How to Plan a Destination Wedding

by Weddings Editor

Items you will need

  • Marriage license
  • Reservations
  • Courier for gifts
  • Bridal consultant

How to Plan a Destination Wedding. Make your wedding an adventure! Plan a destination wedding and get hitched somewhere scenic and exciting. Your wedding guests won't forget your destination wedding either! Getting married abroad is like combining your honeymoon and your wedding ceremony and including your friends and family!

Step 1

Decide on a place. Think of a place that is romantic and meaningful to your relationship, or be impetuous and spin the globe and plunk your finger down anywhere. Let your imagination run wild for now and eliminate unrealistic destinations later in the process. Choose a first, second and third choice.

Step 2

Set your budget. Factor in how many guests you want, how much money you'll need for travel and how much money you'll need to start your new life afterwards. Set a realistic price range, one with some wiggle room either way. This will narrow down your choices while "shopping."

Step 3

Make a guest list. This is important for destination weddings. Figure out each guest's probable schedule and location. You want to plan your wedding to accommodate your high priority guests.

Step 4

Shop for packages. Look for all inclusive destination wedding packages in that area. To avoid headaches look for a package that helps you with transportation, marriage licenses, reception venues, bridal consultants, accommodations for guests and group discounts for guests. Compare prices and inclusiveness, as well as recommendations, ratings and references.

Step 5

Get local help before you get down there. Call ahead and find someone that can help you (if they aren't already included in the package). It's unlikely you'll know anyone who can help you, so plan ahead.

Step 6

Research marriage requirements. Marriage laws don't vary much within the states, but if you are traveling abroad you are going to want to know how things work ahead of time. You may need documents translated or residency requirements or other special considerations.

Step 7

Get a feel for the place. Do this in order to guide your guests once they get down there. Go down a bit ahead of time and walk through what the guests will have to do, including checking in to the hotel, finding a place to eat, getting to and from the airport and the hotel and where the wedding is held.

Step 8

Keep updated. In the months leading up to your wedding after everything is sorted out, be sure to double-check all reservations and services. Send thank you notes to everyone that has helped you and ask any question you can think of.

Tips

  • Asking guests not to buy gifts can help them afford the travel expenses as well as save you the burden of bringing your gifts back home with you. Enlist your own help from home and bring them down with you. That way you know you have someone you can trust. Always ask about group discounts when making reservations for your guests. Generally, guests will pay for their own expenses except for the bridesmaids and groomsmen.

Warnings

  • For sheer turnout, a destination wedding may not be such a great idea unless your friends have ample free time and money. You may have a hard time getting all your wedding gifts home with you. Call a courier or have them shipped back to your home, or request no gifts. Get everything in writing. There is no verbal or electronic agreement that matches the security of a contract. Get a signature, and always talk to a person. You can search on the Internet, but seal the deal in person.