Romantic Holidays

What is destination wedding and how to plan it: a step-by-step guide

Destination wedding isn’t easy. You need to decide the location of your destination wedding, plan the budget, book the all inclusive resort, convince your friends and relatives to participate, print the invitations, rope in wedding planners to take the stress off you. After all, who wants stress on the day they are getting married?
What is destination wedding and how to plan it

A destination wedding is an out-of-town wedding usually by a honeymoon at the same location. Depending on how much you can afford, you fly in a few relatives and/or friends to your destination wedding – to create your own cozy wedding atmosphere. It is your wedding, in your style. This article is all about what is destination wedding and how to plan it.

A destination wedding allows you to say “I do” in a unique way while you are surrounded by your friends and family members at the best possible destination. They can be outstandingly lavish or modest depending on your lifestyle, budget, and desires. There are a lot of options to fit every sort of destination wedding whether you want a beachside wedding or a grand wedding in a chapel.

You could choose India for your destination wedding or Europe, either way, it is a lot of planning and hard work. No matter how big or small you want your destination wedding to be the most important thing you need is- planning. Without a plan for your destination wedding, your dreams will shatter and your “big day” will turn out to be your worst nightmare. We know that you don’t want this to happen not at any cost that is why we are here to give you some tips on what is a destination wedding and how to plan it properly.

Before we go about sharing our tips on how to plan a marriage at a fashionable destination, we will help you understand how getting into matrimony at a unique destination is different from a normal wedding in your city.

What is a destination wedding

A destination wedding is a wedding planned and conducted at a place other than your own because you love the destination. More often than not this destination wedding extends to become your honeymoon as well. The idea is to give the wedding celebrations some wing by giving it the best exotic locale that you can afford. Great destination weddings can be planned all over the World, just remember the closer it is to home, the cheaper your destination wedding will be (and higher chances of it being within your budget). Sometimes getting into a wedlock at a wedding destination may include only the couple (and their children, if applicable) and if hundreds of invitations are distributed, it ends up becoming a bigger event.

Reasons why you should have a destination wedding

Destination Weddings
Destination weddings are amazing and worth a try. Start planning now!

If your question is “Why should I have a destination wedding?” it is quite valid. Many couples think that it’s much cheaper and easier to have a wedding at the city or town and head out for the honeymoon. It is quite a valid line of thinking. This is why we wrote this article “what is destination wedding and how to plan it” so you know all aspects of having an exotic marriage at a unique location and decide for yourself.

Now, for a moment imagine yourself dressed in your bridal wear (or bridegroom’s suit) and standing in a warm, beautiful, and luxurious atmosphere and your gleaming family and friends toasting the best moment of your life – your marriage. Now imagine the music playing in the background as you exchange the vows and head for your drink, knowing fully well that this party isn’t going to end the moment you vacate the wedding hall – it will continue to a week because you have booked the best destination wedding venue you could afford. Now, imagine being able to relive this memory every day of your life.

Since the couples discuss the wedding destination ideas with their relatives and friends, the concept of destination weddings has got a viral uptick. Thus, it is getting quite popular amongst young couples giving rise to affordable and within-budget destination wedding packages and resorts.

Thanks to the popularity, lots of destination wedding experts have sprung up. These wedding experts will vary depending on where you are based and the destination where you would want to get married. The best destination wedding experts provide all kinds of advice, logistical support and on-the-stop planning on the day of your marriage.

Why you should include the invitees in destination wedding plans

Before you plan your destination wedding, you need to agree on a few things with your prospective husband (or wife).

1) What will be the cost of the destination wedding?
2) What will be the location of the destination wedding?
3) How long shall the destination wedding last?
4) What will be the arrangements required at the wedding destination?
5) Who all needs to be invited to the marriage ceremony?

