How To Plan A Destination Wedding
#1 What style of wedding would you like?
Firstly, you need to decide what sort of wedding you want. Do you want an intimate ceremony with only your nearest and dearest or do you want one massive party with as many people attending as possible. Usually, the only people who’ll travel to a destination weddings are the ones who really want to be there and that’s really all you want. Start by making a list of who you want there and who is likely to attend. Even if you suspect someone won’t come, still hand out a courtesy invitation as you may be pleasantly surprised.
#2 Should I opt for an all inclusive wedding?
All inclusive resorts will have their own wedding vendors and opting for these all inclusive type deals are straight forward, easy and the reception tends to be less expensive. However, the bride and groom are likely to have fewer choices about the finer details. What’s more, they usually have several ceremonies a day, one after the other. Many couples enjoy the simplicity of this type of event. At an all inclusive wedding, your guests will usually have a meal and drinks included in their room rate and this is often added to the overall reception cost but don’t assume that it is!
Make sure you ask the right questions to avoid any unexpected wedding bills!
Some venues will allow you to choose your own vendors and will be able to help you with local contacts. These types of ceremonies require an awful lot more planning but could really pay off and would be more personalised to you. All inclusive venues are usually more expensive but it’s unlikely there’ll be other weddings taking place on the same day. If exclusivity is what you want, make sure you ask the right questions because the last thing you want is to feel rushed out of the ceremony because they’re setting up for another wedding! Having said that, some venues have numerous ceremony halls and if another wedding is taking place, you wouldn’t even know about it so make sure you really do your research.
#3 Do I need a wedding planner?
Many resorts and venues will provide this service so it’s not necessary to hire a wedding planner. However, if you’re feeling overwhelmed from the get go and don’t even know which location to choose or how much is normal to spend on a destination wedding then it might be an idea to pay a planner to provide additional support. If you know exactly where you’d like to get married, then chances are an additional wedding planner won’t be beneficial to you.
Be aware that many wedding planners have a list of venues and vendors who they work exclusively with and so you may not be getting the best deal. In addition to that, they often require a certain amount of your guests booking through them however if guests find and book a better deal elsewhere, you may be responsible to pay for the shortfall.
Things To Be Aware Of!
Read through your contract and see if you are limited to which venues and vendors you choose before agreeing to anything. You’ll also want to do your research on the company you choose, make sure you read ample reviews to get a good idea of the quality of service previous clients have received.
Some wedding planners work on behalf of travel agencies and you are required to book all your travel and accommodation through them. Most of your guests will be savvy enough to find better deals online and make their own reservations so try and avoid getting them to pay more through a third party as this is unlikely to go down well.
Whatever you do … Do not hand over a deposit until you are absolutely satisfied they can offer you what you want and you have a contract in place that outlines the services they intend to offer.
#4 Where should we go?
When deciding which country you’d like to tie the knot in, make sure you consider the older and younger guests attending as they may struggle with long haul flights. What’s more, some guests will come for the full two weeks and others may only pop over for the weekend and so short haul flights eat up less of their quality time at the chosen location. There are some incredible short haul flights to Greece, Italy or Spain that are well worth looking into. Short haul travel will also increase the number of people attending your big day.
Our Top Tip Would Be …
Don’t assume your guests want cheap accommodation. They probably won’t mind spending a bit more to have a truly amazing holiday! Your best bet would be to search for great hotels at great prices. Make sure you read through hotel reviews and find one that’s highly recommended. When you find a hotel you like, contact their event planning team to see what services they offer. Don’t be put off by their online prices because you can negotiate. Speaking of which, this leads me onto our next commonly asked question …
#5 Should I negotiate?
Hell yes!! Recognize that you are bringing a large group of people to a location and therefore you have the power to negotiate with both travel companies and wedding venues. How much you can negotiate largely depends on the size of your wedding party and in this case, the larger the wedding party, the more you can negotiate.
#6 Should I expect to sign a venue contract?
Yes! Contracts will identify your number of guests so they have something to work with. It also, guarantees them a good income. Whoever signs the contract will be responsible should there be a shortfall in attendance. So give it some thought and be realistic when providing the venue with the specific number of guests. Make sure you state an affordable number should you be left to foot the bill. You’re better off underestimating and adding people on once they confirm. The only problem with that is you can’t guarantee there will be spaces left. The earlier you start your wedding planning, the better!
#7 Is VAT included?
Many European countries have introduced VAT for each night your guests stay. Make sure you and your guests are aware of this additional fee. VAT does not stop at venues either! The same can be said for each vendor so make sure you understand whether or not VAT is included. This will help you avoid any fees that will add up to an astonishing sum!
#8 What about the legalities of marriage?
Don’t assume that because you were legally married abroad that your marriage will be recognized in the UK. If your marriage documents are issued abroad, make sure they are also recorded in the UK. Make sure you do your homework. Ring around local registry offices and get advice so that your marriage is recognized in the UK.
#9 Should I ship my wedding items over prior to my big day?
Shipping overseas is not a great idea when it comes to the important things that are needed for your wedding. Packages often get held up or misplaced and no matter how amazing your chosen venue is, things can disappear! In most cases, it’s better to have your wedding items travel with you and to pay the airline baggage fees. You can rope your friends and family in and they can help to distribute your items and reduce fees.
However, there are things to be mindful of …
Some countries ban items being brought into the country for resale. If you’re bringing a large amount of items into a country, make sure this can’t be misinterpreted. You don’t want the customs officer confiscating your wedding dress and other precious items. Rest assured that most countries welcome budding brides and chances are, you’ll walk straight through with no problems at all. Just be prepared for the worst by packing receipts and be prepared to answer any questions.
Things To Remember
There is no right or wrong way to plan a destination wedding so choose the one that works for you. Some couples want everything done for them whilst others have their own dreams they want to fulfill. Weddings are stressful whether you get married abroad or not. Adopt a positive attitude and know that it’ll all be alright in the end!
Find out more on how to plan a destination wedding here.
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