It’s something that many couples have been dreaming of for a long time. They’ve been imagining the day when they would get married and start their lives together as one. And if you’re one of the ones who dreams of getting married atop an exotic mountain or along a foreign beach, then here’s how to plan your dream destination wedding. It’s a little different than getting married in your hometown, so make sure you check out these planning essentials for a destination wedding.
Pick a Budget
The wedding budget determines everything. It’s the difference between a week in Florida with just the two of you and a wedding officiant and a month-long luxurious excursion through Europe to get married in a castle or chalet. Once you know how much you can spend, all the other details can come into place. If you have a destination in mind, you could approach it from the other angle of saving up for your dream location.
While it might sound great to get married in Greece, you’ll want to find out if your top locations can perform a wedding and if there is enough housing locally to accommodate your guests. Finding a wedding location in Thailand will create a much different experience than a city in Europe. You’ll want to research costs, local customs, venues, and laws around foreign weddings and more. Decide if you want to get married in the countryside or in a city. As you research locations, you’ll get a better feel for just the right place for you. But, if you have one special place in mind, look at all the different ways you can get married in the place of your dreams.
Apply for Passports and Visas
International destination weddings require at least a passport. Some locations will require you to get a tourist visa on arrival. Other destinations might ask you to apply for a visa before you leave your home country. Part of your research should include knowing what the location you’re going to require. The sooner you apply for these, the sooner they will come in. Some years it takes longer than others to get passports and visas because the processing time is very slow.
Make a Guest List
You can still invite people to your destination wedding. Usually couples only invite their closest family and friends to a destination wedding. But truthfully, you can invite anyone you want. Make your guest list and let them know right away when and where you are planning to go. This can help them make important decisions early on. It can also give them the time they need to get passports and visas if you are going to a foreign country. Once you let the guests know, you can send out formal invitations later.
Book Your Travel
This is where it starts to get exciting. Whether you do it yourself or hire a travel agent to help, booking travel makes it feel real that you’re getting married soon. You’ll want to get travel medical insurance and trip interruption insurance if something happens, and you need to postpone your trip or head home early from your trip. When you book your travel, make sure to get hotels, airfare, ground travel, and any upgrades added to your package. You’ll also need to book the wedding venue. Do your research so you know everything that’s covered for the wedding.
Select a Photographer and/or Videographer
Many wedding venues, even in international and destination locations offer wedding photographers and videographers. You’ll want to hire a photographer, sign a contract, and coordinate all the details before you head off for your dream destination wedding. Make sure you get a wedding photographer or videographer you love. These are the memories from the wedding that you can look back on for years and generations to come. You’ll want to consider getting an album or something tangible that documents your special dream wedding.
Buy Wedding Clothes and Accessories in Your Home Country
If you’re planning to wear a traditional wedding dress or tux from home, make sure you buy it and a good waterproof bag to carry it to your destination. You’ll want to bring it as a carry-on just in case the airline loses your luggage.