Is there anything more exciting than a destination wedding? We don’t think so! With all the excitement a wedding brings generally, coupled with the opportunity to go abroad, these wonderful experiences are becoming more and more popular as the go-to option when planning a wedding.

But planning a destination celebration can often be a daunting experience, not only for the extensive logistical arrangements, the pressure of encouraging guests to invest in travel and accommodation, and planning tasks that are often wrapped up in each unique location without real knowledge of what’s what. But you’re not alone and our destination wedding planning service is there to support you every step of the way.

So until we get planning, here are some top tips that will help settle the nerves and to keep a clear head when considering a wedding abroad.

Choosing the perfect location

This seems obvious, especially when you have your heart set on a destination wedding, but having a list of potential locations will help you shortlist your venue options and ideal wedding, even making room for wild card venues if you feel daring. Perhaps a location sings to you due to memories or as a place that holds significance, or perhaps you just like the idea of getting married on Copacabana Beach following a trip you made to Brazil in your gap year? It is so important to keep an open mind and to consider a range of destination options. Settling on a date is important, of course, but the destination has to make sense for you as a couple, with logistics being planned around this (not the other way around).

Visiting the shortlisted venues

Visiting your shortlisted venue selection is something which is an absolute necessity so ensure this trip is incorporated into your budget. It gives you the opportunity to see the venue in the flesh, take in the local highlights and get a real flavour of what could be for your wedding. It is also incredibly important to chat through logistical questions, known challenges and location opportunities. Having ideas is fantastic, but being able to bring these to life is the most important thing, which is why we’re here to help.

A map with a camera and passport
Map of The World | https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1444769

As wedding planners we are used to asking these sorts of questions, accompanying each of our couples and being the voice of reason to case check things against, ensuring you’re fully represented and informed every step of the way. By doing this we will paint a picture of what is possible at the destination, whilst considering ideas for the wedding itself in situ at the venue. You can discover how thorough our planning service is here.

Who are you going to invite?

Before long you’ll be looking at your guest list with your mouth ajar not anticipating that there were that many people you’d like to invite. With a destination wedding you have some licence and more freedom to cull, if needed (don’t worry, people will understand!). It is important to be realistic when it comes to managing your guest list, especially when considering guests will be expected to travel for your wedding. For those lucky enough to get an invitation, they should receive this as far in advance as possible and preferably 8 months before, giving enough time to budget and plan for both travel and accommodation. Don’t forget that most destination venues are also popular with holiday makers, so doing things in advance is the only way to guarantee availability.

Preferential rates

One of the perks of hosting a destination wedding is the fact that airlines and venues will give you preferential rates for guests booking flights and accommodation under your name. Securing a good rate is of vital importance, and the fact that we have great relationships with many agents and operators throughout the world means that we can liaise on your behalf to ensure you get the very best possible deal.

The Legalities

Something which is often left to the last minute, but which is probably the most important part of the whole experience is the legal requirements for the marriage itself. Each location will have their own legal requirements with nuisances which need careful consideration, especially when it comes to marrying outside of a religious establishment.

Be careful to look at the finer detail and to consider what these legalities are, such as the tenure you have lived in the country (yes, some destinations require more of a commitment from you) to knowing what is due to be signed on the wedding day itself. Many couples will choose to have their legal ceremony at home and for the blessing to take place in their chosen destination.

Is it a one day affair or is an itinerary required?

Whilst you will be busy entertaining your guests and revelling in wedding bliss, it is important to consider the overall experience and activities available for any downtime between the main events. Having a plan of action works wonders and being able to suggest activities will go down really well with your guests, especially if many don’t know each other.

You don’t need to curate a full event by event schedule,  as most people will feel comfortable at their own speed, but it is important to offer options which bring everyone together and which celebrate the destination and why you love it so much. After all, that’s why everyone is there!

The nuts and bolts

This is the part where your dreams become a reality and all those plans in your head become realised. We love scoping out ideas and helping our couples to visualise their day step by step. From picking the right suppliers, looking at local artisan experts, to choosing the perfect menu inspired by the location itself, each detail would be fully explored. Whether you’re considering something traditional or really want to do your own thing, the process of exploring ideas is really exciting. Be true to your own desires and always consider what’s important to you before integrating other peoples’ opinions.

On the day

Simply put, you do not want to be worrying about anything logistical on the big day. It is important to make an itinerary for key moments throughout the day and to perhaps even produce a physical timeline for people to read at their leisure. This will help when grouping people together for key events throughout the day and let them know when something is expected of them. It also makes you look super organised and people will only be complimentary.

Entertainment

Choosing entertainment is a personal right, especially when you’re the ones getting married. We would recommend you select a range of different types of entertainment throughout the day, perhaps starting with something reflective and then moving through to more upbeat live entertainment as the night draws in. Again, it is important to book entertainment way in advance to avoid disappointment, and always consider if production is required with the entertainers and to consider budget inclusive of rider requirements.

Hire the professionals

Destination weddings offer so much in terms of experience, variety and the real wow factor, however there are so many elements to consider and pull together which other stay-at-home couples won’t need to think about. By hiring a professional wedding planner you will have a level of support and guidance that is crucial in delivering a seamless experience, as well as a representation to get you the very best of services available, crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s to ensure you can truly enjoy every single moment of your special day(s).

Christopher Mills - Wedding Planner London
Christopher Mills | The Events Mill | ©JohnNassari

If you’re planning a destination wedding and would like to chat through any ideas, questions or if you need some inspiration, then we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line here.