Destination weddings are the weddings of many people’s dreams. But why do so many opt for a domestic wedding, instead? One reason  could be of all the thought and planning that must go into a destination wedding. Luckily, here, we have gathered together a few considerations that you must make when planning a destination wedding. Just keep these things in mind and your destination wedding can be truly great.

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1. Do Your Research

Before you go, carefully consider what you want in your destination wedding. This should help you to determine your destination. Then, do research about the weather throughout the year, as well as pricing, for your chosen destination. You would not want to end up there during hurricane season! Check out local marriage venues. Start gathering names of local vendors. Purchase your tickets and rooms as early as possible in the year. Compare prices on these before you finally lay down your money. Do this while planning your planning trips (more on that in a moment). 

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2. Know Marriage Requirements

Realise that marriage requirements in Mexico or the Caribbean might differ from marriage requirements back home. With this in mind, be sure that you know, before you go or finalise your plans, just what will be expected of you as a couple. Will you need to pay specialised fees? Are the requirements different for you because you do not live there? Be sure to consider the requirements (and know them all) before you decide to contact any local vendors or venues. Be sure that you are getting your information from a reputable place, as well.

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3. Let Guests and Wedding Party Members Know Early

As the tourist season draws nearer for most destinations (typically in the summer or when weather is the most agreeable), prices for airlines tickets, rooms, etc. rise dramatically. It is common courtesy to let your guests and wedding party members know very early in the process that you are planning a destination wedding. In this way, wedding party members or guests can politely decline if they simply cannot join you due to financial restraints. If you are willing to pay for some members of your party, be sure to let them know that, as well. Just understand that this can add a lot of expense to your budget. Remember to take advantage of group rates, if possible.

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4. Travel There, First

Before you start making reservations, we urge you to go to the place where you want your wedding to be. Do so at least once. While there check out any local venues that you are considering. Contact local vendors that you think you might want to work with. Set your sights on the hotel where you would like to stay. Think about hiring a local photographer. Attend tastings with your possible caterers. Plan your hair and makeup appointments. Arrange for entertainment of guests. There are so many things to do!

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5. Call Someone Else for Help

For many brides, it is simpler to just let someone else take care of it. This is where a wedding planner can come in. Wedding planners often have lots of experience planning destination weddings, or may even specialise in them. Many specialists will be speakers of the local language. They can handle all the details for you. Although getting someone else to plan your big day for you can be very expensive, it can help to alleviate lots of stress on yourself.

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6. Lining up Your Vendors

If opting to do your wedding for yourself, be very careful about vetting your vendors. Before you work with any of them, be sure that you hire a translator, if needed. Also be sure that you ask for references or online portfolios of past work. Most vendors are more than happy to provide these for prospective customers. Even if you cannot meet them face-to-face, you will want to contact them via Skype, video call, or phone call. If you can afford it, you can actually bring particular people (like a stylist) with you. But you will have to pay their way.

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7. Get Your Budget Right

When planning your destination wedding, your budget is critical. Understand that destination weddings can be as expensive or cheap as you would like. However, unexpected costs can often crop up while planning a destination wedding. Carefully record any quotes that you get and compare vendors to find the best value. Leave a bit of wiggle room in your budget, just in case. Factor in the cost of planning trips. Be sure to think about the most you are willing to spend, here, to make your destination wedding happen. In some cases, it is just cheaper to plan your wedding at home.

All images supplied by Lesley & Shaun Meredith.