extra inspiration for your wedding? You’ll find plenty amongst the photos and videos on our Facebook and Pinterest pages!