If you want to have a destination wedding you’ll need to decide on a destination. This has been one of the best parts of wedding planning for me so far and armed with some of these helpful hints hopefully it will be for you too.
Have a Budget: Before we get started I want to point out you should by now have a wedding budget and a wedding/honeymoon travel budget in mind. If money’s no object great but for most of it there’s some limit and it can play a pretty big role in choosing a destination. If you’re not familiar with the travel cost to each possible place on your list you will want to make sure you’ve hired a destination wedding travel agent before you make your final decision.
This is Your Day: For most people, the term “destination wedding” conjures up images of a tropical location exchanging vows barefoot on the beach but that’s not always the case. You might be having a destination wedding because you don’t live anywhere near the rest of your family or because some of your closest friends and family members want to “get away” and this would make a perfect opportunity to travel off together with them.
Brainstorm: To get started you should list out every single destination that comes to mind. This could be across the state line or halfway around the world but write down any place that you think of for now. Don’t try to analyze whether or not any of them will work this is just a brainstorming session.
Why: Once you’ve listed each one I want you to go back to each one and write next to it the reason it’s on the list i.e. been there and loved it, heard it’s amazing, my friend got married there, beautiful beaches, want to go somewhere exotic, I’ve always wanted to go to Europe, etc.
Must Have’s Can’t Have’s: Is there anything that your destination must have? Is there anything that would be a deal breaker? This will most likely be more applicable once we have a destination and we’re searching for an actual venue but keep this in mind throughout this process.
The Legalities: Do you plan on getting legally married at your destination wedding or would you consider getting married at home before or after your destination wedding? You will need to know the guidelines for residency and any other requirements for each destination before you can determine whether or not the location will work for you.
Time of Year: Next, do you have a time of year in mind? For us, we wanted to get married during the summer. We both have children from previous marriages and the easiest way to work around school and visitation and such was to choose a summer wedding after school was released. You might want to consider time off from work, from school and when your most “important” guests will be able to travel if these things will factor in at all.
Passports: Now, I want you to think about whether or not you want to choose a destination that will require passports for you and your guests. Not only was this an added expense for us but it also required some work and “permission” on the part of our ex-spouses.
Facilities: You will want to do some research to find out whether or not the type of wedding facility you are thinking of is available in each destination. If you’re a 5-star resort type of gal you’ll want to make sure they are available before you get your heart set on a destination.
Local Conditions: You will want to take into consideration the local conditions for each destination. For instance is there a lot of poverty where you’ll be traveling? That might not make it a deal breaker but it might mean you’ll need to spend most of your time at the resort as opposed to venturing out around town.
Destinations to Avoid: It might seem silly to address but there will be destinations that should be avoided. It might be a dangerous place to travel to or possibly even where they just aren’t particularly welcoming to foreigners. I hope you have as much fun choosing your wedding destination as I did.