How to plan the perfect destination wedding

You’ve decided that the big white dress in the big local church just isn’t for you. But what now? No doubt you and your partner have been considering far-off destinations for your upcoming nuptials, but you might have little idea as to how to go about actually pulling off a destination wedding. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be complicated. That’s probably one of the reasons you don’t want to get married at home! With a simple checklist of essentials, you can begin the journey to your wedding on the other side of the world.

Location: Depending on your priorities, picking a destination will depend on a number of factors. If it’s just going to be the two of you – the world’s your oyster. Some choose to go to a place they’ve always dreamed about, but never visited. Others can’t imagine getting hitched anywhere than that one special place for them – wherever it is. Maybe you met abroad, or spent a particularly important vacation in this beautiful city that you’ve never forgotten.

If you’re planning on inviting guests, you need to be polite and consider their circumstances. Elderly relatives, friends with children, and those who might be strapped for cash: if you want the people you love to celebrate with you, you need to be mindful of whether the location is appropriate for them.

Look for a Wedding Planner: If you were planning a wedding at home, you’d know the area, have personal recommendations for the perfect caterer, and know the numbers for the local taxi service. If you go abroad, things can be a bit more up in the air. Hiring a local wedding planner is hugely advisable. You can search for a reputable planner online, just like you would at home. They will be able to co-ordinate venue, food, music, accommodation – everything to make sure that you and your guests have an unforgettable time. Remember that this will probably account for about 10% of your budget, but trust us, it’s worth avoiding the extra stress.

Keep a checklist: No doubt you’ll research the most stunning locations within the country or city you’re hoping to get married in. There are other important elements to research about your trip too.  Is it possible for a non-resident to get a marriage license? Will you have to be in the country for a certain amount of time before the ceremony?

Check with the embassy to make sure you are definitely able to go ahead with the wedding. Create a list of all the documents you will need to take with you when you travel – and keep communication with your guests open too, so that no one gets left behind.

When it comes to the ceremony, work with your planner closely over email – or even better, Skype. Learn about local customs and decide if there are any you want to incorporate, although don’t feel like you have to. The ceremony should also reflect who you are as a couple; after all, that’s what weddings are about.

Plan your outfit: Keep in mind the location when deciding on your outfit and makeup. With a beach wedding, for example, natural makeup is best. A dress made of lightweight material will keep you comfortable and fresh looking, but if you’re planning an evening ceremony go with a more formal gown if it feels right.

If you really love the idea of getting married away from home, but don’t want a lot of people there, consider eloping. It’s far more socially acceptable these days, and people will understand that you just want to be happy. There is always the option of getting married abroad and then having a party with your loved ones once back home. You could even have a symbolic ceremony and then legally register once back on home ground. There are many options, but don’t let it overwhelm you. They’re all possibilities, and you will know what’s right for you.