Want to turn your wedding into one big holiday? Well, good news, you totally can! Destination weddings are becoming increasingly popular and if you love jetsetting, this is definitely an option to consider. Before you dive head first into researching locations far far away from your neighbourhood, there are a few things you should know.
This is your essential guide to destination weddings.
What is a destination, anyway?
Simply put, a destination wedding is one that does not take place in or around the happy couple’s hometown. No, an hour drive into the countryside doesn’t count, but if you’re jetting off to the Maldives or have to take a lengthy train ride across the country, you can count it as a destination wedding.
Are destination weddings more expensive than traditional weddings?
They can be, but they can also be less expensive if you play your cards right. The guest list for a destination wedding is typically a lot shorter than that of a traditional one, which will lighten the financial burden a lot (less centrepieces to buy and mouths to feed). However, you will have to factor in the cost of flights and a few nights at a hotel. The best thing to do is to hash out your budget beforehand and then decide what’s feasible.
What are some popular destinations?
Since the UK isn’t exactly filled with balmy beaches, couples may favour warmer, tropical locales, like Aruba, Belize or the Bahamas. Mediterranean destinations are ideal given they are in the same time zone and can be reached with relatively short flights. If you’re head over heels for the city of love, Paris might be the perfect destination for your wedding.
When should I have my destination wedding?
It all depends on your destination of choice! You’ll want to do some research and check when the weather is best (i.e. no rain, extreme winds or sleet). After all, if you’re aiming for a beachside wedding but unknowingly choose a date in the middle of hurricane season, you may be forced to stay inside on your big day, and you definitely don’t want that.
Where should I hire my suppliers?
You can hire them in your hometown or where you’re tying the knot. Just know that if you’re booking your entire glam squad, photographer, etc. at home, you’ll probably have to foot the bill for their travel and accommodations, and that’ll get really pricey, really fast. To save money you may want to hire suppliers that work in the city or town where you’re having your wedding. Some resorts offer all-inclusive destination wedding packages including an on-site wedding planner. If you do go this route, you’ll want to meet them IRL, so plan a mini trip before the main event (online photos can be deceiving and you’ll want to know exactly what you’re paying for). Pro tip: hiring a local wedding planner to put together your team of suppliers may be worth the investment and ultimately save you time and money.
Who should I put on the guest list for my destination wedding?
Due to the amount of coordination destination weddings involve, they’re are usually quite intimate. Try to limit your guest list to your immediate family and inner circle so that everyone arrives at the right place at the right time. Bonus: having a smaller group will keep you from overspending on things like dinner and drinks (yay!).
When should I send out my invitations?
You should aim to send out save the dates 9 to 12 months in advance and invites 2 to 3 months in advance. You’ll want to include a lot of additional information on your wedding website such as itinerary, attractions, local tips so that everyone has the best holiday possible.
What does a destination itinerary include?
Since you’re hosting your wedding far from home, it will probably include a few more pre- and post-wedding events than a traditional one. While they’re not mandatory, it’s nice to add a welcome party (since everyone will be an out-of-towner), a few group excursions and activities and a farewell post-wedding brunch to your wedding schedule.
What should I pack for my destination wedding?
You’ll want to make most of your big purchases (i.e. decor, flowers, linens, furniture rentals) at your destination so that you don’t have to add gigantic items to your already overstuffed luggage. However, things like your wedding dress, stationery and jewellery can easily travel with you (though you may have to make special arrangements for your gown). Be sure to spend a little time plotting out exactly what you need for your wedding (as well as the days leading up to it and after it) so that you don’t over or under pack.
Should I throw a party when I get home?
It’s not mandatory, but you totally can! Since not all of your loved ones could join you for your big day, having a post-honeymoon party is a great way to include them in the festivities. And, good news, you don’t have to pay for pricey floral arrangements or gourmet food for this event - keep it casual and throw a party in your backyard or head to the local pub to celebrate.