When Your Happily Ever After Requires a Passport: Planning a Destination Wedding
Do you dream of tying the knot abroad? If so, we understand the urge! You can get the far and away beauty of a destination locale while traveling with your loved ones (and it’s a great way to kick-off that honeymoon). Of course, while idea of a destination wedding might make your heart sing, the logistical aspect might be a little, well, daunting. That’s why we have our top tips for long-distance wedding planning for you here.
And, for some European inspo, we’ve intermixed our guidelines with these gorgeous photos of a couple taking their engagement photos in the Greek Isles. Opa!
Research the area
It’s easy to forget key things when planning a wedding abroad. Research what the weather will be like during your wedding, whether it’ll be tourist season or not, and what the local requirements for marriage licenses are. As you get close to finalizing your wedding venue, email with the coordinators to get a sense for the venue’s capabilities (for example, that quaint teeny tiny European village might be perfectly idyllic for your wedding but does it have a hotel that can host all of your wedding guests and is it easily accessible for family members traveling from far?).
If you can, this will help immensely! In fact, if you can visit twice, you’ll definitely streamline your planning. For the first visit, tour your top location choices and meet with local vendors, such as florists, photographers, bakers, and caterers. On the second trip (if you can’t swing two trips, you can always do this during your first visit), schedule tastings, hair trials, and request that your florist make you a sample bouquet and centerpiece. You’ll also want to visit the nearby hotels to request a group rate for your guests and block off rooms.
Hire a wedding coordinator
Bring on a wedding coordinator who has experience with destination weddings. She will be invaluable as she will know how to navigate the customs and policies of various places while making your dream wedding come true. And, since she’ll be experienced, she’ll know what’s reasonable as far as pricing and logistics go. Alternatively, you may want to hire a wedding coordinator who lives and works in the city or region you are marrying in. She’ll be just as important when it comes to finalizing plans and making sure everything comes together.
Notify your bridal party ahead of time
Let your bridal party know that this will be a destination wedding before you ask them to be in the wedding. After all, this will require them to take time off of work and shoulder some extra expenses, like travel tickets and hotel costs. If anyone can’t quite swing the trip, be kind and understanding. And, for the bridesmaids who are in the wedding, try to be as helpful as possible. Find an affordable bridesmaid dress option and, if you can, consider paying for their hotel stay.
For your other guests who are traveling far to see you tie the knot, add in some thoughtful gestures, like welcome bags in their hotel rooms and planned excursions with the other attendants.
Don’t pack your wedding gown! Even if you insure your suitcase, it won’t matter if you don’t have a bridal dress to wear on your wedding day. Fold it–and your veil!–neatly into a carry-on or check with your airlines to see if you can take it on the plane in a fabric garment bag (some airlines will allow you to hang it in the captain’s closet up at the front of the plane if you make arrangements ahead of time). Once you arrive, have the dress and veil steamed the day before the wedding.
After your wedding, you might want to buy a bottle of local wine to drink on your anniversary or a small decoration to place on your mantel at home to remind you of the special way you got married!
Photographer: SOTIRISTSAKANIKAS.COM Photography//