Photo by Natasha Fernandez via Pexels

How to Plan a Destination Wedding: 5 Things Nobody Tells You

August 26, 2022

by breanna howell, guest contributor

A destination wedding can be incredibly romantic and just as fun. You're going to be saying your "I do's" in an exotic location. You get to enjoy a vacation getaway with close friends and family. Plus, you’re able to start your honeymoon as soon as possible. Undoubtedly, it's easy to get caught up in the excitement of it all, which can cause you to overlook some stuff that could cause headaches and sleepless nights that you can't afford. You may even end up spending more than you plan to. To ensure that your planning runs smoothly and you get the wedding of your dreams, we’ve listed a few important details that nobody tells you about.

Finding vendors and local wedding planners

Finding vendors that are local to your destination isn't going to be easy. Ideally, you would take at least one trip to your chosen location to meet and check out venues as well as potential vendors. While you can check out your options online, it's nothing compared to getting firsthand experience of their services. If it's possible, you should take a second trip (ideally, three to four months before the wedding) to finalize the details such as tasting the food and the cake. If not, you can arrive several days before the wedding to make last-minute decisions and test your hair and makeup.

To make things more convenient for you, you can hire a local planner who is more in-the-know about which vendors will suit your plans best. One of the main advantages of hiring a local wedding planner is that they coordinate with all the vendors without any worries about time differences and language barriers. Having their expertise on hand will definitely help make wedding planning a lot less stressful. A local wedding planner will also be able to handle any last-minute details while you're busy enjoying the beautiful location.

Pro-tip: If you can't find a local wedding planner that fits your budget, you can look for a hotel or resort that has a good on-site coordinator.

International Payments & Currency Exchange Rates

Obviously, you'll need to pay the locals using the currency of your destination country. While you might be aware of the current conversion rate, you may not have considered the fact that it is not constant - it continuously fluctuates. This is why it's important to keep an eye on the exchange rate as you plan your wedding to keep your expenses within budget.

Aside from the exchange rate, you will also need to keep in mind the tax rate of the destination country. For example, the standard VAT rate in France is 20%. Make sure that your overall budget includes the VAT. Most vendors aren't likely to include this in their estimates.

Traveling With Your Wedding Essentials

Since you're going to be jetting off to an exotic location, you'll need to transport a lot of your wedding items such as your wedding dress, wedding and engagement rings, and other essentials. Because there's a risk of your luggage getting lost, experts recommend that you ship most of your wedding essentials if your venue is a plane ride away. While this will cost you extra, it helps you avoid issues at the airport. Of course, two wedding items that should never leave your sight are your wedding rings and the dress. Take note that you will be charged an extra fee for carrying your wedding dress on the plane.

Guest Count, RSVPs, and Their Costs

Generally, around 30% to 50% of the people you invited to your destination wedding will decline. However, it is still prudent to overestimate your guest count so that you don't end up having more guests than your venue can accommodate.

Now, before you send the invites out, you need to give your guests enough time to consider if they will be attending your wedding. While regular wedding invitations are usually sent 2 months before the wedding, destination wedding invitations should be sent out at least 3 months ahead of time. Plan on sending out save-the-dates six to eight months in advance to give your guests plenty of time to plan their trip to the wedding.

Because travel and accommodations are rarely covered by the couple, they might not be able to decide right away. Most likely won't RSVP until after the deadline has passed. You may need to remind them a few times to respond to your invite.

Transportation & Accommodation

As we've already mentioned, you're not obliged to pay for their travel and accommodation expenses. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't consider how much it will cost them to attend your wedding. Make sure to provide them with several places to stay that fall under a wide range of prices. This way, your guests can choose which accommodation fits their budget best. In addition, you can help your guests look for group flight deals that will help them save on airfare.

It’s All About Saying Your I Do’s

There's only so much planning you can do before your big day. Regardless of what happens, the most important thing to keep in mind is that your destination wedding is all about you and your partner. Saying your "I do's" in an exotic location is simply the icing on your wedding cake.

Guest Writer

Breanna Howell is the public relations specialist at Claremont Diamonds living her dream of promoting positive public awareness of the company. As a freelance blogger and mom of two millennials, she's also passionate about providing inspiration and support to everyone on their journey to a fantastic marriage.

Guest writers are an important part of Simply Family Magazine. Do you want to write for us? Click here!

related articles: