There is something very appealing in running away to an exotic location to get married! Many couples are choosing to tie the knot overseas, or in popular wedding destinations within Australia. Budget advantages; combining your wedding with your honeymoon; and keeping your wedding small and intimate are a few of the reasons couples choose to marry away from home. Destination weddings do have unique planning challenges. So, if you’ve chosen the perfect faraway location, here are six tips to help you plan the destination wedding you’ve always dreamed of!
- Good things come in wedding packages
Destination wedding packages can take so much stress out of long-distance planning! There are a couple of options for choosing packages:
Resort wedding packages can offer all-inclusive ceremony and reception options. These packages are especially good for the long-distance bride because they look after many of elements of a wedding you would ordinarily have to organise individually. While you don’t have to worry about many of the micro-details with all-inclusive deals, do check what is included in your package- you would hate to realise on your wedding day that you were stuck doing your own hair and makeup!
Another option for packages is through a destination wedding planner. These packages can be more tailored to your preferences and give your more options since you are not restricted to a resort. While you may pay a bit more for this type of service, you are getting expert local knowledge and recommendations of reputable venues and vendors, which will give priceless peace of mind!
- Setting the date
Deciding when the best time to have your wedding will be different for every couple, according to personal preference. There will probably be times you want avoid, like monsoon season, local school holidays and local significant events. But do keep in mind, the most popular times for a particular destination will attract the most expensive rates. Choosing shoulder seasons, where the weather may still be nice can mean getting a good deal- and not having to compete with as many holiday-makers. Travel agents can be invaluable for their expertise in picking a time just right for you in your chosen destination.
- The guest list
Booking early can mean some pretty good early-bird deals, especially for accommodation and airfares. With this in mind, sending out invitations early can ensure your guests will enjoy early-bird discounts too! Depending on how far away your destination wedding is, guests may also need a bit of extra time to save money and apply for holiday leave.
Another tip when inviting guests is to keep your guest list small. Inviting only your nearest and dearest means you can look after your guests with a more lavish wedding. Do keep in mind, that as much as they would love to attend, not everyone you do invite will be in a position to travel to your destination wedding. Money, time off work and family commitments can prevent people from attending.
A good way to include everyone who wants to share in your wedding day is to give guests who can’t make it an option to celebrate with you when you get back. This could be as simple as a backyard BBQ or a cocktail reception.
- Destination: celebration!
One of the best things about destination weddings is that the celebrations can last more than one big day. Organising a few group activities before and after your wedding day can extend the festivities as well as entertain your guests. As much as your budget allows, keep group activities and meals all-inclusive for your guests. This is a great way of acknowledging their efforts to travel to your wedding. Check out group discounts through your hotel or local travel guides. If children are attending, many resorts host a kid’s club which can be really good value for the kids- and their parents!
- Keeping it simple
There are plenty of extra logistical issues to consider when planning a destination wedding, so keep what you can as simple as possible. If you are planning on shipping décor to your destination, less is more. If you have chosen a particular destination for your wedding, chances are it is stunning already. You won’t need to add much to it to have a beautiful wedding.
Hopefully, one of the appealing aspects of choosing a destination wedding is that it will automatically transport everyone to holiday-mode. Keeping things simple allows everyone to relax- including you!
- Welcome Bags
Welcome Bags for guests on arrival at their accommodation is a lovely way to greet and thank your guests for coming to your wedding. When deciding what to include in your welcome bags go with more ‘thoughtful’ than ‘extravagant’. While a bottle of local wine, a fruit basket, or chocolates are always a good choice, don’t forget little incidental items that guests might have forgotten and will make their stay more comfortable. Toiletries, sunscreen, bug-spray, beach towel, a bottle of water and a pack of cards can all make up a perfect welcome bag guests will appreciate.
(Check with the accommodation whether there is an extra charge for delivering welcome bags to guest’s rooms. One way you might be able to by-pass these extra costs is to have them given to guests on check-in.)