Once you and your spouse agree on the answers to these questions regarding your impending marriage it is time to decide names of your friends and relatives who will get the invitation to the wedding. Only call the invitees for this discussion around your marriage at the destination, because you don’t want to discuss it with them and NOT invite them later.

Such weddings always take everybody by surprise – though it is appealing and exotic, it also means that attending your wedding is going to cost more. Our recommendation is to first run your idea of having a destination marriage past your close relatives and friends – because then they wouldn’t mind incurring the cost to be there for you when you need them the most. In case a good set of your close and not so close friends and relatives decide to not make it to your destination wedding you can always choose to have a reception in your hometown.

Documents needed for a smooth destination wedding

The detailed answer to this question depends on the country in which you have negotiated an all-inclusive destination wedding package (if you haven’t yet, here are some amazing tips on how you can negotiate an all inclusive deal). The short answer is that most countries need just an internationally valid Identification Card such as a birth certificate, a school leaving certificate or a passport. Depending on the location, they may also request for a marriage license application. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you bring in a destination-wedding manager or company the moment you start discussing your destination wedding ideas.

How to keep wedding costs low and within budget

You need to keep the costs for your destination wedding as low as possible for two simple reasons:

1) You need money to live your life after your nupitals are over
2) You don’t want your friends and relatives to spend a lot of money to attend your marriage

The best way to keep the costs low and be within your budget is by planning your destination wedding in advance. The sooner you start planning, the more you save. If you plan early, you can get deals on both flight tickets and the resort. Always go for all-paid, all inclusive deals when it comes to destination weddings.

There are some companies which offer you easy payments in installment for your destination wedding costs. We recommend you do a thorough research before you contact these companies.

Recommended Reading: Best honeymoon destinations in Asia

Get a wedding coordinator / planner at the location

Destination weddings can be very complicated affairs and as the bride or the groom you don’t need to go through the stress. So best is to request the resort for an on-site coordinator for your marriage. With a coordinator in place, all you need to do is land up for your wedding and deal with just the limelight and not the stress. This allows you to give freedom to your destination wedding ideas and not be bound by the limitations of executing the ideas – sometimes this wedding coordinator is part of the all-inclusive package.

Recommended Reading: Popular honeymoon destinations in the World

How to get best deals for travel & stay for the wedding

It is usual for the participating friends and relatives of the bride and the groom to pay for their travel to the wedding destination. Though they will be paying, it makes sense for you to contact the airlines and check if there are group travel discounts you can avail. If each person books individually, you lose the leverage for group deals. The best practice is that the bride and the groom handle the costs for all friends and relatives once they reach the wedding destination – this can be only possible if you discuss and take an all inclusive deal with the resort. Try as hard as possible for a group discount here as well. The time of the year when you decide to have the wedding can also impact the prices so if you are on a budget, check on the lean period.

When to start planning a destination wedding

Most people start thinking of destination wedding ideas a year in advance and we agree that it’s the right time to start your destination wedding plans. Before even approaching any company, which will help you plan your wedding at the exotic location, please have all your ideas and thoughts jotted down. Discussing your destination wedding a year in advance also gives you ample time to get the best all-inclusive deals possible at the locale and resort of your choice. The larger the group you will be traveling with the lower will be your all inclusive rates but the sooner you will have to start planning.

Step by Step guide on how to plan a destination wedding

We have given below a small checklist or a planner, which will come in handy for you to figure out the next steps for your destination wedding. Ours is a very broad checklist, so depending on our broad tips, please make a detailed planner of your own.

Step 1: Decide on a destination for your wedding

Deciding a destination or location is the most important and critical part of your planning process. Location can be anywhere you want it to be – let your dreams come true because it is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Maybe it’s your dream to tie knot in Florida or in Hawaii or in Europe or in Paris…the list of probable destinations is endless. But once you have decided the location, make sure you and your partner visit the destination of your wedding once before. You may end up spending a bit extra on a recce visit, but it can help you save a lot of stress later.

