1. Go On a “Try before you buy” Mission:
If you can afford it, travel to the area and resort you are considering for your destination wedding. It is good to see the exact location and area in person. You can check out the resort to make sure it will meet all of your guests and your needs and wants for your wedding. You can try out the food, check out the service, meet with the wedding coordinator, and possibly view another wedding going on. Once you are there, you may find a different resort you like better. You can always get a day pass, around $150dollars, to other resorts and check those out as well. You may like or not like the local area the resort is in for activities and excursions you want available for your guests to experience. I always recommend using a destination wedding designer in your planning, because they can guide you to a destination and resort that would be perfect for you, arrange the travel, and set the appointment with the wedding coordinator so that you can meet with her, and scope out the venues.
2. Think About Doing a Symbolic Ceremony:
There are a lot of legal requirements when you get married in another country. Usually there is a short window that you have to legally be in the country you are going to get married in. The average is two to three business days, plus all the paper work. You can avoid all the paper work, by getting married at by a JOP, and then all you need to do is bring your marriage license with you to the resort, and you can get married with a “symbolic ceremony” it really still feels like the same thing! I recommend using a destination wedding designer to help you figure out what the legalities are to get married in the countries you are considering. When it comes to anniversaries, you can either pick your legal date, or symbolic date, or some couples celebrate both. Usually they will celebrate small and private for one date, and do something larger for the other anniversary date. Hey, I am always looking for a reason to celebrate!
3.Carry On Your Dress:
Never, never, allow your dress to be put in checked baggage. There are too many things that could go wrong, and have gone wrong when a wedding dress has been put with the checked bags. Your dress should be in a protected garment bag, and may need to be folded. Some airlines will allow you to hang your dress in first class. If you ask you flight attendant, most are very understanding about your needs, especially if you are getting married.
4. Have All Your Attendees Stay at the Same Resort:
If at all possible, try to get everyone to book at the same resort. This will simplify your life so much! When everyone is all in the same locale, it is just easier to do your group activities, enjoy all of your time with family and friends, as well as cut down extra costs for your guests that may be staying elsewhere. Usually, any of your guests that want to be at your resort, but are not staying there will have to pay a day pass fee, plus transportation costs to come to your resort every day. A good destination wedding designer can get you a great group rate, and help you find a resort that will be great for all of you, and work within everyone’s budget.
5. Be Considerate of your wedding party
Remember that your wedding party has paid a good amount of money to be there for your special day. Some wedding packages include hair and makeup for you but for your bridal party, there is an extra charge. Make sure you pick a very affordable package, or better yet, just pay for them to get their hair and makeup done for the wedding.
6. Let Your Hair Down
With a destination wedding, there is supposed to be a more care free, and natural atmosphere to your wedding day. It definitely is more relaxing to hang out on the beach with an endless supply of drinks and food at your beck and call, while getting ready for your wedding. Don’t worry so much about your hair or make up being perfect. After all, you are in a location that usually involves gentle breezes, water, and warm weather.
7. Keep an Open Mind For a Wedding Photographer:
Many times the resort will have their own wedding photographer that they will recommend for your wedding photos. Like all lines of work, there are good and bad photographers. Ask to see some samples of the photographer the resort is recommending. You may need to have your family and friends take some extra pictures of your wedding day, just in case. If you must have a photographer you trust completely, you may need to bring one with you. I have had clients fly their photographer and videographer down with them, so that they will have perfect pictures and video. In general, I have seen great photos from my clients who used the resort photographer, and I have seen great photos from photographers that have been brought in.
8. Give Your Attendees Reason to Explore
When people are traveling all that way, they should get out and do a fun excursion in the area and do some site seeing. There are certain countries and areas where you want to be a part of an organized tour group, because they are licensed, insured, and offer the most safe and usually fun experience. If you organize an activity to do together, you should either pay for your group, or help pay for it. You can send your guest’s website links for things to do in the area, to help get them excited for their getaway.
9. Lighten Your Load:
There is great satisfaction in being able to plan and pull off your own destination wedding, but is it worth all of the organization, phone calls, websites, and amount s of time and stress on your end? I don’t know about you, but I don’t go to a friend to get my teeth cleaned, (my dentist is very nice), I don’t ask the Sephora make -up specialist to help me with the brakes on my car, (she could make them look prettier, but probably not going to stop the car any better). There are so many great destination wedding designers out there that can help you design and pick a great wedding package, perfect resort, and arrange an incredible group rate, along with travel arrangements for you, for not much more money than it would cost you to do on your own.
10. Go With The Flow:
As I mentioned before, a destination wedding has a more care free atmosphere to it! Hopefully all of the planning and attention to detail will make your special day go on without a hitch. Every so often, as with any wedding, there can be things that don’t always go as planned; maybe the floral arrangement looks a little different than you thought, the wedding cake is not the right one you picked, or the minister mispronounces you names. Even if it were to rain, (there is always a plan B for that by the way), try to go with it and have fun. Everyone will be watching you and how you react to everything. If you decide to laugh and shrug it off, when things don’t go as planned, everyone else will do the same, and you will have a fun and relaxing time, no matter what.
Tami is the lead Honeymoon & Destination Wedding Designer for Paradise Getaways. Tami is continually updating her knowledge of resorts and destinations, so that she can give the most accurate advice to her clients. Her travels have taken her to Antigua, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico, St. Lucia, & Turks & Caicos. She is a Preferred Sandals & Beaches Specialist, Sandal’s Star Awards agent, Master Agent for AM Resorts, & Gourmet Inclusive Vacation Consultant for Karisma Resorts.