A destination wedding can be a ton of fun, but it many cases, it’s also going to cost more than a standard wedding. No wedding is perfect, but here’s how to ensure that your destination wedding is as close to perfect as you can get.
Keep it intimate
If you’re feeling stressed out and unsure of who to invite, the answer might lie in a destination wedding. For one thing, destination weddings are more intimate by design. Not everyone in your social circle has enough money for a plane ticket and hotel stay, even if it’s just a couple of states over. But if the wedding is on another continent, then that means you’re going to lose even more potential guests.
You have to be OK with that before you finalize the details. Talk to your partner and decide who you want to be there, and who you think can actually be there? If you have the urge to get married at a cabin in the mountains, that’s great, but how will your guests with disabilities make it up there? A good experience is important, but not at the expense of excluding people you care about.
Find a unique setting
The venue matters a lot. If you’re leaving your hometown to get married, you might as well go all out and consider something like an adventure wedding. An adventure wedding means you’re looking beyond a resort in the Caribbean. It means you want something that’s more of an experience, like saying your vows and then going on an hour-long hike with your wedding party.
Of course, you don’t have to go hiking if you don’t want to, but you should know this: the more remote and pristine the wedding setting, the more likely it is that you’re going to have to physically push yourself. Most couples can’t drop in via helicopter to get married at a waterfall, after all. So don’t push yourself too hard. If you’re hiking to your ceremony site, then maybe save the advanced surfing lessons for the honeymoon.
Remember this, too: unique wedding venues book up way faster than your local masonic lodge. In many cases, destination weddings aren’t something you can throw together a few weeks in advance. You have to start planning at least a year in advance, if not a couple of years. Do not make the mistake of traveling to a foreign country and just assuming you can throw an impromptu wedding at a local landmark.
Make sure everything’s legal
Standing in front of an altar and having an officiant declare you man and wife isn’t enough to make it legal. You can’t arrive in a country one day and get a marriage license the next day, at least not in most places.
For instance, let’s say you want to get married in France. To do that, you have to be in the country for 40 days first. That’s not going to work for most people, so a lot of couples have a simple civil ceremony at home in a courthouse or backyard. If you’re a celebrity, you might even go to Vegas first, then jet off to France for a big party later.
But most of us aren’t celebrities, and you don’t have to be famous to feel like a star on your wedding day. Take care of the legalities first, even if that means hiring other people to help you.