8 Tips For Planning A Stress Free Destination Wedding
We can’t recommend a destination wedding enough! The scenery is gorgeous, your photos are going to be amazing, you get to share the new culture & experience with all of your loved ones and you actually get to connect with your family and friends during this special time in your life!
Having a destination wedding had been our dream since long before we were engaged and now that we’ve actually been through the entire process, are happily married on the other side & have watched friends/coworkers go through their own planning processes for the big day… we’re 1000% convinced that it was the best decision of our lives. Zero stress. Gorgeous scenery. Unforgettable quality time with ALL of our guests.
If you’re thinking about doing a destination wedding, do it. If you’ve already decided that’s the route for you and your significant others big day, here are some tips that should help keep your stress levels low and ensure your destination wedding goes off without a hitch!
8 TIPS FOR PLANNING A STRESS FREE DESTINATION WEDDING
Your first step in the planning process should be to find a travel agent and location. Honestly, I don’t know how we would have pulled this all together if it wasn’t for our travel agent, Amy. From loading us with hotel options to choose from to negotiating on our behalf to get us into the only resort we wanted when they weren’t initially willing to accommodate our guest list to taking the lead on all of the communications with our guests, she was the absolute freaking best. In deciding on a resort, make sure you take into account the wedding packages they offer you and what kind of credits you can get simply by bringing guests to their resort --- such an easy way to cut wedding costs!
Next up, you’re going to want to send your guests a save the date ASAP. Depending on the location of your destination/cost per guest, I’d recommend giving your guests a minimum of 10-12 months notice. Through our travel agent, we had the option to send electronic save the dates, but since we needed our invites to be electronic (they housed all of the dates/deadlines and booking info) we opted to go the more traditional route with our save the dates and got them from minted.
No matter what you think going into a destination wedding, I’m here to tell you that there will be some hesitation surrounding your big day. Naively, we assumed that everyone would be just as jacked as we were to ditch the midwestern cold and head south in early March, but that wasn’t the case. We obviously understood that some situations would arise and not everyone would be able to attend, but we definitely weren’t ready to have people ignore us or our engagement because we chose to step a bit outside of tradition. My best advice is to smile, stand your ground about your decision (because it’s YOUR day) and be prepared to deal with a bit of pushback.
Now it’s time to plan! Honestly, this was so easy because there really isn’t much to plan at all. But even so, I’ll breakdown the items we did need to do a bit of deciding on >>> food, photography, videography, bridesmaids dresses, suits, flowers, decorations, entertainment, dress, accessories, hair & makeup <<< I took care of the big things right away & left all of the small details until just a few weeks before the wedding. I was maybe stressed for a day or two but otherwise it was a breeze and turned out perfectly.
Sit back, relax & enjoy your engagement. From things I’ve heard from other brides, they are so stressed throughout the planning process that they are just ready for their wedding to be over. Idk about you, but a year (or more) of added stress every day isn’t my ideal way of life. If you’re looking for a minimal stress, gorgeous wedding… destination should be a topic of discussion between you & your fiance.
As the wedding approaches, guests will start to get a bit anxious and you’ll probably start receiving texts/calls with questions. You can either choose to quickly handle them yourself, or immediately direct them back to your travel agent.
I’d recommend arriving at the resort a minimum of 2-3 days prior to your wedding date because there will be some on site logistics you’ll want to make sure you have time to take care of. You’ll have your onsite meeting with your wedding coordinators to go through a walk through and talk through every detail of the day, you’ll want to schedule any free services for you & your significant other (beachfront dinners, massages, etc.), plan any large group excursions (we rented a catamaran for the day after our wedding for any guests that wanted to join) and obviously to give yourselves enough time to breathe before the big day arrives!
And finally, although you might be in a beautiful place already, a destination wedding is like throwing a multi day long party & guess what?! You’re the host! I loved every second with our friends & family and honestly didn’t even think that I got enough time with them all, but I was absolutely exhausted once we returned to the states and can’t even imagine what it would have been like to go right back to work. So instead, we took 1 day to unpack/repack and then we jetted off to Bali, Indonesia for 3 weeks. Words of advice, take some time for just the 2 of you. Whether that’s another week in the same location you were just at or somewhere completely new, you WILL NOT regret it.
In wrapping things up, I can’t recommend a destination wedding enough! A) the scenery is gorgeous and your photos are going to be amazing B) you get to share the new culture & experience with all of your loved ones C) you actually get to connect, converse & hangout with your family and friends during this special time in your life instead of spending a quick 2 minutes with each of your 200+ guests, maybe snapping a pic with them and then moving on to the next table.
If you’re serious about a destination wedding or even just considering one, I’d highly recommend reading through my Jamaican Beach Wedding Recap as it outlines our day in even more detail, equipped with vendors, costs and much more! If you have any additional questions at all, please let me know. I’d be happy to offer any advice possible to help you plan your stress-free, perfect day!