DESTINATION WEDDING PLANNING GUIDE
While destination weddings are trending and are some of the most beautiful ceremonies to take place, you may not know where to start when it comes to planning one. Planning a destination wedding is a bit tricky but it isn’t impossible. While wedding planners may cost a bomb and can burn a hole in your pocket. If your budget is under a constraint, you can take things into your own hands and manage to pull off the destination wedding of your dreams. All you will have to do is get into the shoes of a wedding planner! Organizing a wedding can be challenging enough — and adding in the logistical considerations of a destination wedding can make things even more complex. The good news is that destination weddings are becoming more common and accessible, so bringing your dream wedding to life may not be as hard as you think. Destination weddings also come with many perks that can streamline the wedding planning process. With a clear vision and a little help from wedding vendors, you can achieve all your wedding goals.
In this article, we’ll dive into everything you need to know when deciding if a destination wedding is right for you (and how to pull one off if it is). Planning a successful destination wedding is no mean feat! Whether it is a location within your country or overseas, a destination wedding involves keen planning, hard work, resources, and careful budgeting. Undoubtedly, a destination affair has its perks of a breathtaking view and intimacy, however, it is not all fun and games. Curating a guest list, making arrangements for guests, traveling to and fro to check out all the preparations, trying to manage your expenses- there are a plethora of things you are to keep in mind. While you are stressed out about where to start and how to go about it, we have put together a comprehensive list of destination wedding planning tips to help you plan and navigate through the different phases seamlessly.
➼ PICK A MEANINGFUL LOCATION-
The first and foremost task at hand is to pick the destination. In most cases, the couples who have opted for destination weddings already have a place in mind. If you have not picked it yet, the timeline to pick a perfect destination to host your wedding is approximately 18 to 12 months ahead of the wedding. Once you have picked the destination, you must check the pros and cons of the space. A whole lot of things are depended on your location depending on your choice of location- the weather, the list of wedding venues available, the vendors you could choose from, and of course, the aesthetic element. Your destination wedding locations can be as serene as the white sands of Malaysian beaches or as regal as the forts in Udaipur and Jaipur, so think back to your favorite vacation as a couple What did you love about the location? Did the weather play a big factor? Did you love the people and the culture? Was the architecture inspiring? Is there a dream destination on your bucket list? So ask yourselves these questions and voila you will have a location for your destination wedding.
➼ RECCE IS A MUST-
A recce of the wedding venue before the wedding is important. While you will visit and observe the venue before finalizing it, we would suggest you visit it once again 3 months before the wedding along with the decorator to plan the setups. Make the most of this recce-cum-meeting to visualize and plan which function will be held at which function, how will space be utilized for decorations, etc. Doing so will also keep you at bay from brainstorming about all this during the wedding. You should visit the destination before finalizing the place ideally. We recommend you visit the destination at least once if you have a time crunch and three to four times otherwise. This will let you get more clarity on the type of venue you are looking for, with hotels and resorts for guest accommodation that are feasible.
However, if you swing by your destination more than once, you will get a better view of the progress while taking care of itty bitty details like the drape colors, food tasting, and so on. Thus, take some time off of your schedule and visit your venue.
➼ MAKE A WEDDING JOURNAL-
The key to any successful event is organizing! Start making a wedding journal in advance and religiously follow it as it is extremely important to write anything down when you know you’re planning it all by yourself. Right from the guest list, to the status of vendor payments, contact details of payments, and travel bookings. Buy a wedding planner diary or create an Excel sheet on Google Drive which you can easily update using your phone as well. Keep your wedding stationery handy at all times. Try to go through your wedding journal every once in a while, this will make your wedding planning easier.
➼ KNOW YOUR BUDGET AND SET PRIORITIES ACCORDINGLY-
Once you’ve decided on the ideal location for your destination wedding, it’s time to set your budget. This is super important to do before you start evaluating venues and picking out decor so that you don’t overcommit yourself too early on in the planning process. Know that even if you have a smaller budget, there are some very creative affordable venues you can consider! A destination wedding is well within reach, no matter how much you plan to spend. With your budget established you can begin to make planning decisions. Your first major decision will be to choose between carrying the brunt of the planning yourself or opting to work with a wedding planner. Most wedding experts agree that working with a wedding planner that is local to the destination can ease the stress of planning an event in an unfamiliar place, and can be some of the best money spent on your big day. They can recommend venues, florists, photographers, and other vendors that are reliable and seasoned. They will most likely end up saving you money in the long run, which will cover the expense of hiring them. Keep finances in mind by setting a detailed budget for the actual wedding and its associated expenses, along with a budget for travel and non-local vendors. It’s also important to consider the form of currency used at the destination so you can keep track of what everything costs.
Also, weigh a few pros and cons of destination weddings before setting up the budget or making any decision.
