What to Know About a Destination Wedding Before Planning One


Article by Laurie Larson

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A destination wedding sounds dreamy, but if you don’t prepare correctly it could turn into a nightmare.

There are many tempting reasons to desire a destination wedding, though. For one thing, you have a beautiful landscape for the best and most important day of your life. It also gives you a shortcut to the honeymoon since you’re already in a dream location!

Destination weddings don’t have to be intimidating, and you shouldn’t give up your dream of a romantic ceremony in your dream locale just because people say it can be disastrous. As long as you properly prepare beforehand and understand what expectations you need to have, your destination wedding will run smoothly.

Make sure you keep the following in mind when planning for your big day:

Planning will not be a tangible experience

If you’re planning on having a wedding on the opposite side of the globe, traveling frequently to make all of the arrangements will not be practical. You may not even be able to go once before your wedding.

The disconnect you will have from your venue and potential venues can make planning feel 10 times more stressful. The good news is, you don’t have to do it alone.

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Because destination weddings are such a huge trend, hotels and resorts have capitalized on the opportunity to be your host. This is both good news for their wallets and your ease of mind. Many offer a package deal, including an on-site consultant who can help you coordinate all the need-to-dos before you say, “I do.”

It may seem costly, but it will probably save you money in the end, especially if you bundle your purchases. If anything, it will help you have a dedicated person at your destination who helps you start to finish.

Though you should be wary that sometimes these staff have large numbers of personnel who rotate duties. The person you booked with may be different than the one in charge of your wedding’s operation. Be sure to fully understand the details of your resort’s offerings so there are no gaps in communication.

You might be jet lagged

Depending on how far you’re traveling, it’s likely that you will experience jet lag from flying to a different time zone. Even if it’s only a minor change to one time zone over, jet lag can still have a big impact on your overall health and mood. The last thing you want to be on your wedding is a half-awake zombie.

Make sure to consider this in advance. You can prepare by clearing any sleep debt you’ve collected before you leave. This means you should catch up on your lost sleep and develop a healthy sleeping routine. A week in advance, you can start shifting your sleeping schedule to the destination’s time zone, so when you land, you’ll feel like a local.

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It will also help to arrive at your destination a few days before your wedding, so you have time to adjust. Be sure that you’ve checked out your accommodations beforehand, so you know you’ll be able to stay properly rested once you’re there.

The main reasons people report losing sleep are due to disruptive noises, beds that cause pain, or being located in busy areas with lots of light pollution. If you do your research before booking, you can make sure the place you’re staying will allow you to have a little rest and relaxation time before and after your big day.

People might not show up

You shouldn’t be surprised if people aren’t prepared to spend a ton of money to fly out to your destination wedding and book a hotel for a few nights. This is a big ask. And unless you’re loaded with money, you won’t be able to pocket the bill for your guests.

A smaller ceremony may be your preference as they tend to be more intimate and personal, but if you were expecting to have a large party with all your family, friends, coworkers, estranged family members, and old friends, a destination wedding isn’t for you.

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It’s important to be clear on your expectations before you start booking. It can also help you be conscious of how many people you invite. Some people may feel burdened by an invite because they will feel obligated to go. Others may be offended if you don’t invite them because you think you’re doing them a favor.

Be clear on your communication with all your loved ones so you can create an appropriate guest list before planning your destination wedding.

Your marriage may be void

Depending on where you book your wedding, your marriage may not be official. If you book through a resort offering wedding services, you’re probably in the clear, but if you choose to do it all on your own, you may end up with some major complications.

Getting a marriage license arranged in another country, especially when you aren’t in that country, can be challenging. This may be one more nudge for hiring a coordinator who specializes in helping you navigate these roadblocks.  If you’re stubborn and want to do it all on your own, be sure you do your research on getting a marriage license in that location.

While planning a destination wedding can be a large challenge, it also offers an unmatched reward. Though if after reading up on all the warning signs you’re not up to the task, no one will judge you. Besides, you can always plan your big trip for a bachelorette party or your honeymoon. Whichever way you choose, we wish you the best of luck in your happily ever after!

Laurie Larson is a freelance writer who enjoys writing on home, health, and lifestyle topics.

February 27, 2019 |

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