Posted by jaelithe on 12 Jul, 2012
So you’ve got your wedding budget finally set, and you’re excited to see what kind of gigantic party you can pull off with the money… or are you?
The idea of putting on a big, formal wedding can be intimidating for a number of reasons. Maybe you’d be better off skipping out on the stress of putting up with Aunt Pam’s judgmental eye and cousin Erik having a bit too much to drink and making a long, embarrassing toast. Instead, you could spend the money taking your closest family and friends out to an adventurous travel wedding in the South Pacific, the Caribbean, the Maldives, or maybe someplace closer to home like Las Vegas.
Of course, there’s a lot that goes into planning a destination wedding. You have to start by choosing the right destination. Depending on the couple, maybe some tropical island is the right place to be. Or maybe they have a specific place that means more to them than coconuts and white sand, like the place where they first kissed or where they were engaged. Some couples might choose a whimsical locale like Disneyland or honor the families with something that holds special meaning. Whatever the decision, it should be a good match for both members of the union.
Start Planning in Advance
No matter when the wedding is, plans should start being cemented the day that the location is chosen. The farther in advance you make reservations, the better the deals you can get. You’ll also need to be getting visas, airfare, and other travel details planned out the moment you know you’re going someplace special.
Stick Around for the Honeymoon
One of the best things about a destination wedding is the honeymoon — you’re already there! Plan to stick around for a week, and you’ll save money and have time to really enjoy the destination you’ve chosen for your nuptials.
The Love Boat
If you’re not quite interested in sticking around in the same room for a week looking over the beach where you just got married, consider a cruise. You can explore the boat for a few days, get married in open water and then enjoy your honeymoon across whatever amazing stops the ship makes on its voyage.
No matter where you go in the world, even in the aforementioned open waters, there are a lot of laws that you can run afoul of if you’re not careful. Make sure you research the laws surrounding weddings, marriage, vacations, and religious ceremonies before you get your heart set on getting married in a foreign country. Most wedding destinations will be happy to provide (for a price) a local expert to guide you through these hoops and make sure everything is Kosher.
Consider the Guests
There often won’t be many guests if you choose a destination wedding, but the ones that do attend are shelling out quite a bit of money and taking some serious time off to be there. The least you can do is offer them some courtesies. Be very clear in what you expect of them and what they can expect of you. Help them find a decent place to stay, and if you can, help them organize themselves so that they can figure out their budget and expenses more easily.
A destination wedding is a massive exercise in research, planning, and preparation. Get it all done right, and the ceremony will be a beautiful exchange of vows against one of the most perfect backdrops in the world, as well as an unforgettable experience for you and your guests.
Rob Toledo is working alongside Travelex Currency Exchange creating guides to all aspects of travel. He is getting married this fall, but will be staying local in the Pacific Northwest. He can be reached on Twitter @stentontoledo.