A destination wedding can be one of the most exciting ways for a couple to dedicate themselves to each another. While even a simple courthouse ceremony can be a beautiful and romantic occasion, a ceremony held in some distant locale will be a memory the couple can treasure forever. Many people think this kind of wedding is out of their price range, but for those living in big cities or resort communities, a wedding in another location can often be cheaper than getting married at home, even including the cost of travel. However, destination weddings also make an already complicated event much more difficult to plan.
While every wedding planner will advise couples to plan well in advance, destination weddings, especially at more popular locations, should be figured out 12 to 18 months before the date. You’ll want to send out invitations at least a year before the wedding in order for people to arrange their finances for the expense of travel and lodging. In addition to giving your guests enough time to plan, you will need to give yourself plenty of room to make arrangements. Wedding planning experts recommend taking at least one trip to the destination before the wedding, to scout a venue and sample food from local caterers.
The best way to arrange a destination wedding is to hire a wedding planner or coordinator who lives in the area, especially for ceremonies in a foreign country. In addition to knowing the local wedding industry and popular venues, they will be able to guide couples through the destination country’s marriage laws. Without a wedding planner, you’ll need to navigate all of these issues yourself, which will require more pre-wedding trips that will almost certainly cost more than the price of a qualified wedding planner. Instead of vetting every venue, caterer, and florist personally, hire a local expert and avoid the extra work.