➼TALK WITH LOCAL VENDORS
Firstly make sure you choose local vendors to save on the travel cost of vendors from elsewhere. It’s best if you personally meet the vendors and zero in on all the key decisions to be taken. Don’t depend solely on virtual interaction and phone calls. If you cannot find good local vendors try to find vendors who travel at their own cost. Cruise through wedding websites and find the best wedding vendors within your budget.
➼ KEEP THE GUEST LIST SMALL-
Some couples crave soirees with only their immediate families and best friends, but they may have large extended families and a wide social circle. Cutting down the guest list can be difficult. Long-distance wedding celebrations are a way for couples to have their dream guest count without hurting anyone’s feelings in the process. It’s an especially genius hack if couples know many guests won’t want to take time off of work or spring for added costs like airfare. Some couples know friends and family won’t be able to come, so it’s kind of a trick.
➼ SEND OUT INVITATIONS EARLY-
Send out wedding invitations early so that your friends can save money on airfare, and take time off of their jobs to make it to your wedding. It is important in ensuring that your closest family and friends make it to your wedding. It is advised to send notice 9 months to a year before your event to give your friends and family enough time to plan for your wedding.
➼ PICK YOUR VENDORS IN PERSON-
No matter what type of wedding you’re planning, we always recommend researching and booking your vendors as far in advance as possible. Typically, you’ll want to begin this process as soon as you have your venue confirmed — and it is always a good idea to talk to your venue to understand if they have any preferred vendors. Meet your vendors tell them your budget and negotiate accordingly, also meeting in person will really help you to analyze their behavior and know their work, and will also help them to know your taste and style.
➼ STAY AND BOOK EVENTS IN THE SAME VENUE-
Do so to avoid the cost of transporting people from one place to another. Staying at your wedding venue is cost-saving and worth the money. Apart from that, you are most likely to get higher discounts if you book one place for your stay as well as for your wedding events.
➼ DISTRIBUTE SMALLER DUTIES TO FRIENDS AND FAMILIES-
As a bride who has already a lot on her plate, you can give smaller tasks that require detailed attention to your friends and family members. This includes distributing guests’ welcome kits and buying them wedding gifts & favors. Also, delegate these duties with set deadlines so that they take them seriously.
➼ OPT FOR MINIMAL DECOR-
The number one reason why you’re having a destination wedding is because of the scenic view and epic backdrop, so saving money on decoration will save you a lot of bucks. Try to choose a venue that is surrounded by natural beauty so that you don’t have to worry about decorations, The minimal décor can go a long way go with resourceful decor elements like fairy lights, colorful drapes, playful signages, and other things that are easily doable. Another trick is to host day events outdoors, and night events in the indoor areas.
➼ BOOK A HOTEL THAT OFFERS GROUP DISCOUNTS-
Since most guests will be booking their airfare you should lighten the load by picking a hotel for them and make the most out of your negotiating skills to get the best discounts and offers. Some venues give freebies like free laundry service, etc. which also saves a lot of cash. Make sure that the location you pick is easily accessible by various means of transportation like by road, railway, or air directly. This will prevent any lavish transport arrangements from one city to another. Try to pick a location that is “naturally pretty and aesthetic” so that you do not shell out a lot of your wedding budget on enhancing the facade of the location and property you have picked for your destination wedding.
➼ CREATE A WEDDING WEBSITE-
It is not a big secret that the wedding website is a genie at your fingertips when it comes to a destination wedding. Tech-savvy brides have anyway adopted the idea of a wedding website and have often flaunted the ease of wedding planning when there is a website in place. As soon as you have an estimated guest list ready, be it a residential wedding or a destination one, the wedding website should be created. It helps you keep everyone on the same page. From dates, and location maps to dress codes and the wedding registry, the wedding website is the new little blue book that has all the nitty-gritty of your big day in place. It is very convenient for your guests to keep a track of the happenings and also a fun way to keep a countdown! Keep track of the RSVPs because they play a very important role in destination wedding planning. Surprise plus ones from too many might be a hassle to tackle.
➼ USE TRUSTED COURIER SERVICES TO CARRY OUT EXTRA LUGGAGE-
This might be a tricky situation but you have to work smartly here, you will have loads of extra luggage to carry, ever thought of how you’re going to carry your wedding dress or your mehndi favors? Flights charge a heavy price for extra luggage, so you have to navigate carefully and choose a courier service that is going to carry extra stuff to your wedding venue. r. This can be a riskier choice, but if you have had a trusted courier facility near you for ages make use of it.
➼ ALLOT ROOMS BEFORE TO AVOID CHAOS-
Delegate rooms to the guests before they arrive to avoid any sort of last-minute chaos or fights between guests. This will also save your mental peace and is going to help you get ready for your D-day!