If you have got the ring on your finger, it's time to plan for your wedding. Destination weddings are all the rage now because it allows you to tailor a ceremony that you have always dreamed of. You have the freedom to keep the affair intimate and private, or go all out and have an OTT big fat Indian wedding.
Traditional weddings offer you the luxury of familiarity. You know everything from the best venues and locations for various ceremonies, to most creative dress designers to trustworthy jewelers. You also know everyone from light guy and décor person to caterer on a first name basis. You also will get reliable, trustworthy and bankable references from friends, family and relatives on every vendor you want to work with. But in a destination wedding you would not have any of these.
While planning your dream wedding hundreds or thousands of miles away, you need to put in extra effort to ensure everything goes according to plan.
1) Choose the Right Location
Location is of utmost importance if you want to pull off a successful destination wedding. There are several factors to consider, least of all being whether you are a beach girl or a mountain buff. Of course that matters, but you also need to weigh the accessibility of the place, cost, availability of facilities, budget and time requirements.
Destination weddings allow you to plan a ceremony that reflects your personality as a couple, as well as your individual interests and preferences. If both of you enjoy adventure and outdoors, you can plan your wedding in Costa Rica, Nepal, Machu Picchu, Kenya, South Africa or Australia. These countries are famed for their gorgeous outdoors where you can have the time of your lives. If you are both foodies, consider the wine country Chianti in Italy or the Californian vineyards. Beach lovers have amazing options ranging from budget-friendly South America, Thailand and Maldives to more exotic locales in Bahamas, Peru, Italy and France.
2) Think About Logistics
If you are planning on a traditional ceremony you will require florists, décor specialists, specialised caterers, suppliers of religious or ethnic paraphernalia like puja arrangements, and of course, stylists and makeup professionals. Finding specialised manpower will not be easy if you are opting for far-flung and exclusive locations. And if available, they will definitely charge a premium. Flying in professionals from your home town again will prove expensive and stressful. So do take these factors into consideration when deciding on the venue.
3) Choose the Right Time
Time your destination wedding carefully in order to not clash with high-demand tourist season or other important events or national holidays in the host town when businesses shut down for extended periods. This is applicable in big cities as well where you will be greeted by empty streets and closed businesses during holiday season. During off-season also you will find many establishments closed in tourist locales.
Check the weather conditions in the location and decide whether they will be apt for the type of ceremony you have planned.
If you have chosen a popular tourist spot, try to push your wedding to the shoulder season (the months just after the peak tourist season). This will help you save money on hotel bookings and travel. If you must have your wedding during the peak season, plan well in advance and pre-book hotels, vendors and venues by at least a year.
4) Get Your Trousseau Ready
With destination weddings, you cannot afford to leave anything for the last minute.
Decide on your wedding outfits and get started with fitting sessions as early as possible. Coordinating bride-groom ensembles, shopping for the rest of the trousseau, deciding on jewelry for various events, and attending to the bridesmaid outfits all will take up quite a lot of time.
As mentioned earlier, the weather plays a very important role in destination weddings, especially if you are planning an outdoor event. Choose outfits and jewelry that will give the right vibe in the natural settings of the location.
Reserve heavy jewelry and traditional outfits for the main ceremony. For all other functions go light and fun, with floral ornaments or delicate diamond necklaces and bangles. They will also help you move freely and enjoy the occasion.
5) Take into Consideration Extra Expenses
Extra expenses occur in local weddings also. But in a long-distance affair it will be on a much larger scale. Scrupulous planning and excellent organisational skills are essential to ensure that you do not blow your wedding budget sky high.
If you are importing everything from florists to choreographers, then mark at least 10%-15% of total budget to cover unexpected expenses. Welcome bags for guests, activities and games you plan for them, local transport, special needs like dry cleaning, babysitting, medical emergencies, and other miscellaneous costs can all add up pretty quickly. Make sure you have planned your budget accordingly.
Also, remember that taking help from a local wedding planner is sensible if you are on a tight budget. This will save you money because planners from home will have to make at least a couple of visits to the location prior to the actual wedding. Local planners will help you choose local and cost-friendly options as far as food, drink and other needs are concerned. If you are going for a planner from home, choose one that has experience organising weddings in the same destination.
Organising and planning a destination wedding is not easy, but if you do it right it is worth every iota of effort you put in. So, get started right away and make maximum use of the luxury of time you have at your disposal. As with every big project, planning is the secret to a successful destination wedding bash.