Where do you begin when you decide to plan not just a wedding, but a DESTINATION WEDDING? A wedding which involves travel, overnight accommodations, rental cars, traveling guests, itineraries and luggage! You start right here with all the info and advice you need to get started from destination wedding expert Lisa Lippe of Details Defined Wedding & Event Design!
What is our dream spot? Are you tropical island people or Parisian flea market people or do visions of remote islands visited by sailboat fill your dreams? Do you see yourselves swooshing down the slopes of a snow covered mountain and right onto the aisle or floating around on a raft drifting towards the pool bar?
What is our budget? This may need to be the first question or be decided on simultaneously as the more remote you get the more expensive it may become.
Who do we really want to share our wedding/vacation with? This will help you determine just how far or remotely you want to travel and how many guest your venue will need to accommodate. Picture your Grandmother trying to hike up Machu Picchu with you or perhaps your brother’s 3 unruly kids on an 11 hour flight on the way to your week at a resort, and your remote island destination wedding plans may change a bit.
What time of year do we want to be married? Do you envision a classical Christmas wedding in Vienna with the strains of Mozart in the air or a mid-summer day in Mexico with the sun warming your day, your toes covered in sand? Also important to consider are the weather patterns of your selected destination. The Caribbean and Southeastern US seaboard are beautiful, but not recommended during the late Summer hurricane season!
Where do our hearts lead us? Above all, pick a place that is meaningful to you and your fiancé to share with your friends and family. One of the best things about a destination wedding is the amount of quality time you get to spend with those you care about, all in a beautiful and special place you enjoy.
With the answer to these questions you are ready to talk to a wedding planner who can begin presenting you with suitable locations, travel, accommodations, trusted vendors. Starting with a wedding planner is proactive and wise. Hire a planner who is willing to be onsite for your event.
On to the key elements in destination wedding planning…
Have your passports current in plenty of time. U.S. citizens are required to have a passport for visiting any destination outside of the United States. This includes Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, by land, sea or by air. Existing passports must be valid for at least 8 months beyond your return date to the U.S. For more destination wedding passport information U.S. citizens may visit http://travel.state.gov. (SAFETY TIP: Passport information is constantly being changed or updated so be sure to go right to the source and visit the US Government's website!)
TO RECON OR NOT TO RECON
Depending on your comfort level of selecting a place sight unseen, most planning can be done remotely with your planner. But if you have the time and budget, visiting your chosen wedding destination-even for a couple of business days- to accomplish the foundation of your event like securing the ideal spot, meeting key vendors (maybe the person who will perform the ceremony) trying out a hair stylist, tasting the menu, will be a huge plus in your planning. Be sure to create [or have your planner do it] advance appointments for as many details as possible. Hire a planner who will be available to do this advance trip with you. Back at home, selecting invitations, music and working out the details can all be done from your computer and cell phone with the help of a qualified wedding planning expert.
SAVE THE DATE [and LOCATION!]
Once you’ve settled on your exciting destination and booked the venue and reserved some accommodations, send your save the dates with as much information as possible to help your friends and family plan their travel.
A wedding [we love http://www.WeddingWindow.com] is invaluable for allowing guests to retrieve all information and check for updates and post comments. A wedding website with weather, things to do, best places to stay if not staying at the same location as the wedding, helpful travel tips, contact information to a travel agent and your wedding planner, and the only place to note your registry information.
DON’T FORGET THE LAW
Passports currently take 3 to 4 weeks to issue so don’t delay. And remember international laws are different and could require you to arrive far in advance to complete blood work for a marriage license. Do your homework here.
LET YOUR PLANNER DO THEIR JOB
The easiest way to plan a destination wedding is to simply push speed dial and connect to your planner and allow them to handle all the details for you! That’s what they’re there for and they love what they do! A wedding planner is your ticket to confidence and calm.
An experienced wedding planner always knows more possible scenarios based on their past experiences and therefore will know how to direct meetings and walk-throughs, and will know exactly what questions to ask. REMEMBER: You don't know what you don't know. An experienced and knowledgeable wedding planner will know how to gracefully hold and keep the entire team accountable for their contracted services including the upgrades or modifications agreed on post contract. And getting the incredible destination wedding you wanted, where you wanted it, with a great time had by all is always a good deal – and who doesn’t want to go there?
HOT TIP: One undeniable fact is that HOTEL AND VENDOR CONTACTS WILL ‘TALK SHOP’ WITH A WEDDING PLANNER more candidly and openly then they will with a client/bride. They may also MAKE DEALS they wouldn’t normally make since a planner represents more overall business to them.
Oh and don't forget to book SheWanders Photography to perfectly capture your wedding (as you can see from all the images in this article) they just loooooove to travel!