October 25, 2021
Imagine this; you’re packing your faithful old suitcase, smiling at your love across the room as you try and figure out how to fit that sunhat in there without squashing it. The excitement is bubbling away in your stomach, but it’s more than just the usual pre-travel flutters. This time, there’s the added frisson of getting married to your favourite travel companion…on holiday! Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it?
As someone who is passionate about travelling, exploring and adventuring and has made it a job, I know exactly the lure of a destination wedding! I also know that the initial, thrill-fuelled ‘yes!’ to a wedding abroad needs tempering with just a few considerations. I created this destination wedding planning guide because, as magical and adventurous as the notion is, a wedding abroad is not for everyone. I’m going to take you on a journey through 5 things you should consider before saying ‘yes’ to jetting off!
Your Destination Wedding Planning Guide:
Friends & Family
Wherever you choose as your perfect wedding destination, whether that be your favourite holiday spot or somewhere new, unique and unexplored, there will be some sort of travel logistics and costs involved. This means it’s not always possible to get everyone you might have invited to a ‘traditional’ wedding back home, in one place.
This will be a personal consideration for you, and I recommend really thinking about the list of the most important people you absolutely can’t imagine your day without! The inability to invite everyone to your day can actually be a huge benefit, as it enables you to ensure the guest list is made up of your absolute nearest and dearest. Having your closest friends and family there will make the day all the more special, and you can even extend the trip to spend extra time with them in your magical destination wedding location.
Type of Destination Wedding
Elopements, micro-weddings, intimate weddings…there are now so many terms for different sizes and styles of weddings, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed! My biggest recommendation here is to try not to get too hung up on the number of guests you’re having, or what your wedding might be categorised as. Focus instead on the experience you’re trying to create, and who you really want to share that moment with.
- Do you want to ‘elope’, just the two of you for an adventure?
- Or do you want your favourite people to witness your union?
Whether you want to keep it big and celebratory or cosy and intimate, think of the feeling you want to achieve on the day. Let the experience guide your decision, and don’t fret about what to call it.
Next up in your destination wedding planning guide is the money question. Some couples believe destination weddings are automatically cheaper, but this may or may not be the case. You should be realistic about what you really want to create for your destination wedding, what’s important to you and what you need to conjure up that magic.
Something I always tell my couples is to prioritise – ensuring you have your ‘must have’ straight from the very beginning ensures the wedding becomes a reflection of who you are, your values and the things that are meaningful to you. I encourage you not to include ‘traditions’ for traditions’ sake, instead focusing on what sort of setting and experience you envisage. This means not going into the planning being budget-led, but vision-led. It’s important to note that you can’t necessarily compare budgets across countries; some services or items may be cheaper in one country, but others could be more expensive!
If there’s one thing to take away from this destination wedding planning guide it’s this; the soul you’re trying to create on your wedding day is more important than the high-level, material decisions. When I work with my couples we seek out destinations that are off the beaten track, because these often allow their desires for their day to really blossom.
Language & Cultural Barriers
Another consideration when you’re deciding whether to have a destination wedding is whether you’ll be able to communicate effectively with venues and vendors. Planning a wedding is a complex task, and the added pressure of language barriers and cultural differences can make it difficult, uncertain and overwhelming.
Consider bringing on board an international wedding planner, someone who specialises in destination weddings and can help you navigate these challenges. If you’d like to chat to me about this, you can contact me here! Even though I’m multilingual and well travelled, it doesn’t mean I speak every language and have in-depth knowledge about every destination, but I always do my due diligence. It’s my job to do my research, searching broadly across different regions and countries to find the perfect experience and destination for your wedding. I always build strong connections with local and international wedding professionals who can help bring your day to life, sharing the same passion and values as me so I’m confident to recommend them.
As someone who lives and works in the UK but has travelled, worked and lived in other countries, I also have a good understanding of navigating different cultures. I understand different approaches to work and response times, and can manage expectations on all fronts; this will help you avoid feeling frustrated and worried when you can’t contact that supplier!
Last but not least in your destination wedding planning guide, your final consideration should be choosing the perfect place for your wedding. My passion is for getting off the tourist trail and finding somewhere unexpected, uncrowded and unbelievably perfect for your day. I look to create experiences that are authentic to you and your destination, so your wedding is both a reflection of who you are and of where you are. I aim to immerse you in the local culture and breathtaking surrounds that you may not have otherwise discovered, and introduced your guests to! If you want to see what I mean, have a look at this collection of 3 unexpected wedding destinations in Italy I put together. Looking beyond the obvious is often when we find the most idyllic destinations!
Last Stop…Decision Time!
Now you’ve weighed up the considerations in this destination wedding planning guide, all that’s left to do is decide whether it’s for you or not. If you’re still fizzing with excitement and can’t wait to start delving into dreamy destinations, drop me a message using my contact form; I can’t wait to start exploring with you!
Photography by Gianmarco Amico and Amir Heshmati.