Is a destination wedding really right for you? Will it work for your particular guestlist and wants for your dream wedding? Well if you ask yourselves these 10 questions, you will find the answer. Let's dive in!
1. Can you even have a destination wedding?
This is the question in everyone's minds as the travel and wedding industry have halted in a way they never have before. It is tough to imagine a world without these two things, and yet here we all are. For 2021 and the future going forth, however, is a destination wedding even possible? Well we address this in this video here on our YouTube channel so do check that out if you are worried about the possibility of marrying abroad due to the current pandemic.
2. Where are you thinking of getting married?
It sounds like a very obvious point but in fact, having clarity on where you are thinking of hosting your destination wedding is paramount to understanding whether you can get married abroad and all of the other questions in this article. You may have a clear idea but if you are anything like me, you have been to many places that could be great candidates for your upcoming nuptials. Figure this one out and it'll help answer the rest of the questions here.
Photo by Piteira Photography
3. Have you given yourselves enough time?
"Enough time" is a subjective term because even amongst wedding planners, we disagree as to what the ideal amount of time for wedding planning would be. It largely depends on the amount of work that needs to be done, and how much time you have as a couple to devote to the wedding planning process. The ideal, in my opinion, is around 12months of active planning to have a smooth ride the whole way through and progress at a leisurely pace. If you want to plan a destination wedding in 3 or 6 months, and you are a couple who is very time poor, I suggest hiring a wedding planner or getting married in your home country instead.
4. Can you afford it?
Most assume that getting married abroad will always be cheaper but I have debunked this many times. When you factor in pre wedding trips, flights, accommodation, touristy stuff, exchange rates and transfer fees etc etc, you are likely to end up spending what you would have looked to spend in your home country. That said, your money may stretch further than it would as a home wedding so it is worth devising a sensible budget for yourselves and sticking to it. Make sure your research heavily into the cost of things. Also avoid the Pinterest effect!
Photo by Marni V Photography
5. Can you handle the extra logistics?
Purely the fact of flying abroad, booking hotels for yourselves and guests, coordinating everything at a distance and handling most of your wedding planning via email has its unique challenges. The logistics of destination wedding planning can be tenfold that of a home wedding. And I should know! I started my career doing weddings in England for local couples and transitioned into weddings in Portugal for overseas couples. My workload and considerations are night and day from home weddings to destination weddings. These extra logistics are particularly challenging when planning alone, which brings us onto my next question...
6. Do you want a destination wedding planner?
A wedding planner is not for everybody and I famously don't believe that everyone needs one. For some it is out of their means. For some, they just love the planning process themselves! However, if you want the extra support of a true expert on your side, contact some wedding planners in your chosen wedding country, or international planners near you, and start the search for your perfect destination wedding planner.
Photo by Piteira Photography
7. Is it feasible for your guests?
This is a key topic and one that must not be overlooked.
Is the country you chose within their means to afford flights and accommodation?
Will you be subsidising any of this for guests?
Do you guests even like to travel?
These are big questions and potentially ones that could rule out a destination wedding entirely. If your guests are not willing to travel or don't have the means, perhaps it is better to have an elopement abroad and a party at home.
8. Can you legally marry in your chosen country?
This may not be a factor for you at all. Many couples opt to legally register their marriage in their home countries to save them the rigmarole of potentially mountains of paperwork and slow moving bureaucracy. If you do want a legal wedding abroad, however, you'll need to do your research thoroughly and completely. Also be sure to research whether your particular religious ceremony can be carried out in your chosen country too, as a blessing or as a legally binding service.
Photo by Marni V Photography
9. Have you researched local customs and beliefs that could affect you and your guests?
This question is paramount to people of colour, religious people and LGBTQ+ community. You want to make sure that you will be well received and looked after in your chosen wedding country. This is not only important for you as a couple but also for your guests. You don't want instances of cultural bigotry ruining your wedding celebrations!
10. Can you face all of the obstacles?
When destination wedding planning, you can encounter all sorts.
- time differences
- jet lag
- fluctuating exchange rates
- language barriers
- slow response times
- poor customer service
This shouldn't stop you having the wedding of your dreams, but you need to be prepared for all of these to potentially get under your skin. In your heart of hearts, if a wedding abroad is the dream for you, take it on the chin and make it work!
I hope you found this guide helpful. Please do share with anyone who needs to hear this!