I am finding that destination weddings are becoming ever more popular. To help those couples thinking about a destination wedding, I thought it would be useful to share my top 5 tips for planning a destination wedding.
1. Budget - Start by setting a clear budget. This will determine how many guests you can invite. Talk with your fiance and set limits on who you are willing to pay for when it comes to travel and hotel accommodations. If you wish, plan a big reception when you return from your destination - that way those who can't travel aren't left out of the celebration.
2. Hire a Wedding Professional - To eliminate the added stress of planning a destination wedding, work with an expert either in your hometown or at the desired location. Professionals provide trustworthy resources and take care of all of the details, making the process hassle free. The cost of a planner equals peace of mind.
3. Do your research - Thoroughly research destinations, taking into consideration mother nature (hurricane season for example), best availability for your group, airfare costs, passports, legal marriage requirements and guest accommodations. Do you prefer the beach or the mountains? A popular hot spot or a remote getaway? Also, ask for discounts. If you are bringing a large group to a resort do not be afraid to strike a deal. Some airlines even offer special group rates.
4. Visit - To make sure your wedding planner and fiance are on the same page be sure to do a site visit early in the planning process. This will help you get a feel for the venue, transportation options, restaurants, activities and accommodations.
5. Take care of your guests - Send out your save-the-dates at least 8 to 10 months before a destination wedding to give your guests time to make their travel plans. Also, think of guests' budgets when selecting a location. It is always nice to prepare a welcome bag or basket. In it, include a resource guide that has maps, restaurants and local attractions along with some local goodies (keep it to food they can eat during their stay or items they can easily travel with). It shows guests how thankful you are that they came and it gives them a taste of the area.
There are a lot of considerations in planning a destination wedding and I hope this gives you a good start.