Tying the knot in a far-flung location is romantic but requires more planning than just buying a plane ticket and booking a hotel. Four seasoned wedding planners weigh in on what you need to know before sending the invites.
Choose a location that’s easy to get to for guests.
It may happen that you may want to get married at some place where your guests can’t reach for instance If you want to get married in the Maldives, but are you sure your guests will want to travel 20-plus hours to attend your wedding? so choose your wedding location wisely.
Choose a package—or a planner.
When planning a wedding from far away, you’ll definitely need a wedding package or a wedding planner familiar with the area. Going with a planner will help you to personalize your wedding to your tastes. Packages, on the other hand, tend to be a bit more cookie-cutter, but with little risk of feeling that way, since the setting will still be new to your guests. If you do decide to hire a planner, decide on the best one for you by looking at planner websites beforehand. You’ll be able to tell by glancing through the photo gallery if a planner’s previous work is up to your standards.
Factor in the exchange rate.
Destination weddings have a reputation for being less expensive than weddings back home, but that’s a misperception in most cases especially if you’re hoping to get hitched in Europe. Always convert prices into dollars so you have a real handle on how much you’re shelling out for the big day.
Mail invites early.
Some guests won’t book flights and hotel rooms until they have the official invite. The ultimate guide to planning a wedding from afar suggests mailing invitations three months out, instead of the standard two months. Ask for an RSVP a month before, rather than two weeks before.
Give guests extra notice.
Destination weddings require extra planning for guests, too, so it’s smart to give a bit more notice than you would for a local wedding. If you actually do want people to come, give them as much notice as possible.
Budget for flight and hotel for non-local vendors.
If you do decide to fly in your own photographer or DJ, you’ll be responsible for their travel expenses. The good news? It’s perfectly acceptable to put your vendors up in a nice but less pricey hotel than the one where the wedding is taking place. (Just make sure it’s nearby.) The extra cost can actually end up saving you money. Sometimes if you are bringing them in for the whole weekend, the photographer won’t mind shooting some extra things, or the DJ will play at the rehearsal dinner or another part of the weekend.
Foot the bill for your guests’ airfare (unless you want to).
Couples are not expected to pay for the guests’ accommodations or travel. It’s also not etiquette for the bride and groom to pay for flight and hotel for the wedding party. If you have guests who cannot afford the trip but it’s important to you that they attend, alleviate some of the cost by paying for a few extra rooms and have people share for the weekend.
Leave guests to figure out their own transportation.
If you do have guests staying at nearby properties, it’s your responsibility to provide car or shuttle service to the main venue. Have the hotel give guests a schedule of events along with pick-up and drop-off times so that nobody misses a part of the celebration.
Spend a lot on ceremony flowers.
One of the main reasons to have a destination wedding is the beautiful scenery. Many couples choose to have an outdoor ceremony, in which case, there’s little need for the elaborate floral arrangements you might have at an indoor ceremony back home.
Don’t bankrupt your guests:
Negotiate deals at hotels of different price points so guests can have fun instead of stressing out about the cost of their stay. And have your mom and bridesmaids spread the word that guests’ presence is the only present you need.