Traditional weddings are a thing of the past as more and more brides are thinking outside the box and opting for destination weddings. Standing barefoot on a tropical beach, or on top of a mountain surrounded by wildflowers is what girls dream of, followed by a resort-style dinner reception, and some dancing under the star. If you planning a destination wedding, here are some tips for planning to travel somewhere special for your nuptials.
Destination weddings often take place in an unusual setting, far from home which also means you can easily break free from the normal traditions. Since these intimate ceremonies are typically smaller in size, compared to traditional weddings, destination weddings tend to result in lower costs. Destination weddings also make your special day feel more personal and memorable. Why not use this opportunity to help your guests get to know the local culture, while also celebrating your love?
Mindful Destination Wedding Planning Tips
Whether you choose the Bahamas, Bora Bora, Bali, the Belmond Hotel Caruso on the Amalfi Coast with its craggy cliffs and water views, Vegas, or the San Ysidro Ranch on the foothills of Santa Barbara, where JFK and Jackie Kennedy honeymooned, and more recently, Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Pratt and Katherine Schwarzenegger, and Jessica Simpson and Eric Johnson have exchanged vows, plan to visit the destination and your venue once before booking and finalizing all the details.
Hotel ballrooms aren’t the only options for wedding ceremonies. You can now choose renovated barns, rooftops, rustic ranchs, a villa in Tuscany, a beach, or somewhere in nature… The world is your oyster!
Choose the Destination & Venue
Deciding on a destination for the wedding is going to be the first step. Ideally, you will pick a place that is meaningful to you and your partner. After you’ve selected your destination, the next step is the venue. Think about where you want the wedding ceremony to take place, and where the reception/party will be. These could both of course take place at the same location.
Set a Budget & Hire a Planner
Spare yourself the stress and find a planner or coordinator that specializes in destination weddings. Set a budget. Prioritize the things that are important to you. If you’re planning a destination wedding, you will need someone on the ground before you arrive, finalizing all of the last-minute details so you and your guests can arrive stress-free. Sometimes the hotel or resort will offer these services and coordinations.
Keep the Guest List Small
Most wedding planners recommend no more than 50 to 100 attendees for a destination wedding. If you have a bigger guest list it becomes more difficult to coordinate events and excursions, both from a logistical and cost perspective. If you are planning for a more far-flung ceremony in the savannas of Africa or an adventurous ceremony location like a mountain top or under a waterfall in Iceland you will want to keep the guest list more intimate. Like under 50!
Choose your Hotel
Unless you are a celebrity and hosting a wedding in a fancy hotel, it is not usually required that you cover the cost of accommodations for your guests, it’s a thoughtful gesture to provide some recommendations that satisfy a different range of budgets.
Setting up room blocks can help negotiate a lower price at hotels and resorts and also help keep everyone in the same vicinity. Don’t set your wedding date until you’re sure there’s room availability for your group.
Select Wedding Looks based on Location
Select a theme and color scheme while keeping the location in mind. If you want guests to dress according to a particular theme, or wear a certain color for certain events, include this in your save-the-date cards, or official wedding invites.
If your wedding destination is a hot, humid, tropical location you’ll want natural and breathable fabrics, like linen and cotton. If you’re hosting a casual beach wedding, consider a simple dress and colorful shirts for the groom. While a formal lace gown and tuxedo (Indian Sari and Kurta if you are a South Asian) will work in any environment, destination weddings allow a little more flexibility, so have fun, be creative!
Set the Tone With Invitations
There’s no better way to get people excited about your destination wedding than sending them a memorable invite. Make an impression with the Invitations as they are the first thing guests see of your event. Include small items from the destination to get your guests excited. Some small and practical items like local treats, small curios, or perfume that provide a sense of place also set the mood of your destination.
Why not get your friends together for a Bridal Shower with these cute bridal shower invitations and plan some of the wedding details together?
Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers to order a printed sample of their actual invitation before they place their final order. That way you can see the paper quality and make sure that the card is perfect and the way you want it. Get 15% off with coupon code: 15FF51
A unique venue for a destination wedding is Baltimore’s George Peabody Library. The five tiers of cast-iron balconies that rise 61 feet above the main floor, and the stacks containing approximately 300,000 books make for a spectacular setting for any event. Here are a few more cool wedding venues in the US.
Include Details About Your Destination
If you are sharing all wedding detail on a website, tell a story, and paint a picture of what will happen from the moment your party touches down. Include practical information on what to expect, the weather, how to pack, transportation details, airport transfers, documents they will need to have on hand, and must-see spots in the destination.
In addition to these logistical details, consider adding a list of books, music, and movies related to your destination to help get your guests in the mood before the event. You can even include little Souvenirs from the wedding destination.
Create Welcome Bags
Offer your guests welcome bags on arrival and fill them with local items and things that they will need to make their stay comfortable. Things like snacks, water bottles, maps, and sunscreen if it is the wedding is on a beach. Don’t forget to send thank you cards for bridal shower and wedding gifts.
Celebrate Local Culture
Whether you’re traveling to another country or not, a destination wedding is a chance to absorb and appreciate the culture of the locale you’ve selected for your wedding day. Try to include some aspects of the local culture whether your wedding is in Mexico, islands of the Caribbean, Hawaii, or Colorado.
It can be as simple as using local flowers and textiles for your decor, including cultural music and dance, celebrating local cuisine. Be immersive, intentional, and highlight local culture. Don’t just use it as a prop for photos.
While cocktails and cake are a big part of wedding celebrations, why not help your guests to recover from the festivities? Plan a group trip together to explore the destination with a nod to cultural experiences like taking a dance class, or learning to surf, visiting a local hammam, or just enjoying a relaxing spa day.
Make it a Mindful Event
Write your own meaningful vows. Hand write them. A perfect wedding is when both the partner can be one but yet have the freedom to be themselves, take a few minutes JUST with each other to celebrate that. Some other ways that couples can have a mindful event might be by asking their guests to put their phones away. Create an unplugged atmosphere, so that you and your guests can be present and not just see through their screen camera.
Hope these destination wedding planning tips help you plan a mindful event.