Destination weddings are always a memorable affair. After all, there’s no better way to celebrate your nuptials than by inviting loved ones to enjoy a weekend – or better yet, a whole week – exploring a new city or country together, creating an experience you and your guests will cherish for a lifetime. Exquisitely Dunn by Kayla Marie has the scoop on what it takes to pull off an exquisite fête anywhere!
Kayla’s 6 Steps to Planning an Exquisite Destination Wedding
Consider your guests before you start planning.
Choosing your location is more than just picking the prettiest spot you can find. It’s everyone’s dream to select a destination that you hold dear to your heart from past memories, or a place that you have always dreamed of visiting. But you also want to make sure it is feasible for your guests to get there. Be sure to think about where all of your guests will stay. Are there enough accommodations and amenities for your guests at a variety of price points? Due to the expense and distance, a destination wedding can whittle your guest list down to your core group of friends and family rather quickly. If you want a large destination wedding, you'll want to pick a location that’s easy to get to. For smaller weddings, you can pick locations that are more remote.
Put in some legwork.
Be prepared to do in-person research. Pictures and videos online can be beautiful, but it’s worth the investment of time and money to visit the site in person. You’ll have much more confidence in what you’ve chosen if you have a chance to familiarize yourself with your options. I usually take three trips with my couples or bride throughout the planning process. The first trip is the site inspection and to choose the location. The second, to do tastings, review design boards, and figure out layouts and floor plans. The third, which could be done a few days before the event, is to finalize everything prior to guests arriving.
Work with a pro.
Investing in a full-service planner to help you plan your destination wedding is the best thing you can do to ensure a flawless and stress-free celebration. Planning a local wedding requires a lot of time; but taking things thousands of miles away requires a different set of skills that are best left to professionals. It’s crucial to have an experienced event planner on-board before you make any decisions about where you will host your event. With different time zones, a language barrier, and thousands of miles between you and your venue, communication is key.
Know your destination.
If you are getting married in a foreign country, you must understand what the legal requirements are for marriages in that region/country. Knowing whether the country you’ve chosen allows religious ceremonies outside of a house of worship, the house of worship’s requirements to hold a ceremony there, and the marriage license requirements are all things we help you navigate. Having knowledge of your destination’s stormy seasons and extreme temperature months are also key when selecting your wedding date.
Embrace the setting.
Take advantage of the scenery! Incorporate local décor, music, and florals into your events, and select local gifts or foods to fully immerse your guests in the destination. Activities are everything in a destination wedding. You want your guests to embrace the culture and experience the main attractions of the location, so provide them with interesting activities throughout the weekend. Roll out the red carpet for your guests by giving them options and by providing transportation during their stay. Still, be careful about over-planning – your guests will want some downtime, as this may be their only vacation of the year. Do not take it personally if they want to experience some of the local attractions alone.
Information is priceless.
A well-informed guest is a happy guest. Communicating information to your guests is the most important part of planning a destination wedding. Make sure you have the schedule of events presented to them early and often. Share any special pricing codes for hotels, suggest the easiest flight routes, pass along any information regarding health advisories, and be explicit about dress codes for any events so that guests may pack appropriately. From the save-the-date, to the website, to the welcome bags, clear and concise information is imperative for you to have a weekend that flows easily.