Top 10 planning tips
Combining your wedding vows with an idyllic honeymoon venue provides the simplicity of one coordinated wedding-honeymoon package. Here are some tips to help you plan your ideal wedding destination.
Think it through with your partner and family. Ask lots of questions. Compare the price of getting married at home and going on honeymoon overseas with a combined destination wedding-honeymoon package. Do you want a small wedding or a large one? Check our tips on Honeymoons and Destination Weddings for more information.
Where to go and who’s to pay?
Once you’ve chosen your destination and wedding package and agreed on a budget, you’ll be in a better position to decide on how much you can spend on guest expenses.
How many guests are you planning to invite and who will pay for what? How long do you want your guests to stay at your destination? What elements of the wedding can you afford to pay for – transport, accommodation, food, entertainment or just the ceremony and reception?
Talk to your travel consultant about possible group discounts. Pass on this information to your prospective guests and let them know what you can or cannot pay for so they can make an informed decision on whether to join you or not.
Where to stay?
Unless you plan to elope to a romantic island hideaway, consider your guests when choosing a resort or hotel. An adults-only resort on a remote Fijian island may be exactly what you want, but what about your relatives and all their children who want to join you at the ceremony?
It’s important for all your guests to be comfortable with the resort and destination. If this poses a problem perhaps consider your quests staying at a resort close by.
Informing your guests in advance
Let your friends and family know in good time so they can start planning for your wedding. They may need to request time off work or to save money. Be understanding of those people who may not be able to join you either as a result of time or financial constraints. Remember to let guests know of your post-wedding plans before they make reservations.
Invest in a wedding coordinator
Unless your local wedding coordinator has extensive experience of your destination (and many do), plan to hire a wedding coordinator/planner from the destination.
This can simplify your planning process as this person will be knowledgeable about local vendors and marriage procedures. Usually the resort of your choice will be able to recommend good people they have worked with in the past, or even better, the resort may have their own in-house coordinator.
Whatever you do, make sure your coordinator has easy access to the internet – e-mails are cheaper than international phone calls. While you may have the wedding ceremony planned to the last second in your mind, ask your coordinator for suggestions. Often a local custom or tradition can be incorporated to make your destination wedding even more memorable.
Hot deals and special offers
Ask your travel consultant to check airfares and accommodation rates on wedding packages at the resorts located in your chosen destination.
Certain times of the year may be less expensive than others and often resorts and hotels will offer special deals for reasons you may not be aware off. Give your travel consultant a rough idea of how many guests may accompany you; numbers count when negotiating discounts.
Overseas marriage rules and regulations
Everybody is different and so too are countries when it comes to regulations on getting married. Check our destination guide panels for specific information on rules and regulations on getting married in each location.
Check this before booking just in case there are any problems you would prefer to avoid. Procedures on obtaining a marriage license do vary from country to country but generally are not that onerous to obtain.
Once you’ve selected a resort, don’t be afraid to email them and ask for information. The resort wedding coordinator should know all the laws and any recent changes that may affect you.
What to bring?
Perhaps large presents are best sent to your home or left with your parents rather than taken to your wedding destination. If you really need certain bridal items, make the most of your airline baggage allowances; ask family and friends to carry items for you. Bridesmaid gifts could possibly be bought locally.
Plan to arrive early
To meet local regulations you may need to arrive at your destination a day or two before your wedding ceremony. Use this time to finalise any last minute details with your wedding coordinator, visit your ceremony site and get to know any local customs you plan to incorporate in your ceremony. This will also give you time to relax before guests start arriving.
A fun surprise for your guests when they arrive at their hotel room and a nice way to thank them for flying out to your wedding. Pack a few goodies, such as drink and food snacks – possibly even a half-bottle of sparkling wine if your budget allows, or perhaps include a local souvenir. Remember it’s the thought that counts!
Once the ceremony and reception are over make sure your honeymoon doesn’t drift into a family vacation. This is your time now! If you are all staying at the same resort for the wedding, then plan to relocate to a resort nearby for your honeymoon. If this isn’t an option schedule time to be alone – take excursions or dinners by yourselves.