Destination Weddings and Honeymoons
- All wedding couples must contact their local court house for filing requirements. Every state/country is different when it comes to filing foreign marriage documents.
- Bringing your own decor may incur taxes, duties, and set up fees. They may also be confiscated.
- Bringing your own vendors will incur a vendor fee per service.
Read up on the marriage legality rules. Consider having a legal union at home and a nonbinding ceremony at the site.
- Don’t forget about currency rates. As the dollar’s value fluctuates, so does the cost of your wedding!
- Have a plan B. Ask what options are available if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Your resort may have an indoor location you could use, or they may allow you to postpone things until later in the afternoon or even the following day.
- Use local blooms — think olive branches and grape leaves in Tuscany or exotic flowers and plants in the tropics — and serve local specialties at the reception, like conch fritters in the Bahamas or carnitas in Cabo, to cut catering costs.
- Try to put everyone in one affordable hotel if price is an issue, find a less expensive spot 10 minutes away — 15 tops. Don’t set your date until you’re sure there’s room availability for everyone
- Make sure to find a planner or coordinator that specializes in destination weddings. This way, instead of spending hours on phone calls trying to overcome a language barrier or making executive decisions about flowers and ceremony site from miles away, you have an expert on hand to take care of it all for you. Or, if a planner isn’t in your budget, look for a resort with a strong on-site coordinator.
- Ideally, you’d see your venue once before booking and again three to four months before the wedding to finalize details. If a second trip’s not possible, arrive at least five days early to make those decisions and do a hair and make up trial
- Never check your dress.Always carry your dress on board the plane, even if it means having to fold it. Just make sure someone at the other end can press and steam it.
- Notify guests well in advance. This is one of the most important destination wedding tips. It's important to give your nearest and dearest have plenty of time to calculate if they can afford the cost of traveling to your ceremony and reception.
- The best weather in popular vacation destinations tends to correlate with tourist season, when there are typically more crowds, fewer hotel and venue availabilities, and higher rates all around. If you choose to marry during high season, you'll want to reserve hotel blocks and venues immediately and send out save-the-dates 10 to 12 months in advance so guests can book their flights and accommodations before prices skyrocket. If you choose the shoulder season (right after high season), you may be able to save yourself and your guests some money and still enjoy great weather.
- You're on island time. Don't keep a constant eye on the clock. Remember that many tropical islands run on "island time" -- things happen when they happen -- so don't mistake a vendor's laid-back attitude for incompetence. Avoid the temptation to micromanage from afar. Schedule regular check-ins and then trust your vendors to work their magic.
- consider the climate when choosing your wedding dress -- and deciding on everyone else's attire. You'll be swimming in sweat if you pair your fairy-tale satin ball gown with tropical humidity, and asking your groomsmen to wear tuxes in the sun and heat is just cruel. Also, if you're exchanging vows outside, you may want to reconsider a long train that will easily get muddy or grass-stained or three-inch heels that will stick in the mud.