1. Choose a meaningful location. Keep in mind that your destination must have all of the resources you need; that charming beach town where you spent your childhood summers won’t work if it only has one hotel that can’t accommodate all your guests.
2. Give your guest advanced notice. This is one of the most important destination wedding tips. It's important to give your nearest and dearest have plenty of time to calculate if they can afford the cost of traveling to your ceremony and reception.
3. Embrace the setting to save big. Slash your décor budget by incorporating local blooms — exotic flowers and plants in the tropics — and serve local specialties at the reception, like conch fritters in the Bahamas or Carnitas in Cabo, to cut catering costs.
4. Consider your guests. Try to put everyone in one reasonably affordable hotel. If price is an issue, find a less expensive spot 10 minutes away, 15 at the most. Set a date where the resort you have chosen is able to accommodate all of your guest. Trust me when I say all-inclusive resorts, if possible will be you and your guest best friend because all your food and beverages will be included with your room rates.
5. Hire a pro. Make sure to find a planner or coordinator that specializes in destination weddings. This way, instead of spending hours on phone calls trying to overcome a language barrier or making executive decisions about flowers and ceremony site from miles away, you have an expert on hand to take care of it all for you. Or, if a planner isn’t in your budget, look for a resort with a strong on-site coordinator.
6. Visit in advance. This would be ideal if you can afford to take a trip or two to your chosen destination, to at least see your venue once before booking and again three to four months before the wedding to finalize details. If a second trip’s not possible, arrive at least five days early to make those decisions and do a hair and makeup trial.
7. Pick your vendors in person. In advance of your first site visit, set up meetings with the better-known florists and rental companies in your destination. But also ask for referrals from your venue on the ground; you might uncover local talent you didn’t know about. Also take in consideration that most resorts, especially all-inclusive resorts have in-house florist and other vendors as well that they might require you use or you will be charged for bringing in outside vendors.
8. Budget for vendors. If you decide to bring specialists from home, expect to cover their travel and lodging costs; a clean, safe hotel within 30 minutes of your venue is a must. Negotiate these expenses up front so things don’t get out of control. And remember as stated in tip #7, some resorts will charge a fee for each outside vendor you are bringing in so remember to ask those questions and about the cost of doing that.
9. Don’t stuff that suitcase unless absolutely necessary. If you’re going to stuff your suitcase, stuff it with items you need, or if you are bringing your own décor pack it tightly and make sure it’s cushioned we have all seen how they throw those bags on the plane, even have your friends and family pack things in their luggage as well. Shipping overseas is risky and expensive, so I always pack as much as possible into checked luggage. Also keep in mind that most countries outside the continental U.S. have restrictions on what you can bring into their country so do your research or contact a Destination Wedding Planner or Travel Agent who is familiar with the rules and laws of each country. Also keep in mind that other countries have great quality and selection of rental linens as well as other rental items that are unique to the location, believe me I have traveled to a lot of places and have seen their selection of rental items and they are of great quality and absolutely goergous.
10. Tailor your wedding dress to the destination. Breathable fabrics work best in hot, humid locations. Lightweight lace in Mexico is stunning, as is an embellished ball gown in Italy.
11. Never check your dress. Always carry your dress on board the plane, even if it means having to fold it. Just make sure someone at the other end can press and steam it.
So make your destination wedding an amazing one!!
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