How To Plan A Destination Wedding
You’ve dreamed of saying “I do” on a tropical beach – and now it’s time to make that dream a reality. Planning a wedding from afar is totally different from planning a wedding near where you live. Not only are you less familiar with the area, you can’t rely on recommendations from friends and family for any of your vendor choices. And then there are all the travel arrangements. But planning a destination wedding can be fun and exciting, too. After everything is said and done, you’re getting on a plane to say the most important sentence of your life. And you’ve got a vacation to enjoy at the same time! What could be better? Here are some things to consider when planning a destination wedding, in Los Angeles or beyond.
Think about the guest experience. Your guests are traveling for your wedding – so try to make the trip fun and enjoyable for them. Choose a wedding location that has easy access to accommodations. If it’s close to the airport, even better! And try to choose a location for people to stay that’s near entertainment. You’re going to be busy, and not everyone will be invited to things like the rehearsal dinner – so giving them something to do is a considerate move.
- Make welcome bags. Having the hotel provide welcome bags to your guests is a sweet and thoughtful touch. It’s a great way to get information and an itinerary to your guests, but it’s also a way to put a truly personal spin on the event by including favorite snacks of the couple, or fun gifts. For beach weddings, that could be flip-flops or sunglasses, or even monogrammed beach towels.
- Research the location as much as you can. Are there local customs your guests should be aware of? Cell phone service issues? Currency conversion? Giving people as much information will help them have a stress-free trip.
- Find out if there are special considerations about getting married there. If you’re planning to have your ceremony in a foreign country and you’re an American citizen, you’re going to need to get married in the US before you leave. Even with domestic locations, make sure to look into how to obtain your marriage license in advance – especially check on any waiting periods.
- Make Skype dates with your vendors. Just because you can’t be there in person to hand-select vendors doesn’t mean you can’t get face time with them. Ask to video chat with potential vendors so that you can get a true sense of their work and their style.
- Use a wedding planner. You can approach this two ways: working with a planner at your destination, or working with one who’s local to you. While a wedding planner who’s local to the area can make vendor recommendations and give advice on transportation logistics, a planner who’s in your own time zone can also be invaluable. She can handle the research, coordinate with vendors and travel with you to be your point of contact during the trip – and because you’re able to meet in person and work closely together, she’ll fully understand your vision for your big day. Either way: having someone handling the tiny details is a lifesaver.