wedding planner diaries
Does the sound of waves gently lapping on a tropical beach tempt you to run away to the romance of the islands for your wedding celebration? Over the last few years, many couples have chosen to escape the challenges of a big wedding at home, navigating guest lists and budget blowouts to intimate and special celebrations with close family and friends in an overseas location.
Planning and executing a destination wedding is a little different from a wedding on home turf. It combines the special traditions of a wedding ceremony with the enjoyment of a sunny holiday.
One of the key differences with getting married overseas is that everyone invited has to travel and they will all need somewhere to stay. Talking with Anita from Anita Gatley Travel she highlighted that planning is key to ensuring you keep this as easy and stress free as possible for everyone. By using a travel company in New Zealand, they can negotiate group deals on your behalf and coordinate all travel for the guests including their flights, accommodation and any additional activities. We have summarised a few key tips that we hope you will find helpful. 1. Use an Expert Travel and wedding consultants have the experience, resources and contacts to make planning a destination wedding faster and easier. They take care of many of the details that can be significant in making your planning seamless, along with providing you a local contact in NZ to coordinate with. 2. Relax With the challenges of language barriers, currency exchange and a lack of familiarity around locations, distances, geographical layouts and who to trust, it is important to recognise that all of these small things can create hiccups along your planning journey. Relax, recognise any issues and evaluate how best to work through it. If you’re getting married somewhere like Rarotonga, take inspiration from their laidback approach and go with the flow.
3. Your Guests
Determine your guest list and put thought and consideration into who will be able to afford the costs. Your loved ones will want to be there for your big day but may not have the money and resources to attend. The cost of flights, accommodation, time away from work and children are all hurdles your guests need to work through before confirming their attendance. Most importantly, if you’re asking guests to spend money on attending your wedding, it’s a good idea to specify no gifts or wedding registry - their attendance will be the gift itself.
4. Do your Research
Organising a wedding in another country makes it difficult to know who you can trust. Ensure you conduct your research - talk to friends or family who may have been to these locations, had a wedding overseas or attended one. Ensure you pay deposits, get contracts in writing, ask for testimonials and request a list of preferred suppliers from the wedding venue. Ensure you take hard copies of all and any documentation with you when you travel.
5. The Legal Bit
Each destination has their own set of laws and rules around getting married in their country. Ensure you check these out beforehand so you know what is required. Some locations specify that you have to arrive three days prior to the wedding date, so be sure to factor this in to your travel plans.
6. The Weather
Getting married offshore sometimes means you are looking at the opposite of a traditional wedding season in NZ. Your wedding date may be during the winter months, so make sure you have planned this ahead – do your research on weather patterns to avoid any potential issues with monsoons or hurricanes. Make sure you think about travel insurance to protect you in the likelihood that you may need to make alternative plans or postpone the date. The bonus for your guests is a mid-winter escape.
Kick off your planning as soon as you decide you want a destination wedding. Negotiating flights and accommodation in advance can ensure you get the best deals. Hotels and resorts will often allow you to hold blocks of rooms at a more competitive rate. Be sure to send out a Save the Date and let guests know as soon as possible so they can save for the trip. Setting up a wedding website is the ideal way to share information with your guests. Lisa Hill from Beautiful Events (www.beautifulevents.co.nz) and Anita Gatley from Anita Gatley Travel (Ph 0508 HONEYMOON) have combined their skill sets to collaborate for the perfect destination wedding solution, providing a local point of contact to coordinate all your requirements for styling, travel, accommodation, planning and logistics for you and your guests, a service that will exceed your expectations.