Planning a destination wedding
One of the best things about a destination wedding is that it can become a holiday for everyone. The day of a wedding can fly past in a delightful blur of family, friends and festivities. A destination wedding has couples safe in the knowledge that there will still be time to spend with all of their guests.
Marrying at a distant location - or even one that is not so distant - has a few organisational differences from having a wedding at home. But not to worry, those differences don’t have to mean extra planning, or a bigger budget. A destination wedding can even be less expensive and involve less preparation.
The best made planners
Nearly every bride and groom who have organised a wedding overseas sing the praises of their wedding planner. When it comes to organising a wedding in a foreign country a planner provides invaluable practical support, from liasing with locals for catering, hair and make-up, to photography and last minute emergencies or changes of venue. The experience and knowledge of a wedding planner cannot be underestimated. Besides, when someone else is seeing to the details it’s possible for the bride and groom, and their guests, to relax and enjoy the experience. Look for a planner with plenty of positive online reviews and give them a call, a conversation will help to clarify if they’re the right person for the job.
The planned wedding destination will often have a different set of cultural values. It may not be possible to have everything just as it was first envisioned, so be flexible and a dream wedding is still possible. In some countries there are religious aspects to be taken into account. Indonesia for example, makes it necessary for those intending to marry to declare a religion - and the bride and groom must be of the same religion, otherwise one must provide a written declaration of change of religion. A bride and groom who celebrated their outdoor wedding in Hawaii found that a noise curfew of 10pm meant they needed to plan for a kick-on venue so the wedding party could continue to celebrate into the night.
Obtaining the marriage license means a couple need to arrive in the country days or even weeks before the wedding date. Often their intention to marry will have to be posted as “banns” in advance of receiving the license itself. Many places require that the couple apply for the license in person. In some cases all the correct documentation and identification must be supplied prior to arrival as well as upon application. Don’t forget too, that language translations of the marriage license may also need to be obtained. On the very practical level of finances, the exchange rate or tipping customs must be taken into account, as couples won’t want to be surprised by any hidden costs.
Thinking about guests
Sometimes the decision to have a destination wedding is made because members of the couple’s family live in different countries. Whatever motivates the decision, bear in mind that guests will need to get time off work, save up for tickets and make travel plans, so give them plenty of notice. Sending out a “save the date” as much as a year in advance of the wedding date is advisable. Think about the elderly friends and family - is it feasible for them to make the journey? Sometimes it can be appropriate to organise another party at home to give those who can’t be there on the day a chance to celebrate. But a destination wedding doesn’t have to be overseas, inviting everyone for a weekend in the mountains or a day spent on a beautifully decorated boat floating down a gently flowing river can be as much of an adventure as travelling to an exotic location.