Mistakes to Avoid When Planning a Destination Wedding

A destination wedding is dreamy because it allows you to celebrate with close friends and family while on vacation, but the wedding does come with some pitfalls. When planning a destination wedding, you face different challenges than having one in your hometown. Make sure that your destination wedding is a success by avoiding these mistakes.

1. Guests not getting enough notice

Traditionally, you need to mail your wedding invitations six to eight weeks before your wedding takes place if it takes place at home. You’re going to need a lot more notice than eight weeks, though, since your guests are essentially booking an entire vacation to attend your wedding. Set up an online wedding website where you can post all of the resort details. As soon as you know how long before the wedding you will send a save-the-date.

2. Forgetting to get a marriage license

Getting a marriage license in a foreign country is just like getting one at home, so you should know the laws. It is common in many countries to require residents to be “residents” for some time before applying for residency. Depending on the time of the year, this period could last anywhere between three days and a year. During a cultural holiday, you may or may not be able to get a visa, and you may also have to file documents months in advance or show documents from home to a government office. Providing divorce papers and documentation is needed if you or your partner have ever been divorced. If you’re not sure what steps to take to make your move legal, you may want to consult an English-speaking lawyer in the destination country. You could also legally wed in the States after or before having the destination wedding ceremony, so you don’t have to deal with the legal hassles abroad.

3. Airport Suit and Wedding Dress Check

If you plan to travel in your wedding dress, don’t check it. The thought of going through that TSA checkpoint for airport security may be a challenge, but you still do not want to be looking through lost luggage when you arrive at the airport, or worse still, not having your dress with you as you walk down the aisle.

4. Ignoring local weather patterns

Summer weddings on tropical islands may sound ideal, but it’s hurricane season in June, so you might not think that way. Check local weather patterns before you book your wedding to ensure you’re not going to get married during a monsoon.

5. Putting your guests on a tight schedule

If your guests attend your destination wedding, you should ensure that they have plenty of entertainment, but not all of their days are mandated by the wedding. Don’t forget that they’re on vacation as well! As a general rule, a welcoming event can either be an arrival meal or perhaps a departure breakfast. Please provide optional activities for your guests to do during the day, but don’t wear them out by expecting everyone to do them.

6. Being too busy with DIY projects

DIY projects provide the opportunity to add a personal touch to your wedding celebration. Keep in mind that you will need to carry all of the finished product with you in your suitcase, leaving you no space for bathing suits or other vacation gear. Keep DIY projects small and lightweight if you plan on doing them yourself.

7. Selecting a remote location

There are so many beautiful places in the world to choose from that planning a destination wedding is no easy task! Accessibility is another essential factor to consider when selecting a location. Considering the distance and the cost of getting guests to your event is very important. Getting married on top of a mountain in the middle of South America maybe your dream, but your grandmother might not want to come with you.

8. Not allowing guests enough time to arrive and settle in

It’s important to leave ample time for your guests to travel to the resort or city before the wedding day, even though you may want to jump right in when everyone shows up to the hotel. You may want to consider having your wedding on the weekend to take advantage of any travel delays for guests traveling on a Thursday.

9. Avoiding Travel Agents

There’s no doubt about it. Travel can be arranged online now, but this is an extensive trip requiring a lot of planning. An experienced travel agent can help you plan your wedding day and ensure your peace of mind.

10. Not remembering that it is also a vacation

Even though you’re getting married, don’t forget to relax and have fun with your family and friends at a destination wedding, too. You all make memories together in beautiful places, so how often do you get to do that? It is important to remember to enjoy yourself in all the wedding stress.

11. A Failure to Get Everything in Writing

The purpose of vendor contracts is to make sure you get what you paid for while protecting both parties. To avoid misunderstandings, miscommunications caused by a language barrier, or shortcomings caused by changes in staff, make sure every expectation you discuss is written down in advance.

12. Assuming that it will be like home

It is not always the case that you’ll find the same level of service, speed of work, or local style as you’re accustomed to backing home. Toss out some of those expectations when you are on “island time” and go with the flow as best as possible.

13. You should not pay everyone’s way

It’s easy to show generosity when you are a big spender. The idea of paying everyone’s airfare is admirable, but you will spend more than you would by choosing a destination wedding. People know what to do; either they can come out on their own or they can’t. That’s the way it works.

14. Photographers may need to fly in

Usually, when people get married, they spend a lot on things that are not needed, like personalized napkins, centerpieces, personalized place settings, floral arrangements, and table linens, which usually go in the garbage after the reception. In addition to the marriage itself, photography may be the only permanent thing. This is often where shortcuts are taken.

It is worth spending the money to hire a local professional photographer if you are aware of the importance and value of good photography. You won’t even remember the additional expenses when you look back on your wedding pictures 30 years from now.