Your wedding is one of the most important and most beautiful days of your life. So why not spend it in the perfect place? A destination wedding takes your dream wedding to your dream destination, allowing you to get married in front of the stunning peaks of Patagonia or by the golden shores of Hawai’i.
A destination wedding done right is a wonderful thing. Of course, doing a destination wedding right is the hard part. So here are a few dos and don’ts of planning a destination wedding.
Do hire destination wedding planning pros
There are some things about planning a destination wedding that are just harder than planning a wedding in your hometown or current city. In fact, there are a lot of things that are harder. Planning a big event and nailing every detail when you’re doing all your planning from far, far away can be a nightmare. That’s why it pays to hire people who know what they’re doing.
A hired team of experts will know a thing or two about planning every type of destination wedding, from a private Patagonia elopement to events with huge guests lists in equally far-flung locations. Hiring pros takes a lot of the guesswork (and a lot of the stress) out of planning a destination wedding.
Don’t expect big gifts from your guests
It’s poor wedding etiquette to expect gifts at all, of course, but we all know that gifts are typical at weddings. What you should be prepared for in the case of a destination wedding is fewer and smaller gifts.
A destination wedding offers guests a chance to share a beautiful trip with you and your beloved, but it also asks a bit more of them. They’ll be expected to travel and pay for their own arrangements, and this can strain the wedding-related budgets of your beloved guests.
So if they’re not able to give you the same type of gift that you might otherwise hope for, then you should of course be gracious, grateful, and not at all upset. Again, this is basic wedding etiquette, but it never hurts to remind and prepare yourself.
Do plan early, send save-the-dates early, and invite guests early
Planning ahead is key for destination weddings, in part because there are so many extra hoops to jump through. Securing a venue and catering is a lot harder when you’re trying to do so from several time zones away. So start early, plan often, and get things done ahead of time as much as you can.
And while you’re at it, see if you can send out your save-the-dates and invitations a bit on the early side, too. After all, your guests have to plan extra things, too: everyone will be traveling, and there will be more complications to worry about.
Don’t miss out on having a beloved guest there because he or she didn’t have time to renew his or her passport before the wedding day!
Don’t invite a single person more than you can fit
Some soon-to-be-married couples like to play “the numbers game” and invite more people than they think they might be able to fit (or afford) on the big day. When the regrets come in, these couples breathe a sigh of relief. They’ll have a full house, but it won’t be over-full.
But what if the regrets don’t come in? What if everyone can make it? That’s a real problem at any wedding, but it’s an absolute disaster at a destination wedding. When the wedding hotel block fills up and there’s no other hotel in town, or when you have to track down extra seats in a country where you don’t speak the language, or when you have to pay extra for food and booze when the wedding is already an expensive out-of-country trip, etc. You get the idea.
Things can get out of hand fast, so don’t risk it. Invite precisely who you want to be there, and your big day will stay manageable for you.