Yay! You’ve decided to go with a destination wedding! So what’s next? Don’t worry, we got you girl! We’ve seen destinations weddings go really well and we’ve also seen them go not so well. From our experience, we pulled together our biggest, best tips for planning your dream destination wedding.
#1 Hire a Planner
Planning your wedding miles away from its location can be tricky. That’s why it’s worth hiring a wedding planner who can take some stress off your shoulders and handle the intricate planning details. Make sure your planner is experienced and familiar with the wedding vendors local to your destination. Also, make sure to check out the planner’s past events and reviews. See if they are regularly hosting events like your’s and their style will fit your event. Often times the planner can make recommendations and have in house services that you can utilize. By hiring an event planner you are also hiring a team that will help walk you through your wedding planning process and remove some of the stress of the big day.
#2 Choose All-Inclusive Vendors
Make your life easier by hiring vendors that do multiple things and offer inclusive services. Here are a few examples:
- A wedding planner who also does floral design
- A caterer who also handles the cake and handles all food services (dishes, setup, cleanup & trash removal)
- A photographer who also does videography
Also consider booking a multifaceted venue. Your guests will thank you for hosting all your wedding events in one place. Some venues can accomodate your rehearsal dinner, wedding prep, ceremony, cocktail hour and reception all on one property. This saves travel time and the frustration of guests trying to navigate from place to place in a new city.
It is an added bonus if your venue offers additional products or services beyond just the space itself. Some venues include the setup, use and cleanup of event furntiure elminating the need for a rental company. Other venues offer additional services like event coordination, event planner or white-glove services that parking attendants. Finding a venue that can do more means you have to do less. It sounds simple, but not all venues offer these niceities.
#3 Check the Weather
The weather is one of the most important things to take note of when planning your destination wedding. Knowing what the weather is like at your destination around the time of your wedding will help you make educated decisions about what you will and won’t need, what you do and don’t want. For example, if you’re traveling to Kentucky for your wedding you should know that weddings between November & April will have limited outdoor options due to the cold weather. Therefore your date and venue selection should take this into consideration. Another expert tip is to look at average pecipitation, not just temperature, to get a full picture of what your wedding day could be like.
#4 Control Your Guest List
Your tribe will follow you anywhere to get married, but those who are not in your inner circle may opt out or feel less offended if they don’t receive an invitation. In that way, destination weddings can help control your guest count. This allows you to make your wedding weekend more intimate and personalized. So choose your guests wisely. Think about it like this. If you wouldn’t spend the time and money to attend their destination wedding, don’t invite them to your’s.
#5 Use your Budget Wisely
A smaller guest list allows you to either save money or spend your money treating your favorite people to an amazing experience. To put some numbers to that idea, let’s look at a wedding with a $20,000 budget for example. With that budget you can, spend $100 per guest on 200 guests or $400 on 50 guests. Think of all the amazing things you could do to really personalize your event with that much money per guest.
#6 Keep DIY to a Minimum
Avoid scrolling through all the “DIY wedding” boards on Pinterest. I repeat, DIY is not your friend when it comes to destination weddings. It is important to be realistic with the amount of DIY decor you will be able to transport to your destination wedding location. Make sure if you do take the DIY route, that you have the proper transportation and plenty of time at the venue to make your DIY vision come to life. Along with this, try to minimize all the wedding day gifts your guests will bring. Do this by asking guests to mail gifts directly to your home, instead of taking them to the event itself.
#7 Stay Organized
Wedding planning in general can be overwhelming at times. Compiling venue information, vendors, food, design, decor and more can be a lot to handle. That’s why its important to keep your thoughts and plans as organized as possible. Do what you need to do to help make your wedding weekend run smoothly. Whether that be making a to-do list, putting together a binder, checking your calendar, or looking to your event planner for advice. It is even helpful to distribute a weekend timeline to your guests in advance. This timeline can include anything from events, to meals and everything in between. This will help your team better understand how to plan and be on time for your weekends events.
#8 Trust Local Recommendations
Chances are, local recommendations are going to be your best bet for selecting vendors from afar. Planning your wedding from miles away means you will be working with a team of vendors that you may not be familiar with, and that’s okay. Make sure that when you are searching for vendors near your destination wedding, you are reading reviews and taking note of what others have to say about their experience. I encourage you to ask your venue, planner or coordinator for advice on what vendors to choose for your perfect day.
#9 Coordinate Transportation & Lodging in Advance
Think about event logistics like how to get your friends and family to and from the wedding location, in advance. Whether it’s renting shuttle buses or using taxi services, make a plan so that no one has issues. This may also include finding lodging that is central to all wedding weekend activities. Choosing a location accessible to your guests and accommodating to your wedding needs will help the weekend flow smoothly.
These tips are sure to make your destination wedding flow amazing. By implementing these suggestions into your wedding planning process, we hope that you will be able to sit back, relax and enjoy your special day.
If you are still on the fence about hosting a destination wedding, check out the first blog in our series Why a Destination Wedding May Be Perfect For You!
*The images in this post were taken by The Malicotes with flowers from Wild Roots Farmer Florist. The model, Maddie Duff of Otte Style, had her glam done by Blush & Glow Lex and is wearing a Heidi Elnora dress.