Destination weddings are about a great deal more than a mere vacation. The pressure is “ON” and the highlight is not necessarily the beautiful breeze or the tropical locale. The actual wedding must be as detailed and comprehensive as if it were being designed in your hometown. Destination weddings are not for everyone – but for those who select to tie the knot away from home, these special days come with numerous additional pressures. Who to invite? Where to go? When to go there? How to understand the cost(s) associated with this type of wedding, and so much more. Invitations, travel itineraries, hotel choices, planning, catering, music, and favors are just a few of the details that must be attended to.
Destination etiquette is something unto itself. Wondering where to start? Prior to selecting a destination, it is imperative to decide on what the financial burden will be that you are bestowing upon your guests. Is your guest list so diversified that your choice of venue needs to be respectful of those with lesser means? Do you want to keep your invitee number small and selective so as to choose the venue of your dreams? Or – have a larger more inclusive wedding and be more cognizant of the costs of the venue?
Once your destination is selected, prepare a budget for the days/nights leading up to the wedding, the actual wedding itself, as well as a send-off brunch the following day. Depending on the physical set-up, it is traditionally the host’s responsibility to provide transportation to and from the wedding ceremony/reception. You might want to cover the expenses of your bridal party, but not necessarily expected. You also might need to cover the costs of an overnight stay and meals for the Clergy, Musicians, Photographer, etc., if they are not local. There may be some family members that can ill afford all of this, and you may need to cover all of their expenses as well.
Do not allow all of this to scare you. With the proper research between you and your experienced Wedding Planner, you might choose a destination that – even with all of the above – might even come in less costly than a hometown wedding.
Now that your details are underway, it is imperative that you research the rules and requirements to get married in your destination. In general, weddings abroad are recognized in the United States of America. Each location may, however, require different documentation for the service to be performed. It is a good time to determine who will perform the wedding, and the requirements for doing so. If your goal is to bring the Officiant with you, make sure he/she is recognized by the locale you are getting married in. If there are requirements for him/her to become officially recognized, make sure you make your Officiant aware of them, so he/she can fulfill these obligations in advance of the wedding.
You will want to visit your location at least once. I would strongly recommend that you visit the location at least 2 or 3 times if accessible. Meet the people in charge of the location who you, and your wedding planner will be working with on an ongoing basis. You will want to walk the site with your Wedding Planner, have a tasting, meet with local vendors. Your liaison at the destination in conjunction with your wedding planner, is responsible for the on-site details leading up to your arrival as well as your entire stay. While he/she may not be able to control the weather for your event, they can do everything in their power to ensure your day is picture perfect for you and for your guests.