There are numerous factors that you must keep in your mind before finalizing destination for your big day. Some of them are:

Weather: If not planned well weather can destroy your destination wedding. Before choosing a location, do a complete weather research. And always have a plan B if the weather is not in your favor.

Budget: Whatever venue you have decided, make sure it falls under your budget. In fact, the venue should be a little below your budget for the destination wedding because almost always the plans overshoot the budget.

Convenience: The location you have chosen should have a good flight and train connectivity so that it will be convenient for your friends and relatives to reach there. This is critical, else you may end up exchanging the ring with no witnesses.

Recommended Reading: Most romantic honeymoon destinations in the World

Step 2: Choose a good & efficient wedding planner

After choosing a destination you should choose a good wedding planner who can make things easy for you. A qualified planner can take care of many small things with minimal confusion. Whether it is a wedding or a reception, a planner will make things smooth and hustle free. They also have contacts with reputed vendors, which means you get the best service and the best rates. These planners easily save you a lot of headache and let you enjoy your big day without burning a hole in your pocket.

Step 3: Learn the wedding laws of the destination country

Every country has a different set of rules for wedding/marriages you must not forget those rules. Many countries have a residency requirement, which means you must reside in that country for some period before tying the knot. If you are getting married in a foreign country, you must register your marriage in your country as well. It is important to check on the local wedding laws before planning your wedding at a destination.

Step 4: Know the local wedding customs

If you are getting married in a foreign location, learning its custom restrictions would be highly recommendable. There are two reasons why I recommend this – so that you don’t offend any local sentiments and secondly so that you can add a bit of “exotic” to your destination wedding.

Step 5: Take care of the guests attending your destination wedding

You have always imagined your wedding surrounded by your dear and near ones. Even if you didn’t trust me when I say that your guests are an essential part of your wedding – besides your spouse, that is. If your relatives and friends can’t make it to the marriage, they will not appreciate all your planning. After all – good or bad – these are the guys who will talk about your wedding for years, depending on your planning. Send them early invites so that they can book their tickets in advance. Provide them detailed instruction of the wedding’s venue. Also, if your budget allows throw them a welcome party or sightseeing day.

Step 6: Choose appropriate wedding dress and carry it with you to location

The dress is undoubtedly one of the most important things of a wedding. Since yours is going to be destination wedding you must be a little bit more careful in your wedding dress selection. Consider the climate of your destination when choosing your wedding dress. Most airlines provide the facility where you can hang your dress in the plane but not all airlines have this facility so you may consider a professional for help. Since you are anyway carrying your wedding dress, don’t forget to make a list of items to carry on your honeymoon.

Step 7: Don’t ship things required on your wedding day

Please carry with you whatever you need for your destination wedding. Never ever ship them across to where you are headed because chances are they may not reach you on the day of the marriage. Carrying it yourself will save you lot of stress and time.

Step 8: Plan for your honeymoon along with the wedding

We would strongly recommend you staying back at the hotel or resort after your wedding, for a long honeymoon. After your friends and relatives have witnessed the wedding and let…you can decide to relax and take it easy. Now that you know that a wedding and a honeymoon can happen at the same place, why don’t you look at our list of the best honeymoon destinations ever.

Step 9: Pack for your honeymoon as well

After the wedding wows have been said, the first dance is over, and the champagne has stopped flowing, your friends and relatives will fly back home and you two will be left alone. This marks the beginning of your honeymoon days. You may have decided to spend your honeymoon at the same location or fly to another location (here are our favorite all inclusive honeymoon packages) – irrespective of your decision, do remember that for your honeymoon you need a totally different wardrobe. Depending on your post-wedding schedule, pack for your honeymoon as well. Here is a list of ten most important things to pack for your honeymoon.

Recommended Reading
1. Affordable honeymoons in Asia
2. Best African honeymoon destinations
3. Best European countries for a honeymoon
4. Why you should go for all inclusive honeymoon packages