Destination Wedding Planning 101- Where to begin?
Planning a Destination Wedding isn't always as easy as it may sound. The biggest hurdle for many couples is choosing the right destination and resort. Some couples are blessed in that they know exactly when & where they want to marry. However, many come to me essentially a 'blank slate', total newbies in the game, or somewhere in between. This is the fun part of my job - counseling my couples towards choosing the perfect destination and hotel to host their Destination Wedding in paradise.
Here is my advice to the newbies and somewhere-in-betweeners:
It is important to remember that in the world of wedding planning, compromise is a very important word. As with planning a wedding at home, planning a destination wedding is full of compromises made by the bride & groom-to-be in order to find that special location you will be dreaming of for the many months ahead to your wedding day.
I like to start by asking my couples: What is most important to you when choosing your destination? I ask them to create a short list of the top 5 key decision makers and/or breakers. For example:
- Ease of wedding planning: Virtually all hotels now have an on-site wedding coordinator. However, the communication level from one to another can drastically vary. If the bride is planning on being 'hands-on' in the wedding planning process, I advise they couple look for a resort that has an excellent reputation for their wedding department.
- Is budget most important? The cost of the travel package can potentially sway some invited guests from coming to the wedding if they themselves are on a budget. However, the B&G also need to remember that this is their wedding day (and wedding week for that matter!) - stretching the budget just a little might make the difference between a good hotel and a great hotel!
- Ease of travel: I most recommend couples try to choose a destination that is serviced with direct flights from their home city and that of their guests, if at all possible. Why spend more time travelling than necessary, when you can be in destination enjoying a cocktail in the hot hot sun? Also, groups tend to have a diverse range of travellers, from babies & small children to the mobile-challenged, to those who may never have travelled before…a direct flight will be most welcomed by them!
- What are you looking for in your destination & hotel of choice? Is a gorgeous beach of utmost importance? Are there a lot of 'foodies' in your group? An excellent Kids Club? Or do you prefer an Adults-Only resort? Do you like a larger hotel with lots of facilities and space, or a smaller boutique hotel?
There is probably more to think about with planning a Destination Wedding than you may have originally thought, but if you take the time to talk it out together before you sit down with your Destination Wedding Specialist already having an idea of your wants & needs is going to take a lot of stress off of you and will help pave the way to a seamless process of planning your dream wedding day!
Photos courtesy of Moments That Matter Photography.