Destination Wedding Planning
Tying the Knot, Far Away From Home

Have you ever wondered why so many fabulous people jet off to faraway places like Italy and France to be married? A destination wedding is a great way to explore an exotic locale, indulge in a shared love of a foreign culture, or simply get away from it all. Whether you’re fleeing the paparazzi or just seeking a break from everyday life, there are things you should know to make your destination wedding a trip to remember.

Plan ahead.
Flights, hotels, and venues fill up quickly. Make sure you send out the invitations early enough for all of your guests to book flights and hotels. You might want to call ahead and see if you can get a special group rate for those attending. Many hotels will allow your guests to stay on the same floor and will provide them with a discount if they identity themselves as members of your wedding party when reserving rooms.

It's expensive.

Don't assume everyone can afford to travel to your ceremony. Figure out a tasteful way to pay for a friend or relative who lacks the financial resources to travel to your wedding. Offer to pay expenses for a younger sibling as a birthday present or cover the costs for your artistic cousin in exchange for his help with the photographs. Be prepared to have  more people decline your wedding invitation than would have if you were doing it nearby; if you're looking to cut back on your guest list, this is a great way to do it!

Keep it real.

Incorporate the foreign culture into your wedding. Add a native dish to your menu, hire local musicians to play at your reception, or give out handcrafted souvenirs as wedding favors. These personalized touches will offer your guests an authentic taste of the local customs and traditions will give them another reason to always remember their trip.  Even if your destination is within the States, it will probably be different enough from home to make it worth including in your celebrating!

Keep them close.
Don’t trust that everyone is comfortable making an adjustment to a foreign setting. Provide everyone with a list of activities, restaurants, and local museums and attractions to visit during downtime. You could also arrange a tour or excursion for your more energetic guests.

Officially official.
Make it legal. Laws and requirements may very from state to state and especially from country to country. Make sure to figure out what paperwork you’ll need before you arrive in a foreign nation or travel to a different state. Travel agents are all helpful resources if you’re unsure about the rules. Still worried? Have a simple ceremony near home before celebrating your union abroad.

The church on time.
Plan for jet lag; you and your fiancé might want to arrive several days before the ceremony to ensure that you aren’t drowsy at the altar. Arriving early also allows you a time cushion in case of delays or unexpected problems.

Money, honey.
Don’t be burdened by your budget. Are you dreaming of a wedding in St. Bart’s but find your wallet unable to go the distance? Sit down with your fiancé and make a list of where you would tie the knot if cost was not a factor. If Bali, the Cayman Islands, and St. Kitts top your list, look to Key West or California for a closer tropical paradise. If you’re longing for the icy mountains of Switzerland or Germany, Colorado or Tahoe could be the perfect snowy setting.

Trust no one.

Don’t check your wedding gown. Luggage can be delayed or lost and you don’t want to pack away any essential items. Instead, ship your dress early and have the hotel can store it for a few days.

What we're here for.

Remember to stay relaxed. Part of the appeal of a destination wedding is having an experience you couldn’t have at home. Be open to what a place offers and go with the flow, even if things don’t go exactly as you planned. You might find that an unexpected event is the best memory of all.