You’ve decided you’re getting married abroad, have chosen a destination and have looked at suitable venues. So now what? What is the TO DO list for planning your destination wedding without stress and having fun while doing it? If you’re using a wedding planner this will of course be their job, but in case you’re taking care of everything yourselves, this post will help you take all the necessary steps.
In case you haven’t seen our previous posts on HOW TO PLAN A DESTINATION WEDDING, have a quick look:
HOW TO PLAN YOUR DESTINATION WEDDING- part 4
1. BOOK YOUR VENUE
Everything depends on your chosen venue- the choice of local vendors, your wedding theme, travel & accommodation arrangements and, of course, your budget. Venue prices are as varied as their terms and conditions, so try and avoid booking any other wedding vendors prior to venue booking. This will give you a much better understanding of what you actually need and the leftover budget you can work with.
This rule is not valid if you’re set on hiring a wedding planner- it’s always best to hire your wedding planner before any bookings are made as we can use our knowledge and connections to get you THAT dream venue and tailor the whole process to your needs.
2. SORT OUT THE DOCUMENTATION
This comes at close second, but only because the best venues are often booked as far as two years in advance. There’s absolutely no way to get legally married abroad if your paperwork is not sorted. The permits, document translations, registry office appointments etc. should be right at the top of your TO DO list. It’s one of the least fun parts of planning your destination wedding.
How to avoid it? You can get legally married at your registry office and have a blessing or symbolic ceremony at your wedding venue. This gives you the freedom to have the ceremony wherever and whenever you want and make it extra personal by including your vows, music, speeches and mix up the timeline.
“How to avoid documentation hastle? You can get legally married at home and enjoy a symbolic blessing at your wedding venue.”
3. PLAN TRAVEL & ACCOMMODATION
The last of the less enjoyable tasks of destination wedding planning is definitely sorting out travel and accommodation for you and your guests. If your chosen wedding venue is able to accommodate the whole wedding party on site, it will make your life much easier. If not, keep the 20min rule in mind- try to avoid booking accommodation more that 20 minutes away from your wedding venue. While it seems ok to book venues that are further apart do keep in mind that it probably took everyone at least a few hours (usually half a day) to travel to your wedding.
Saving everyone additional travel time is certainly a good idea.
4. DECIDE ON YOUR WEDDING DAY/WEEKEND PROGRAMME
What will your wedding be like? If you’re planning a destination wedding then we’re probably talking about a weekend of celebrations and activities rather than a single day. Will there be a welcome evening? What would you like to do- a simple aperitif dinner? An afternoon by the pool, followed by show cooking and lounge vibes? A fun sight-seeing experience?
And how about your actual wedding day? Will there be a ceremony in a church? Which one? Or just a blessing at your venue? What will your guests be doing while you have your photos taken? What should the reception be like-buffet? Served dinner? How many courses and where should the cake-cutting take place? What sort of entertainment would you like? These are important details to decide on as you’ll only be able to plan the arrivals/departures/tasks of everyone involved once you know what they all should actually be doing.
5. CHOOSE YOUR VENDORS
Once you’ve decided on how you want your wedding to look and what the programme is, it’s time to choose your vendors. If you’re doing the planning alone your best choice is to enlist the help of your venue’s wedding coordinator as they’ll be able to provide you with contacts of local florists, bands, DJs, photographers etc.
If you speak the language or you’re getting married somewhere that your language is widely spoken, you should have no trouble booking everyone you need, provided you’re willing to put in the time and effort it takes to get everyone on board. Make sure you have all the agreements in writing and signed!
6. WORK OUT THE TIMELINE
Your wedding programme is not the same thing as your wedding timeline. The timeline is the exact plan of what will be happening and most importantly, when. Consider that you’ll need to coordinate the arrivals and activities of your guests, vendors, on-site staff and, of course, your own. Were always very careful not to push wedding planning services into our blogs, but here we really advise you to enlist at least a wedding day coordinator. If your venue has an on-site event coordinator, they may be able to help you so do ask.
Going it alone may be fine if you have great planning skills, enough time and enjoy the process of wedding planning, but trust us when we say that you won’t enjoy your wedding day very much if you’ll constantly be thinking where everyone should be and what they should be doing.
Do you have questions about planning your destination wedding? Get in touch and we’ll be more than happy to help you with some advice and a free-of charge consultation.