Searching for that perfect place to say “I do?” That oh-so special destination wedding location that doubles as a perfect paradise for a vacation too? Well, before you pack your bags, we’ve compiled a list of six must ask questions before you begin your planning journey.
1. Can you legally wed there? What are the residency and legal requirements of that country, county or location? Some places will require paperwork back home and on location, while others require an extended stay on arrival before you can wed. Be sure you have all the legal wrinkles ironed out and that you’re willing to jump through those hoops before you say I do to that location. And, if the place is a must but the paperwork is too much, then consider a symbolic or spiritual ceremony while you travel but make it official back home.
2. Can your important guests get there? How expensive is it to get to during the time of year you’ll be traveling? Can Grandma make the distance you’re asking? Do you have small children participating? Is it kid-friendly? Consider not just your budget and personal needs but those of your most cherished guests so no unexpected surprises arrive when receiving your RSVP’s.
3. What’s the weather like when you want to go? Our summer is Australia’s winter. Rainy season in the Caribbean can mean hurricanes too. While we can’t predict the weather down to the minute, you can prep and plan accordingly to avoid travel delays and reduce the risk of moving your ceremony inside at the last minute. An affordable time to travel is right at the beginning or end of the location’s off season. Chances are you may still see great weather while costs are down.
4. What local support will you have once you arrive? Picking a venue is not the only thing to think about once you’ve selected a city or country. Who are the local vendors that will produce the rest of that wedding? What’s the talent pool like on location and do they offer what you need? Do they speak your language or vice versa? And if not, what plan will you put in place to ensure miscommunications in the planning process are little to none.
5. What are your real costs? Planning a destination wedding budget isn’t just about the ceremony and reception. Chances are you’ll want to host a rehearsal dinner for all your guests, possibly a welcome event and send off or post-wedding brunch, and maybe even an excursion or two. Then add in the cost of your travel and shipping anything to the location and now you’re looking at the real wedding budget…once you’ve checked the currency conversion of course!
6. Can you honeymoon here? I highly recommend leaving your wedding location for your honeymoon. It gives you that real chance to disconnect and get away from the group that may be staying on for a little vacation time. If going to a different part of the world is out of reach, then can you transfer to a different part of the island? Is there another hotel in the area you’d love to stay at? What are your options for getting ‘out of town’ while staying in the region if need be?
We hope these tips will help you think through your destination wedding options while you hunt for the perfect place!
All Photos by Robert Evans.