Any wedding is a memorable event. However, there's something extra-special about getting married in a far-flung destination. Planning a destination wedding takes some finesse, and you will have a lot of decisions to make. Here are some tips for making your destination wedding go as smoothly as possible.
Visit Your Destination In Advance
Before you book your venue and accommodations, plan a scouting trip. While it's an additional expense, it's invaluable. You wouldn't plan a wedding in your hometown without visiting the venue first and a destination wedding is no different. A site that looks amazing in online photos may have hidden pitfalls that you won't know about until you arrive. Even if you're already familiar with the location in general, you should check out the wedding venue in person before you put a deposit down.
Hire a Planner
A wedding planner who specializes in destination weddings will be a huge help. He or she can connect you with the right vendors, coordinate the logistics, advise you on legal requirements, and more. If your wedding is in a country where you don't speak the language, a bilingual planner will save you a lot of time and frustration. You can enjoy your special day without sweating the details.
Create a Wedding Website
A wedding website is a terrific planning tool. It allows you and your guests to keep up with the progress of planning your big day. If you're planning a destination wedding, make sure to include information about airports, hotels, public transportation, and local attractions. If your guests have questions, direct them to the information on your website. If there's a change in your plans, it only takes a few minutes to update your website and send your guests an alert to let them know.
Send Save-the-Dates and Invitations Early
When you're planning a destination wedding, your guests will need as much advance notice as you can give. Send your save-the-date announcements at least five or six months ahead of time, and include a link to your wedding website. The formal wedding invitations should be sent at least two or three months in advance; this should give your guests enough time to make their travel arrangements.
Know the Requirements
Marriage laws vary depending on the state and country. For the marriage to be legally recognized in the United States, you will need to adhere to your destination's local laws. It's important to research the requirements in advance, especially if you're getting married abroad. While you're choosing your wedding destination, make sure to research:
- Residency requirements
- Documents you will need (passport, birth certificate, divorce decrees, etc.). Some countries will require the documents to be translated into the local language.
- Parental consent requirements
- Whether a blood test is required
- Who is permitted to perform marriages
You can find this information by contacting the destination's U.S. Consulate page, UK's FCO page or by visiting the local tourism site. An even better way to avoid any legal issues? Perform the legal wedding in your home country and make your destination wedding a symbolic ceremony.
With these tips, your destination wedding is sure to be a day you'll never forget.