Here are the top 10 most helpful tips when planning your wedding abroad!
I have included a checklist below for you to download & use to help you plan your destination wedding!
1. Hire a Planner who specialises in Destination Weddings!
While Laura planned every single detail herself, she does recommend you hire a planner. She is naturally extremely organised and loved having control over every aspect of her day but admits that it was A LOT of work to do alone & the planner she initially hired wasn't matching her vision.
When looking for a planner, make sure LOVE their portfolio. Does their weddings match the style you want? Reach out to them & arrange a Skype/Zoom call to ask any questions & talk about the vision for your day. You can even reach out to a former client of theirs & ask how their experience was overall! Make sure you really research your planners before making a decision as it is crucial that they fit you and your wedding day perfectly!
Having a planner will ultimately lessen the time you spend looking for vendors hundreds, if not thousands of miles away. It makes it pretty difficult especially if there is a language barrier. Instead of spending hours and hours searching through hundreds of florists, let the planner narrow it down to a few who are perfect for your wedding day!
2.Check out the venue you want in person first!
This should be obvious! If you have a location in mind for your wedding and think you have found the perfect venue for your wedding, schedule a tour with the venue and do a quick weekend break to scope it out & get to know the surrounding area. You might think your dream venue is perfect online - but you should definitely check it out before placing your deposit down. Make sure it's going to tick all the boxes including whether or not it will work for the number of guests, is it in a remote or built up area? Will you have to arrange transport to/from the airport and venue? Are you able to stay at the venue or book a separate hotel for guests? There's a lot to consider & you'll only truly know until you see it in person.
3.Look for deals! (Save some money)
When looking for lodging for you & your guests, some venues & hotels will offer discounts to large groups or even offer room upgrades and special amenities. It's definitely worth checking out if you have a bunch of people flying over for your wedding instead of everyone looking for their own accommodation.
Some wedding venues will offer all-inclusive packages which includes a wedding planner, some flower arrangements, photography and videography etc. This can be great if you are on a tight budget! However it is CRUCIAL that you look into all the vendors and their work before booking an all-inclusive package. While it might sound nice to potentially save some money & have everything done for you - you will also lose some creative control & some of the vendors might not suit you. Make sure you invest your money wisely and have vendors you LOVE.
Not all your vendors have to be local. In some of the more popular destination wedding locations - the wedding vendors can charge a lot more. So you can definitely look into the options of flying in some of your vendors - it may work out a similar price and sometimes even cost less. Laura flew in her make-up artist from Scotland to Italy as the location didn't have many local make-up artists who she loved, and the nearest ones charged a fortune. Her hair stylist was a friend who was a wedding guest too!
However, it is GREAT to support the local wedding industry that you are planning your destination wedding in. But don't be afraid to look elsewhere if you can't find exactly what you need. Most wedding vendors will be stoked to offer their services in another country!
4.Make Instagram & Pinterest your best friend!
What's incredible about social media, especially instagram, is you quite literally have the world at your fingertips. Not everyone uses it as a resource to help them plan their destination wedding - but it's perfect for finding vendors, or other brides & grooms who have had their wedding in the venues you're looking at. Use hashtags to search for photos with the venues you love, or the location/country you want to get married in! You'll most likely come across hundreds of couples tagging their photos of their destination wedding or photographers, planners, florists etc. If you find a couple posting their wedding photos, don't be afraid to send them a message asking for recommendations & advice.
Pinterest is a great resource too, especially for making a mood-board of the vibe you want for your destination wedding that you can ultimately share with your wedding planner & venue! It's also another brilliant way to search for wedding vendors in different countries!
5.Research the requirements for legal ceremonies in the country you want to get married in.
Every country has different laws and requirements for marriage. It's really important that you look into this before you book anything! Some countries require visas while others don't. To get married in Ireland, you must register your intent to marry 3 MONTHS before your ceremony date, while Italy only requires 3 days. You may also have to plan to arrive a few days before your wedding to appear at the registrar in person. Again, the law is different for every country & it's super important you understand what is required & to be prepared for a bunch of paperwork!
You can contact the local registrar's & community services for more info on what paperwork you need and documents you may need to scan and forward on.
6.Create a wedding Website or Facebook page.
Creating a website specifically for your destination wedding is a great idea to share important information such as timelines, reservations, travel / airport information & maps, and local information like emergency and taxi numbers. It can be a pain passing on all this information via text or emails, as there will always be someone who misses important notices or photos, so having a page dedicated to all the information your guests might need to know is incredibly smart! Website builders such as SquareSpace have pre-made layouts for wedding pages and make it so easy to customise! Other alternatives are Wix & Wordpress.
7.Get Wedding Insurance
Getting wedding insurance should be something you consider whether or not you're having a destination wedding. If 2020 has taught us anything, it's that life is completely unpredictable, so it's a good move to cover yourself should your wedding have to be cancelled or rescheduled due to illness or death of either parties or within the family that would stop the wedding from going forward. It can also cover you for instances like the officiant not showing up, travel cars breaking down etc etc. When travelling abroad for your wedding - the stakes are even higher with air travel and delays/cancellations. Do not risk it without insurance!
8.Plan to arrive a few days before your wedding.
The last thing you want to do is arrive the day before. Leave yourself 3-4 days before to not only relax, but to finalise any final touches, meet any of your vendors and check out the venue again. Planning a rehearsal with your wedding party is also a good idea! Weddings are already pretty nerve-wrecking, so knowing the venue will definitely help calm the nerves of everyone who are involved in the ceremony!
Plan some activities or sit-down meals with your guests or wedding party before too! Going on tours, wine tasting, or hiring a caterer for some canapés at your venue or airbnb are all great ideas for your guests, family and friends to mingle before the wedding day! Make the most out of your destination wedding!
9.Bring your wedding dress on the flight with you.
DO NOT. I REPEAT, DO NOT CHECK YOUR WEDDING DRESS IN. Keep it with you on the flight in its cover. Don't risk the possibility (albeit, pretty slim possibility) of your luggage or belongings being left behind, or checked onto the wrong flight or being damaged. If there's anything super valuable and important to the wedding day, pack it in your hand luggage. This includes the wedding rings, too. Carrying your suit is also advisable. If it cannot be replaced before the wedding day - take it with you.
10.Make a lot of lists.
If you are having a legal ceremony, you will likely be required to bring along some documents such as your birth certificates, proof of divorce (if applicable), visas etc etc. Make a list of everything you need as stated by the registrar in that country and check them off when you are packing.
Make a list of any details you are bringing along with you (table favours, name cards, bridesmaids/groomsmens gifts, jewellery etc. If you have a lot of stuff
FOR YOUR FREE DESTINATION WEDDING PLANNING CHECKLIST
Drop me an E-mail & I will send it right to you!