Destination weddings have been en vogue for decades, but nowadays – with couples having to postpone or minimize their events – there has been a rise of small, intimate events. If you are wanting to blend a location-based big day with tiny nuptials, there are many things to consider. Knowing how to plan a micro wedding from a distance can seem difficult, so here are several things to consider.
Whether you are thinking of getting married in Jamaica or trying to plan a destination wedding on a budget, there are lots of things to consider to make the planning go smoothly. There are both risks and rewards for planning to say “I do” in a unique location.
Location-based nuptials make for beautiful photos and wonderful memories! Here are a few things to think about to ensure a successful, thoughtful event.
16 Tips: How to Plan Destination Weddings
1. Curate your guest list.
To find out whether a far away micro wedding is feasible, make your guest list. Determine your must-have guests, and think about whether or not they could actually make it to your big day.
Consider close friends and family and any physical limitations they may have. Your grandmother may not be able to fly to a Caribbean destination wedding, but she may be able to visit a wine region in California if it’s closer.
Also, think about how much your guests would be willing to spend to attend. Formulating a guest list can put your friends and family at the top of your mind when choosing where to get married.
2. Set your budget.
Not only do you need to consider your guests’ finances, but destination weddings can impact the budget for couples as well. A smaller, micro wedding may seem less expensive, but some destinations may be cost-prohibitive. Figure out how much you can allot for your big day before you jump in full force.
A destination wedding planner can help you find a venue and plan the day of your dreams.
3. Choose your location wisely.
The destination you choose will set the tone for your whole event. Do you want the backdrop of a mountainous region, or would you rather say, “I do” overlooking the Mediterranean Sea?
Travel distance is something to think about, too. US guests may be more likely to head to a California wine region wedding rather than an Australian adventure due to the length of travel.
4. Research the local laws once you choose a destination.
Know what you have to do in order to have your marriage recognized in your hometown and in your destination wedding locale. Some states and countries have varying requirements, so check into the legality ahead of time.
5. Think about the time of year.
Weather will impact your wedding day, especially for outdoor destination weddings. You’d hate to invest in a lovely, outdoor event in Costa Rica only to be there during their rainiest months. Likewise, heading to a location during their tourist season will only cause headaches.
Instead, check on weather trends, and consider the shoulder seasons, where some countries and cities are less likely to be packed. A bonus is that prices tend to be more economical during these times.
Place your gown in your carry-on luggage to ensure it arrives at destination weddings.
6. Hire a destination wedding planner.
I can not stress this enough. Having an advocate that knows your destination is a huge plus. They can recommend vendors, answer your questions, and alert you to any unexpected things happening in the area that will impact travel or your big day.
Going with a true pro will relieve your mind so that you can relax. They will also know how to plan a micro wedding and can offer ideas on making the day meaningful for you and your guests.
7. Visit your venue before the big day.
Yes, you can trust in your destination wedding planner to choose a venue, but it is highly recommended that you travel to the location before you get married. Meeting your planner is a plus, but visiting the venue will help familiarize you with the area and open your eyes to additional possibilities and arrangements you need to make for your wedding.
8. Utilize wedding planning websites to your advantage.
Wedding planning websites are fabulous for communicating with your guests leading up to the big day. Use the site to relay information about wedding-centric events, such as the rehearsal dinner and any extra activities. Offer maps, a timeline, and other tips and info that your guests will want at their fingertips.
A Caribbean destination wedding can include tropical flowers. So pretty!
9. Send out your invitations early.
The longer your guests can plan in advance, the better. After all, many of them may want to plan a vacation around your wedding to further explore the destination. Because your dream Hawaii destination wedding cost impacts their personal budget, you need to give them ample time to plan and save.
10. Reserve room blocks for destination weddings.
Make it easy for your guests and offer room blocks at a convenient location. This can be a hotel close to attractions or your wedding. Either way, having all of your attendees near each other will make the event cozier, and blocked rooms can save money.
11. Be sure your dress arrives.
Your wedding gown isn’t something that is easily or quickly replaced. If you’ve had alterations, it fits perfectly, too! Place your dress in your carry-on to avoid it being lost or redirected somewhere so it won’t arrive on time. Plan to have it steamed at the final location to have it in pristine condition for your wedding day.
12. Curate thoughtful welcome bags.
Your guests will be traveling from a long distance. Having a welcome bag placed in their room will be a nice surprise and fun addition. Offer snacks, drinks, and a local souvenir. Including a few tourist maps and information will help familiarize your attendees with the area.
A destination wedding on a budget is truly possible if you make your finances a priority early on.
13. Provide your guests with activity suggestions or an itinerary.
Of course, having pamphlets in the welcome bags will help, but go one step further, and offer specific suggestions. You could go as far as organizing a few group tours or activities to keep everyone busy the day before or the day after your wedding.
14. Arrange transportation for your guests.
Allowing your family and friends to ride together to and from your ceremony and reception ensures that they arrive on time and without any frustration. Use a local transportation service, or arrange several Ubers to pick everyone up and take them to your ceremony site.
15. Livestream your ceremony.
Destination weddings will inevitably exclude a few people, unfortunately. Livestreaming your ceremony can help family and friends feel as though they are right there with you. It’s a thoughtful way to include those who can’t make it to your event.
16. Honeymoon in your destination weddings location.
Chances are you will be flying to your destination, so you can save on extra transportation costs. Knowing that you can get married and just stay in the same lovely location is relaxing along with being a bit easier on your budget. Doing so can allow for extra days with family and friends who are vacationing post-wedding.
Planning Destination Weddings from Afar
If you want to consider Mexico, take a peek at this destination that has a beautiful, beachfront ceremony site, or take a peek here at a lovely place for destination weddings in California. No matter where you decide to get married, these tips can help your event go smoothly as you plan the day of your dreams!