How to Plan A Stress-Free Destination Wedding

Planning a wedding takes a lot of energy and resources, and a destination wedding has more factors to consider. However, there are important tasks that can help ease the stress. To learn more, here are some tips for planning a stress-free destination wedding.

Plan a Stress-free Destination Wedding for Your Special Day

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What is a Destination Wedding?

Traditional weddings are held near hometown communities, and usually take place in banquet halls, rental homes or restaurants. Destination weddings, however, are held far from home. Some couples choose their favorite vacation spots while others choose new, picturesque or exotic locations. For some ideas, check out these romantic destinations for couples.

Advantages of a Destination Wedding

There are three major advantages to having a wedding far from home. First, destination weddings are sometimes less expensive. Weddings in exotic locations often offer a package deal. The couple receives a reception space, meal, entertainment, and accommodations in one package.

Second, the stress that comes from planning may reduce. In an all-inclusive wedding, everything is taken care of — from wedding favors and venue to entertainment and place-settings.

Lastly, destination weddings are less common than traditional ceremonies. Not many couples choose to have these types of weddings, and guests can enjoy the vacation of a lifetime while celebrating the special day.

Other Reasons to Choose a Destination Wedding

Here are some of the reasons couples choose destination weddings and factors to consider:

  • Beautiful weather
  • Special/iconic location
  • Amazing scenery
  • All-inclusive packages
  • Memorable experiences for wedding guests
  • Romantic experience for the couple

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Challenges of Having a Destination Wedding

Like all weddings, destination weddings come with challenges. How can couples be ready? Check out some common stressors and how to avoid them.

Top Challenges Encountered During Planning

Travel Issues: Despite a pandemic, there are still travel restrictions and complex Visa requirements for many countries. Other things that could impact travel include immunizations, civil unrest and weather.

Cultural Differences: Going to a place where English isn’t the first language presents new challenges due to misunderstandings or cultural differences. It’s important to also respect local traditions and customs.

Legal Restrictions: In some countries, a wedding ceremony may be possible, but couples might not become legally married under that country’s laws. For instance, Italy and Brazil have complex laws that require translated documents, which can cost more money and time.

Top Challenges Encountered During The Wedding Day

Not What Expected: Those who don’t see the venue beforehand might not get what they expect. Things can appear smaller or larger than the photos. Plus, photos typically zoom in on one area, so visitors don’t have accurate representation.

Guests Can’t Make It: While a guest may have RSVP’d, things happen between then and the wedding day. For example, guests may have forgotten documents and were turned away — or perhaps their Visa was denied.

Unable to Ask for Help: Ideally, a venue will supply a point-person. To reduce stress, work out these details before booking a venue, or hire a wedding planner in the area to take care of the details.

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Planning Tips for Your Stress-Free Destination Wedding

While challenges may arise, there are some steps to take during the planning phase that should eliminate worry and help couples enjoy a seamless ceremony. For a wedding in an exotic location, here are tips to keeping the process stress-free.

Notify Guests Months Ahead So They Can Prepare

In order to attend, guests will need to secure travel, possibly Visas, babysitters, pet sitters, and plan for personal time off from work. If that’s the case, they need time to make those accommodations.

Next, announce the destination in a wedding save-the-date or invitation. For something memorable, work a wedding hashtag into the invite that ties in the location such as #MarriedInCabo.

Be Clear on Who Pays for Guest Accommodations

Be sure the invite leaves no room for argument and explicitly says who is paying for accommodations. Often, couples ask that guests pay for their own hotel room or vacation rental. However, some couples have budget to spare for their guests’ accommodations. Since vacation rentals are often more affordable, help guests find vacation rentals in North America or search for rentals in other countries. It really depends on how much the couple wants to spend and where to allocate their budget.

Make a Checklist of Things to Bring

Before leaving for the destination, make a wedding day checklist. A checklist will help you get organized and unload pesky to-dos onto a piece of paper or in the phone’s note app. When something comes up, write it down. When it comes time to pack, the process will seem far easier.

Use Local Suppliers to Save Money

Instead of lugging 50 glass party favors overseas, find something local. If working with a resort, ask if they have a concierge service that provides these supplies. Other local goodies include decorations, flowers, photographers, a wedding planner and tux rental.

Arrive a Few Days Before The Wedding

Couples will want some time to get settled and relax before the wedding day. Therefore, arrive a few days ahead of the big day. The extra time provide sthe chance to meet the staff, know the venue and finalize finishing touches.

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Know The Local Marriage Requirements

Those who prefer to legally marry at the wedding destination, need to check with local authorities. Some couples opt to get a marriage certificate in their own country before or after the wedding. They then have just a ceremony that isn’t legally binding in their destination. This can help create a stress-free destination wedding experience.

Secure Travel Documents (Passports, Vaccination Certificates, etc.)

In addition, make sure all paperwork is complete. In the U.S., passport processing can take up to two months, with expedited service sometimes available.

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Pick The Right Time of Year

Every country has their own weather. Midsummer in Cancun is hot and sticky. July in the Bahamas is hurricane season. Monsoon season in Thailand is at its peak in the late summer and early fall. For the best event, research weather trends before planning.

Additionally, inclement weather can interrupt even perfectly laid plans. Consider having a plan B ceremony and reception location. Most resorts will be ready for this and it may increase costs, but it beats calling a rain delay on the big day.

Organize Shuttle Service For Guests

To simplify transportation, pay the resort or a local service to shuttle guests. This also enables wedding parties to do things together and have a way to get around the area.

Hire The Best Wedding Photographers

Find an high-rated local photographer to capture special moments. Some couples choose to bring a photographer, so the editing process is easier. Just remember: Those who bring a photographer will likely have to pay for their room and food during their stay. However, this investment often pays off because amazing photos is one of the reasons to have a destination wedding.

Make a List, Check It Twice

Keep a good list of what to pack, things to do and a schedule. The more organized you are, the more likely you are to have a stress-free destination wedding.