We love nothing more than a destination wedding here at Just Bespoke but fully understand the complex nature of planning a wedding overseas. As well as all the pretty, there are numerous logistics to manage as well as different cultures, languages and legalities. To help you along the way, we thought we would impart our knowledge and share some of our top tips if you planning on hosting your celebrations abroad.
1. Venue Viewing
Before selected your wedding venue, it is really important that you shortlist a number of potential venues which fit your requirements and then make a trip to visit them in person. We would always recommend visiting 3-5 venues as sometimes places are not as you imagined, and you will always get a much better feel for a destination in the flesh. If you are working with a wedding planner, they will accompany you on site visits in order to advise you on logistics, layouts and styling options going forward. Going to visit a venue will enable you to get a feel for a place and also aid you when making decisions about your day later on. At each venue, be sure to take lots of photos and videos which you can refer back to later.
And remember, you will likely need to visit your chosen wedding venue at least one more time before the wedding itself for your food tasting. It is a good idea to schedule your other meetings at this time also to avoid the need for additional visits.
2. Guest List
Think carefully about who you want to invite to join you in your celebrations and make sure you send out Save the Dates at least 8 – 10 months before the wedding to give your guests as much notice as possible to enable them to attend and to work out the various finances involved.
Be sure to give guests plenty of information in advance so that they have adequate time to prepare. If you don’t plan on sending a weekend itinerary along with your invitation, we recommend setting up a wedding website as soon as possible with additional information to include details on flights and accommodations, attire at each event, transportation options, and things to do in the local area so that they can extend their stay if they wish. If you have a planner, it is useful to include their details on the website so that guests can contact them directly to ask additional questions.
Purchase flight tickets as soon as they are available and recommend your guests to do the same! Flight prices can change drastically overnight and the last thing you want is to be paying twice the amount on a ticket because you waited. Try to book your tickets at least six months before departure to find the best value when travelling overseas.
5. Accommodation Options
Always provide at least two accommodation options for your guests and be sure to choose a location that has other hotel options close by. It is worth contacting hotels to see if they can provide group rates for bulk bookings in order to negotiate a discounted room rate for your guests.
6. Legal Ceremony
If you want to marry overseas it is extremely important to check the legal requirements for that country. Every country has different rules when it comes to getting married. For example, some places require residency for a number of weeks or months to be eligible for a legal ceremony. Your wedding planner will be able to guide you on this. Many couples choose to have a legal ceremony at home and a symbolic blessing on the day. Here at Just Bespoke we have organised legal weddings in both Italy and Portugal and happily guide our clients through the process to make it stress-free.
Unless you opt to marry in a big city, high quality suppliers will be more limited and you will need to do your research to find the right people to deliver on your requirements. Whilst it may seem expensive to bring in suppliers from the UK, sometimes that added peace of mind is worth its weight in gold.
For example,…Photographer – Your photos are a memory that you will have forever, you wouldn’t want a language barrier to prevent you from having the perfect images. If you opt for a local photographer meet them face to face and where possible arrange an engagement shoot.
DJ/Band – An overseas DJ/Bands idea of “pop music” could be quite different from yours. A local band may have a very different style to that which are familiar with from a UK/London Band. If you find a local DJ or band who fit your requirements, make sure you make sample playlists that demonstrate your taste in music to ensure there is no miscommunication. We would strongly recommend flying a band out to your Destination Wedding. Their performance is imperative to a full dancefloor.
8. Book extra luggage
You will always need to take more than you realise so make sure you book extra luggage when you book your flight tickets so that there is no last-minute panic just before you fly. It is cheaper to book this in advance than at the airport so bear this in mind.
Think carefully about your wedding day timings as the day will not flow in the same way as a UK wedding. Most notably, you will need to think about the heat and what impact this will have on the time of your ceremony. Most European weddings happen a lot later in the afternoon in order to avoid the midday sun.
10. Enlist Expert Help
Destination weddings are amazing because you can spend an entire weekend with friends and family, but there are significantly more logistics involved. We would always recommend using a planner for a Destination Wedding to ensure that instead of spending hours on phone calls trying to overcome language barriers, you can relax and enjoy the occasion, stress free.
So, there you have it. Our quick round up of some top tips for planning your own Destination Wedding.
If you are thinking of getting married abroad and think you may benefit from some professional help we would love to hear from you so, do get in touch so we can discuss your plans!
Image 1 // Leo Patrone Photography
Image 2 // Algarve Weddings By Rebecca via Pinterest
Image 3 // Papel & Co
Image 4 // Style Me Pretty
Image 5 // Megan Wynn
Image 6 // Facibeni Fotografi
Image 7 // Tamara Gruner Photography
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