With destination weddings rising in popularity amongst British couples, Vicki Morris, founder of luxury wedding event and experience brand Two Became One has compiled her ten top tips to help ensure that ceremony is a perfect celebration, whether its on an island paradise of tropical sunshine or a sumptuous sub-zero snowy retreat…
10 tips for planning a destination wedding…
Pick the right spot
Do you love the thought of the ocean waves making sweet music as you walk down the aisle? Perhaps you like the thought of being married in a castle on the top of the German Alps? Or you may like the sound of getting hitched in New York City for your destination wedding?
Whatever your style, choose the right spot for you – it’s like laying the foundations for dream wedding planning time! Consider whose attendance is essential to your event, and their ability to travel to their chosen location.
Check the weather
Good old Mother Nature and her unpredictability. No one can control the weather unfortunately, so always check the seasons and the potential for extreme weather.
The Caribbean can have quite ferocious storms so take extreme weather into account when choosing the date for your big bash.
The weather in your chosen destination will affect your overall theme, bridal and guest party dress choices, catering options and photography requirements so ensure you check the typical forecast for the season in your location and preferred event date.
To get a true feel for the place, you must visit the venue and the country first, if its not somewhere you are already familiar with.
This will give you a chance to immerse yourself in the local culture, meet local suppliers, taste the local cuisine and find where you can take those ideal wedding shots!
Get a budget in mind so you can target your spend. Consider hiring one venue for ease or two for variety on the day.
Depending on the weather consider the comfort of yourself and your guests, and the need for shade or somewhere to warm up if your dream destination is in a colder climate.
When it comes to catering some venues will allow you to hire your own caterers, while others cater in-house. It’s worth contacting a few venues in your chosen location to get an idea of hospitality available and to conduct a price comparison.
Can you say ‘I do’ legally in the country you’ve chosen? This may not be an issue for you if you arrange to say your legal commitments in your home country and choose a celebrant to officiate your wedding on the day.
Keep in mind, though, that some countries ask you to be in the country for up to 6 months before you can legally marry so it’s worth doing your homework.
Sort your scheduling
Even though places like Spain have a ‘mañana, mañana’ culture, you still need to plan the running order for the day, so your guests are prepared for the day’s events. Also, give thought to the time of day for the ceremony.
If you are in a super-hot climate, two p.m. may not be the right choice and an evening wedding may be your best bet. Nothing says romance like a sunset!
Equally if you plan to say “I do’ in Iceland or somewhere similar consider that in some seasons sunlight is in short supply.
Get your guests out there
How many people do you want to attend your big day? You may find it easy to get your immediate family and close friends to pay for flights, or combine your wedding with an annual holiday, but if you are keen to celebrate with a large party, have a think about a country and venue that will suit all budgets, with flight and accommodation options to match.
Take care of your guests
Your guests will have flown into your destination just for you so make sure they will have as much of a blast as you two.
You could show your appreciation by organising a day excursion for you all so they get to see some of the country as well, by hosting an informal drinks gathering a night or to prior to the event or providing something locally sourced and unique by way of wedding favour.
Dress the part
Dress to impress and to be comfortable. Think climate when choosing your outfits for the day.
Brides need to consider the fabric of their dress: tight-fitting silk may prove sticky in the sun, whilst dresses with multiple layers or a long train will require extra consideration when it comes to transporting it.
If you are marrying in a hot country, consider light beige shades for the men as black won’t cut it.
Depending on destination, venue, and local customs you may want to give your guests a steer on what is most appropriate.
Hire a planner and get organised
If you don’t have the chance to visit the country beforehand, consider hiring a wedding planner to do the hard work for you.
Wedding planners will guide you through the whole process from legalities to catering, leaving you free to focus on your guests and getting excited!