Fashion. Beauty. Lifestyle

Thursday, July 18, 2019

HOW TO PLAN A DESTINATION WEDDING + FREE WEDDING CHECKLIST!



Wedding season is in full swing! Since our destination wedding in Puerto Rico I have received so many destination wedding emails. I realized that I have never really posted a specific blog post on this topic. Side note I can't believe its already been a little over two years since our wedding!

Here is my wedding post to check out where we got married and venues that we worked with. 
I don't have all the answers about designation weddings but here are my tips based on my own experience on HOW TO PLAN A DESTINATION WEDDING:

1. WHY A DESTINATION WEDDING

This question is different for everybody. For me it was centered around our budget. We couldn't get much for our budget in upstate NY but in Puerto Rico we got everything we wanted and more for our set budget. 
Be mindful though that there are many pros and cons when you plan a destination wedding. Envision the entire big picture and make sure that a destination wedding fits your style and budget. Decide on what kind of setting do you want or what kind of wedding is meaningful to you and your fiancĂ©. 


2. CHOOSING YOUR LOCATION

Now that you have it set in your plans for a destination wedding, next is the fun part of choosing where. This is where you and your fiancĂ© will discuss the type of wedding you want to have. Is it a place that has a personal meaningful connection to you? Do you want a cultural wedding? Do you want a wedding by the beach? Pick a location that represents who you and your fiance and your style. You want your guests to feel your relationship and personality through your location and theme.    Tip: if you can, take a trip to your location and check out venue in person. When we had our heart set on Puerto Rico we toke a quick trip down there and scheduled appointments with local venues. This helped me see the location in person and secure my final decision. 


3. CHOOSING THE DATE

Once you have your location,  do your research surrounding the country you want to have your destination wedding in terms of timing. Before you chose a set date ask your family, friends and guests to be would month or season works best for them. They will appreciate your consideration and thoughtfulness more than you realize and are more likely to attend. 
In addition you also want to research the following:
- hurricane season
- rain season
- slowest tourist season (this can save you more money)
- any mosquito born viruses (such as Zika)
- school vacation/winter break for traveling family and friends

4. GIVE YOUR INVITEES ADVANCE NOTICE

I sent out save the dates about a year in advance of our wedding date. I didn't want to rush our wedding planning so it was two years in the making. I wanted to give our invitees a year in advance so that they knew the date and destination. It helps your guests budget accordingly, find the best flight rates and hotel deals and work out child care if needed. Tip: don't be upset if people can't come. This was my husband biggest advice to me (I'm very sensitive!). Not everyone can take a mini vacation to come to your wedding. 

5. CREATE A BUDGET

If you have a set budget, you want to give yourself another time to reach out to as many local vendors as you can and get prices. A great site to help find vendors that I used was weddingwire.com. On the site I was also able to check out reviews and find contact information. Create an excel spread sheet or a google document where you have all the quoted prices saved along with deposit amount and due dates. This will help you budget accordingly and know when certain payments are due. Keep in mind that these are outside of the country vendors so if you have to mail out checks I suggest making a copy of it for your records. Some vendors use PayPal but I did have a few that did not have paypal as an option. 

6. HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER

If there is ONE thing I can suggest to you, it is to hire a local wedding planner. Make sure they are reputable and check out their reviews. I would also schedule a FaceTime call with them to secure the validity of the company/person. Once they clear all that I suggest hiring one. For my wedding our wedding planner was my wonder woman. She made sure we were always on schedule for vendor hiring and payments. The day before the wedding she conducted our wedding rehearsal and toke all my decor/guest gifts with her and she knew my vision of how she wanted my wedding to be decorated. I didn't have to worry about any of those things. She coordinated the day of with vendors to make everyone was on time and were stationed in the right places. There are so many different kind of ways to get help for your destination wedding. If your vendor has a coordinator on site that is great! Use them as much as they allow you too! 


7. CHOSE LOCAL VENDORS

I found that choosing local vendors was a huge cost saver for us and one of the main reasons we chose a destination wedding. When choosing local vendors make sure to vet them carefully. Use WeddingWire and check out their reviews, social media handles and website to further legitimize their business. I also suggest communicating with them further than just email. Set up a FaceTime call as well if possible. If you can take it a step further, plan a trip and meet with them in person before hiring them. Do as much as you can to protect yourself of any stress or potential mistakes. If you hire a wedding planner or use a vendor that has a coordinator ask them to help you vet vendors. They may have a list of recommended local vendors that they have worked with. 

8. PLAN AHEAD FOR TRAVELING DECOR ITEMS

This was the scariest moment of our wedding process. Praying that your wedding decor items made it to the destination with you safely and unbroken! Make sure to bubble wrap and secure your items as properly and safely as possible. Our most valuable item was our seating chart that was in a glass decorated frame that was packed in designated wedding decor luggage. Be mindful of what you can bring and what is unrealistic and risk taking. If you decide to ship things ahead of time make sure to do your research and plan accordingly. But I highly don't suggest this. It's too big of a risk of getting lost or not making it there in one peace. In terms of the wedding dress, you can contact the airline in advance to let them know you are traveling with your wedding gown and they could place it in the cockpit or accommodate an entire overhead for your dress. 




9. DRESS ACCORDING TO THE WEATHER

Find a dress that works with your venue. If you are getting married on the beach, try for a dress with a shorter train and light fabric. You don't want to wear a ball gown style dress if your getting married outside during the day. Avoid sweating too much in your dress. Be mindful of comfortable shoes when walking down the aisle especially if it is sand!


10. HAVE A BACK UP PLAN

If your having an outside island wedding, the elements are out of your control. Make sure to have a back up plan coordinated with the venue and coordinator. Is there an plan B if it rains? If your wedding will be in the sun with no available shade, offer cold refreshments while they wait for the ceremony to begin or offer hand fans to allow them to cool themselves off. Think of ways that you can offer the best kind of experience to your guests. 

LAST TIP: ENJOY THE MOMENT

Weddings take forever to plan but come and go so quickly. On your day from the moment you wake up soak in and cherish every moment. The day will go by quickly and you deserve the reward of your hard work and planning. Enjoy it, be in the moment with your husband and celebrate your new journey with your family and friends! 



I hope you guys didn't think I forgot about you! I keep my promises! I am so excited to give you a Destination Wedding Checklist! It's my first freebie on the blog and I am so excited to be able to give you guy something tangible and hopefully helpful to my brides to be! GRAB YOUR COPY RIGHT HERE!



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