Whether you are in the process of planning your destination wedding or getting ready to travel for the big event, there are some important things to remember.
A destination wedding is meant to be a wonderful escape for couples and guests alike. As destination wedding travel specialists, we know a thing or two about getting the event and travel arrangements just right, so we’ve compiled some of our top tips to ensure everyone has the best trip possible.
Top 10 Tips for Destination Weddings
1. Hire a Pro
As travel agents, we may be a little biased here, but the key to a successful event is to hire a successful professional with good reviews. Since we specialize in destination weddings, we are there every step of the way to make the experience stress-free and easy for you. From reserving the airline and resort space to handling all guest reservations and communicating with the on-site resort wedding coordinator, your travel agent should be your number one contact.
2. Symbolic vs. Ceremonial
Having an official, ceremonial wedding in a foreign country can be tricky. There are many requirements to legally get married in a foreign country including tedious paperwork (usually in the native language of said country), blood tests, arriving a certain amount of time before the ceremony, etc.
It’s best to get married legally in the U.S. and then have a symbolic ceremony in the chosen destination. This still allows you to celebrate your special day in a beautiful destination without having to worry about the legality and paperwork of it all.
3. Consider the Ceremony Time
A detail that is often overlooked, planning your ceremony for the optimal time of day is important if you don’t want to be roasting in the hot, beachy sun. If you have your heart set on a beach front wedding, consider a time closer to sunset. Not only will the views be spectacular, but you and your guests will be able to enjoy the ceremony without dripping in sweat. This, of course, is the most popular time of day so some advanced planning will be required. If early or mid-afternoon is more your style, opt for a gazebo or terrace location for added shade and comfort.
4. Time of Year
Of course, as with all travel, the time of year that you choose to celebrate your destination wedding matters. Hurricane season, especially effecting the Caribbean and the Gulf Coast of Mexico, is from June to November with peak season being August-October. While resort and airline pricing may be lower during this time, it could result in interrupted travel plans. However, added savings for guests could also result in more guests being able to take part in the celebrations.
Peak destination wedding season is generally May-August so a fair amount of advanced planning is highly recommended if your chosen dates fall during this time.
5. Visit in Advance
Couples may decide to go down to visit the resort prior to officially booking their wedding. This is advisable because it gives you the opportunity to meet with the wedding planner, see the venues, and know for sure that it’s the right fit for your dream day. Most resorts will offer discounted site inspection rates, comped rooms, or even a complimentary wedding package if you book the resort after your site inspection. And who doesn’t want an excuse for a few extra days in paradise!
6. Consider Your Guest’s Budget
While you may have a lavish resort in mind, your guest’s budget may say otherwise. If you want many people to be included in the special celebration it’s important to take everyone’s budget into consideration when looking at resorts and destinations. There is a resort for every budget available in Mexico and Caribbean so options are seemingly limitless. With a travel agent’s expertise, we will be able to find a resort that works for the entire guest list and, of course, checks all of your boxes!
7. Looking to Save Money?
The answer to that one is easy.. invite more guests! Many resorts offer discounts, comped room nights, and complimentary wedding packages for couples that fill a certain number of rooms or room nights within their party. So, the more people that come, the more you save!
8. Always have a Plan B
Stuff happens. That’s a fact, but there’s no reason to not be prepared, especially for such a momentous occasion. Tropical destinations are known for quick passing showers that dry up in the sun within minutes, but if there is a bigger storm heading in you will want to ensure that another venue has been secured. If your ceremony or reception was planned as an outdoor event, be sure to work with your wedding coordinator to have a secondary indoor venue ready to go if it’s needed.
9. Treat your Guests
Guests of destination weddings are there to celebrate you while enjoying the destination, but it’s important to show them your appreciation as well. Many couples choose to include a small welcome gift in each room for their guest’s arrival. Gift ideas include small sundry kits with sunscreen and bug repellant, a bottle of prosecco, monogrammed cups for the all-inclusive bars, or reusable straws to help save on plastic at the resort.
10. Always Carry-On the Wedding Dress
You arrive to your destination and your bag does not. We’ve all either experienced this nightmare or feared it. Now imagine having your wedding dress in that lost bag. Bottom line, never check your wedding dress—it could fly to Houston while you’re heading to Jamaica! If you carry on your wedding dress in a garment bag, flight attendants will be happy to hang it up for you in their in-flight closet space. Better to be safe than sorry!
Contact the Destination Wedding Specialists!
The expert travel agents at Sunset Travel & Cruise can help you plan your destination wedding, effortlessly! We have insider information and special deals you won’t find anywhere else, and our agents speak Spanish to make communication with resorts easy in every way! Contact us today for a free consultation.
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