Destination weddings are magical. There’s nothing like a tropical destination, surrounded by white sand beaches and gorgeous water. However, a fair amount of planning goes into every destination wedding.
From picking the right location, the right date (you don’t want your wedding to be right in the middle of the hurricane season) to deciding where to buy gifts for the wedding party. It can all become a little overwhelming. Don’t worry though. We have some tips that will help you plan the destination wedding of your dreams.
1. Check the weather patterns
As you’re thinking about tropical destinations for your wedding, take some time to research the weather patterns. In particular, pay attention to what’s usually happening weather-wise on your wedding date. The last thing you want to do is book an expensive destination right smack in the middle of the rainy season. It might be frustrating to shift your wedding date or to find out that your number one location won’t work, but it will be worth it in the end.
2. Pick a destination that works for (almost) everyone
While you can – and should – choose a tropical paradise that makes you happy, think about your family and your fiancé’s family, too. Instead of picking a faraway country, consider picking a closer destination that can better accommodate everyone, e.g. a Costa Rica destination wedding.
3. Work with a travel agent
Planning a vacation can be challenging for even the most organized person;planning a destination wedding is even more so. Time spent coordinating the venue, the caterer, and the photographer is significant. When you add in making travel plans and booking accommodations, it’s a time-consuming affair that may benefit from some help. Take a load off your shoulders in the beginning stages of planning your ceremony. In addition to looking for honeymoon travel agents, consider an agent who’s experienced with large groups.
4. Send the save-the-dates early
You need to be considerate of your guests when planning a tropical destination wedding. They may need advanced notice to get time off from work, save up for plane tickets and accommodations, find outfits, and possibly arrange for childcare. You should try to let your guests know where and when the wedding will take place as soon as you can. A year is ideal. More than that is perfection. Then you can send out the invitations six to nine months before the wedding.
5. Consider the extras
Depending on where you get married, the venue might include food and even music, but you can’t forget about all the extras that will make your day even more special. Look for local photographers, caterers, and florists. Think about whether you want to buy your bridal party gifts at home and take them with you or if you want to find gifts at the destination. Check and double-check your list of must-haves to make sure you don’t miss anything.
6. Get familiar with the local laws
What are the laws at the tropical locale you’re considering? You want to make sure that your marriage is legal, so check out the local marriage laws. For example, you may need to apply for your wedding license there, or you may need to apply in your home state. In the same vein, do you need to file your license at the location, or should you do that when you arrive back home? Some locations require engaged couples to get a blood test before they’re lawfully wedded. You never know what might pop up, so it pays to do your due diligence. Ensuring that you’ve checked all the boxes is the best way to have a smooth day with no unexpected issues.
7. Take a trip beforehand
If you can afford to do so, then it’s a great idea to take a trip to your destination of choice long before you finalize your wedding plans. That way, you can scout out different accommodations and venues to figure out what will work best for the wedding you want. Visiting your location can also help you to get to know the local culture. You can research laws, meet up with florists and photographers, and generally get familiar with the area. Maybe you’ve already visited your tropical destination, in which case you already know what to expect. Still, it’s not a bad idea to pay another visit once you’ve got wedding bells on your mind.
Where are you planning to get married? Do you have all your ducks in a row? If you’re still in the planning stages, then use these tips to ensure that your tropical destination is as magical as you want it to be.