Destination Wedding Planning Tips

13 Must-Read Destination Wedding Planning Tips

TRADE SECRETS

13 Must-Read Tips for Planning a Destination Wedding

Don’t book your wedding away until you’ve checked these things off your wedding-planning checklist

Luxury Destination Wedding Planner Linda Mitchell

WHO Linda Mitchell, Founder of Luxury Destination Travel

WHAT A luxury travel specialist for destination weddings & honeymoons

WHERE Everywhere

Thinking that a wedding weekend in paradise, Europe or another favorite vacation spot is the way to go for your big day? Flying off to wed out of town is becoming more and more common, but planning a destination wedding can be just as stressful and even more complicated as a wedding in the Big Apple.

You have the added to-do’s of hotel accommodations for your entire wedding guest list, transportation to and from the airport, multiple pre- and post-wedding events, and if you’re getting married internationally there are different laws for obtaining a marriage license in every country, so you need to review them and make sure you meet those requirements. (Some countries, like France, require a couple live there for a few days to a month!)

So where do you start?

Linda Mitchell

First decide if a destination wedding is right for you. Find out if all your key relatives and closest friends can make it. If you want grandma and grandpa to be there, make sure they’re okay to fly. Do you have any pregnant guests that may not come because of Zika fears? Check with the CDC to see what countries are still a no-go for women who are trying to get pregnant or who are pregnant. And make sure that there are vendors who fit both your style wishes and budget locally, otherwise you’ll have to fly in vendors (florists, band/DJ, photographer, etc.) from the U.S. and their air and hotel costs will be added on top of their standard rate.

“One in four couples is having a destination wedding,” says Linda Mitchell, Owner of Luxury Destination Travel. “Traveling to a dreamy location and spending fun-filled days and exciting evenings with your family and friends is the most exciting way to celebrate your special day.”

Once you’ve decided to have a destination wedding, pick the location, and even if you’ve visited there before book a trip and don’t be afraid to let people know you’re there scouting for your wedding. You may get the royal treatment and scores some freebies along the way to help you make your decision. “Looking at the destination and potential venues through the lens of a wedding is different than choosing a place to vacation,” explains Linda. “Look at it for the experiences you will have and for the ease and convenience of travel for you and your guests.”

When you find the destination and hotel (or other venue, such as a villa), work with a travel planner (or agent) who specializes in destination wedding travel, who understands the specific needs involved with coordinating travel for dozens of guests, activities and amenities for all ages. They’ll also be able to negotiate the best rates and coordinate everyone’s arrival and departure details. Linda recommends selecting a host hotel, where everyone can stay together.

Disclaimer: A destination wedding travel planner is different than a wedding planner who works on destination weddings. Your destination wedding travel planner will negotiate rates and coordinate all the travel plans for you and your guests, while your destination wedding planner will help find vendors and work with you to bring your wedding vision to life.

Remember that while this is your wedding weekend, for your guests it’s a vacation weekend, so ensure that they feel like they are on one. Either via your wedding website or a custom welcome gift, share with them local information, activities and services available to them. You can always have your destination wedding travel planner be their point person throughout their planning process and trip, who can answer all of their questions so you don’t have to. It will be one less stress trigger for you to deal with.

LINDA’S TRADE SECRETS

  • Many international destinations now require that your U.S. passport is valid for no less than 6 months of your travel dates. Remind your guests to renew their passport if it will expire 9 months before they’re leaving for your wedding, or they may not be allowed to take off.
  • Find out if your credit card offers travel insurance as a benefit, or buy some for your trip just in case an unforeseen circumstance arises.
  • If you have connectivity issue at the airport, screenshot your boarding pass before leaving home so you don’t have to rely on an email download or an airline app. You can also print your boarding pass as a backup.
  • Avoid added scrutiny at security by not over packing your carry-on bag. If it’s too dense for the scanner to read you will be pulled aside for a hand check.
  • Check with the airline months before your flight on their policy on traveling with a wedding gown. With less available carry-on storage space, airlines are now eliminating the option to bring your gown on a hanger. They may require you to pack your dress in a carry-on bag, so have it professionally packed in a large box of suitcase.

Traveling to a dreamy location and spending fun-filled days and exciting evenings with your family and friends is the most exciting way to celebrate your special day. —Linda

Luxury Destination Wedding Planner Linda Mitchell

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