There are 3 types of couples:
- Those who want to get married near their home town
- Those who want to get married(a little further away) in a different city
- Those who want to get married in a different country
In this hack, we are going to talk about the latter. This hack is for those adventurous couples who take their entire wedding overseas to create the ultimate dream wedding. This is the destination wedding!
Choosing the location
This is the hardest part. Where do you begin? Well, as always, a good place to start is your wedding theme. Do you already have a theme in mind for your wedding? If so, try to choose a location that suits your theme. Consider if you want an outdoor or indoor wedding and scope out areas that you think would be well suited. Keep in mind that the best weather usually occurs during the tourist season which could mean that your dream location ends up being really busy (a beach full of spectators probably wasn’t on your wish-list). If you already have a location which is important to you and your fiancé or that has some sentimental value, these locations bring an added touch to your wedding which can make it even more special. Of course, always keep an eye on the price to check if it’s in your budget. There are some additional costs needed for a destination wedding which we will discuss in more detail below.
If you plan to get married outdoors, use the natural beauty of the location to save on decorations. Likewise, try decorating indoor areas with local goods, adding an authentic feel. This could include plants, produce, crates etc. Be creative.
Look for non-city locations with cheaper flights, venues and accommodation. Just make sure that it is easy enough to travel there and that there are enough hotels to house all your guests.
As mentioned above, depending on when you book, it could be tourist season and there may not be enough accommodation available to cover all your guests. To avoid this, block-book hotels or self-catering accommodation in advance. The quicker you can finalise your guest list the better, as this will give you a more accurate idea of the total number of guests you need to book rooms for. You can then ask your guests to pay you directly to allow you to settle the bill with the hotel. For more complex bookings (e.g. if you are arranging self-catering or room-sharing), a Facebook messenger group can be incredibly useful.
Visit first yourself
Oh what a burden! It is highly recommended that you visit the location/venue yourself at least once before you get married. Ideally, you would want to visit before booking your venue and visit a few possible venues to make sure you are completely happy with it. If you are going to go to the effort of getting married abroad, you need to make sure it’s right. If possible, try visiting 2 or 3 times. This is something else to add into the budget.
Do you plan to hire a local vendor for your destination wedding or are you bringing a vendor with you? If they are a local vendor, you would probably want to meet them first, prior to booking them. If they don’t speak English, you may want to consider hiring a local English-speaking wedding planner to liaise with all vendors on your behalf (it’s an added expense but could save a lot of hassle). If, on the other hand, you are bringing a vendor with you, there will probably be a requirement to pay for their travel and accommodation costs. If you need to do this for multiple vendors, costs will quickly skyrocket.
Local marriage requirements
This is a biggie! It is essential that you check the legal requirements of getting married in whatever country you choose. Many countries have a residency requirement which means that you must reside in the country for a certain period before your wedding ceremony. The duration of this period differs between countries although some countries are quite lengthy e.g. France is 40 days!
Warn your wedding party in plenty of time
It’s important to stay aware of the financial responsibilities you are placing on guests by getting married abroad. Unless you plan to pay for all your guests’ flights and accommodation, give your guests as much notice as you can so they can prepare accordingly. This is especially true for your wedding party and guests who you are really close with as you want to ensure that they are able to attend.
Can all your guests travel?
It’s also good to consider if all your guests are able to travel? For example, any friends who will be in the late stages of pregnancy around your wedding date may not be able to make it.
Weather and Outfits
Unfortunately, getting married abroad still does not guarantee good weather and you should prepare a backup plan if the weather takes a turn for the worse. As well as rain, wind can cause a serious issue for outdoor weddings. We have outlined some wind/rain busting solution in our beach wedding hack.
Your outfits should also be weather appropriate. Make sure to choose lighter fabrics that you won’t overheat in. Unless you are having a destination wedding in Greenland, in which case the opposite is true!
If you are considering a destination wedding, the above points are your key considerations to whether you think it will be achievable. If planned well, a destination wedding can actually work out cheaper if you choose the right location(although that’s not the best reason to opt for a destination wedding). Keep in mind that the difficulties of wedding planning are immediately doubled when you are planning the wedding overseas so you need to decide if it’s worth the extra effort. But don’t let me put you off! A destination wedding can be one of the most spectacular weddings imaginable……and if it’s what you want, who cares how difficult it is…..just do it!