From exchanging vows on a tropical beach to celebrating with family and friends in a European city, the idea of a destination wedding presents unlimited options. Ten percent of all couples get married away from home, but it’s not all plane tickets and passports — planning a destination wedding requires a certain know-how. Here are a few surprise tips that will help make your destination wedding the day of your dreams.
1. Residency Rule
Many countries require couples to spend some time there before tying the knot. These requirements range from no big deal (a couple days in the Caribbean) to more serious (France’s six-week residency rule).
2. Give Serious Notice
Wedding planners suggest mailing your save-the-date announcements and wedding invitations at least eight months in advance. This allows your guests to arrange for airfare and accommodations ahead of time. Experts also recommend creating a website detailing any questions guests may have related to their travel.
3. Hire Cars
Instead of making your family and friends schlepp all over town, hire cars to pick them up at the airport and safely transport them to their hotels. Traveling can be a huge hassle — especially international travel. This is a small gesture guests are sure to appreciate.
4. Fly in Your Pros
Depending on where you’re getting hitched, it may be tricky to find reliable photographers, hair stylists and makeup artists. If you bring your own, you’ll be working with professionals you trust.
5. Arrive Early
Arrive at your hotel at least a few days before your guests do so you can customize welcome gift baskets and stock their rooms with anything they may need — maps, favors, a bottle of wine, sunscreen.
6. Pay Attention to Details
Wedding planners suggest meeting with as many people involved in the wedding as possible, including the officiant, the photographer and the caterer. Inspect the accommodations and rehearsal-dinner and ceremony sites.
7. Stay Calm and Flexible
The bride’s energy will impact everyone. Things may not always go as planned — especially if you are in a foreign country — but roll with any changes, schedule a time each day to do yoga and keep a relaxed state.
8. Factor in Exchange Rate
Even though destination weddings seem cheaper than getting hitched at home (especially if you live in a major U.S. city such as New York or San Francisco), you’ll need to factor in the exchange rate. Always convert prices into dollars to get a better idea of what you’ll be spending.
9. Create a Pinterest Board to Communicate Your Vision
When you’re planning a destination wedding, you’ll be communicating your vision to a lot of different people. Descriptions can be subjective, down to color shades and cake patterns. By creating a Pinterest board, you’ll have something to show and share.
10. Leave a Personal Note
Your guests are traveling a great distance to watch your special day. It’s advisable to greet them with a hand-written personal note at check-in. If you’re short on time, you can work with a calligrapher.
Andrea Kasprzak is a writer. She's fascinated by the imagination, folklore and fantasy, the healing power of art, and finding magic in the mundane. Her playbook, Imagination Transforms Everything, is forthcoming this spring from Seal Press/Hachette Book Group.