I don’t know about you, but the drop in temperature has me dreaming of the beach. Therefore, today we’re going to talk about destination weddings, specifically, in tropical locations. Here are your top Destination Wedding tips.
- It’s all about the location. The location you choose will not only set the mood, but also travel, time and budget to make it happen. A beachfront villa will me much more private and intimate, but a large resort will most likely more activities and amenities for you and your guests.
- Do your research in person. Please take this one to heart. One trip at minimum is recommended to scout your venue, photographer, musician, florist, etc., although we recommend two or three if you can swing it. Try to make your trip around the same time of year you are planning your wedding so you can experience the weather and crowds. During your trip you will need to make sure to schedule testings, see sample bouquets, trial run for makeup/ hair, and research activities for guests. Always vet your vendors carefully, don’t just go by their website! This is a lot to accomplish and why we recommend more than one trip.
- Time it right. Unfortunately, the best weather in tropical destinations tends to coincide with tourist season, where there are more crowds, fewer hotel availability and higher prices. Destination weddings typically mean you need to send out your save the dates 10 to 12 months in advance and make sure you block your rooms out then also to lock in rates and make sure everyone has a place to stay. You can always try to schedule for just after the high season for fewer crowds and lower rates, but be wary of the weather and the fact that a lot of local shops will close down for the off season.
- Account for extra expenses in your budget. Depending on where you have it, your destination can cost more or less than a wedding at home. You also need to account for extra expenses such as importing key vendors, welcome/gift bags, activities, customs and shipping.
- Research the local marriage requirements. Different countries have different residency requirements before you can get married. For example, Mexico has a 30 minutes to a few days requirement depending which state while Jamaica is 24 hours. You will also need to know which documents are required. FYI France has a 40 day waiting period!
- Get help. This is not the easiest thing to do for most people, but a necessity when planning a destination wedding. At a minimum, you will need the resort event coordinator to be your go-to person for managing the ceremony requests. We recommend hiring a full service wedding coordinator, however, because you want to make sure every detail is accounted for with each vendor, and all of your guests are taken care of and have someone they can go to both pre and post wedding.
- Make sure there is a back up plan. Mother nature doesn’t care that its your special day. Ask your venue if they have a back up plan for bad weather and if there are additional costs associated with it.
- Take care of your wedding party and guests. Make sure to give everyone plenty of notice to allow for travel time and expenses. If you are not able to offer your guests pre-paid activities, put together a list of things to do and sites to see, and make sure to contact those companies ahead of time to negotiate rates and/or make group reservations.
- Choose your attire carefully. Be aware that tropical locations come with heat and humidity. You might want to skip the 40lb tulle princess gown for this one, along with a slightly less formal, or at least lighter weight suit for the men. A fun wedding favor idea is to leave a basket of different sized flip flops for guests to take so they son’t have sand stuck in their shoes all day if you’re doing the ceremony on the beach.
- Relax, you’re on island time. Keep in mind things run at a slower pace. Don’t mistake a vendor’s laid back demeanor for incompetence. If you’ve done your job, it’s time to let the professionals do theirs. The only thing you have left to do is enjoy your time and be with the ones you love.
Hope these tips help. Destination weddings are a lot of work to put together, but are sure to leave you and your guests wanting more. If you need help planning yours, contact us, we’re here to help!
Photos from Sandals.com