You got the ring!, Now What? Tips for planning a Destination Wedding
Planning a wedding in a city different than the one of your residence may seem like a daunting task! There are so many things to do, see, know and decide and sometimes you just do not have time to call and send e-mails to all the venues and vendors and time start to pass quickly! At this point you should ask for help from your mother, mother-in-law, friends, sisters or from a professional wedding planner at the destination who can help you gather all the information necessary to make decisions as well as get special deals in hotel rooms and vendors.
But where to start? Among the first things to define are:
There are a thousand ways to do a wedding and many ideas that you probably would love to make come true like arriving to the ceremony in a beautiful “vintage” car, fireworks during the first dance, hire the hottest band, have a martini bar, flowers over the top … but let’s face it, if you carry out all your ideas you will be left with debts for months after the wedding and this would be an awful way to start your married life!! Make a list with all your ideas, determine your priorities and the “must have” details of the wedding.
Even if you do not have the exact date, you must know at least the month and tentative days, if not, it would be very difficult for the venues and vendors to give you exact information, quotations and abailability.
At least get an approximate number, this will give you you a better idea of the size of the celebration. Keep in mind that for destination weddings, from all the people you invite, about 50% will actually attend the wedding.
Look for local Wedding Planners.
Ask for references and their portfolio; Verify if they are Certified Wedding Planners or are part of a regional, national or international Wedding Planner Organization.
Now let the planning begin!!
12 to 9 months before
- Start looking for venues you like and if possible schedule a trip to the destination to visit the locations and solve any doubts you may have.
- Choose the place where the ceremony will be held and the venue for reception, make the deposit to book it.
- Search for invitations designs you would like to have and start gathering the addresses and e-mails of your family and friends.
- Check packages and prices for DJs or live bands as well as photography and video service.
- Send out the save the date.
- Book the photographer, videographer, DJ or live band.
6 to 9 months before
- Make a wedding website where you can write information about the destination, acommodations, the wedding itinerary and have the guests RSVP trough the website, be sure to write on the save the date the details of the website.
- Choose the style of your bouquet, the bouquets for your bridesmaids (if they will be having one at all) as well as centerpieces.
- Decide on the décor styel and book the florist- weding desingn.
- Choose the menu and cake or candy bar.
- Buy your shoes, your jewelry and the lingerie you will be wearing the wedding night.
- Choose the dress and color of your bridesmaids and groomsmen.
- Registry for gifts.
4 to 6 months before
- Make sure your documentation is in order. Passports or visas if the wedding is abroad, birth certificates, faith of baptism and confirmation if there will be a catholic ceremony etc.
- Buy the wedding rings.
- Order the invitations.
- Book the flights and accommodations,
- Buy any detail needed (décor, glasses, cake topper, favours etc.)
- Choose the groom’s attire.
- Check that the bridesmaids and groomsmen order their dresses and attires.
- Send out the invitations.
- Start a list of songs for the DJ with the do’s and the DON’Ts
- In case you are giving welcome bags for your guests (which we strongly suggest!) this is the time to either start making them of order them.
- Choose your hair and make up for the big day and book the make up artist and hairstylist.
- If you are having seat assignment start planning it.
- Book the trasfers for the wedding venue and back to the hotel (if it’s an off-resort venue).
- Send to your Wedding Planner or to the Hotel anything you will need for the ceremony or reception but you don’t wish to carry it in the luggage. Be sure to pack fragile items properly.
- Prepare welcome letters for your guests and a list of activities to do in the area.
- Have your final gown fitting, don’t forget to take with you the shoes and other accessories that you will wear on the big day.
- Startworking on your vows, if you’ve decided to say your own.
- Send the final rooming list to the hotel.
Two weeks before
- Confirm flights and hotel reservations.
- Check all the final details with the Wedding Planner and he vendors
- Define the seat assignment and prepare the place cards with all your guests names.
- Make the wedding programs
- Confirm your transportation fron the airport to the hotel.
One week before
- Start packing, write a checklist so you won’t forget anything.
- Book any tours or excursions in the area.
- Have a manicure, pedicure, facial, massage, wax and any other treatment you wish to pamper you, you deserve it!!
Once at destination
- Meet with the Wedding Planner to review all details.
- Prepare the welcome bags for guests.
- If you didn’t have the chance to do a site inspection, have a menu tasting.
- Have a rehearsal with all the members of the bridal party.
- Relax and enjoy your wedding weekend.
- Sleep well the night before the wedding.
Finally the day is here!! Don’t forget to:
- Eat well.
- Drink water.
- Make sure you have the rings and give them to the best man or maid of honor.
- Most important… HAVE FUN! Don’t stress for tiny details , this is an amazing day and will go fast!