Few days, if any, are comparable to our wedding days. The pomp and circumstance, the gorgeous decorations, and the joining of two people very much in love.
Is there anything more beautiful?
Well, what about a ceremony on the soft sands of Jamaica? Or the rugged cliffs of Hawaii?
Destination weddings are immensely popular, with one-in-four couples choosing a destination wedding according to GroupTravel.org.
But as fun and special as a destination wedding is, there’s so much to consider! How can you make sure that your special day goes off without a hitch?
Here’s a quick destination wedding checklist to make sure that your wedding is an affair to remember.
1. Plan Early
Perhaps it goes without saying, but a destination wedding requires far more planning than your standard ceremony. Therefore, make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to plan the perfect wedding.
Ideally, you’ll want to start planning well over a year before the ceremony.
Remember, you’re far from the only couple looking to celebrate your union at a destination. Should you pick one of the more popular areas, there’s a high likelihood they’ll be booked in advance.
If you take nothing else away from this destination wedding checklist, at least remember this: the more time you allow yourself to plan, the less stressful your wedding will be.
Here is just a sample of the things you’ll need to consider:
- Ceremony site
- Accommodations and booking
- Activity planning
- Work schedules
- Popularity of the area
Destination weddings can be a blast, no doubt. But for your sake, start planning as early as possible. We promise it’ll be worth it.
2. Research Local Laws
Whenever heading somewhere new, it’s always a good idea to brush up on the area’s local laws.
Not only will this keep the wedding party and any rambunctious family out of trouble, but it’ll ensure that your wedding goes through smoothly.
So what’s the big deal, anyway? It’s not like you’re planning on doing anything illegal.
That’s certainly good, but don’t forget that laws differ from area to area, particularly when it comes to marriage licenses and the like.
Your destination may require a brief period of residency before you and your partner apply for a marriage license. Not to worry, however, this residency period often only consists of a few days.
3. Double-Check Office Business Hours
It’s the day before your wedding, and everyone is so excited for the ceremony. You’ve decided that you want your friends and family to join you at the courthouse as you apply for your marriage license.
Everyone piles into a few vans, and you’re on your way. You’re as happy as can be until you pull up to the building.
You see a dreaded sign hanging on the door that says ‘closed’.
Turns out there’s a local holiday you forgot about and the office won’t resume normal business hours until after the ceremony.
It sounds like a nightmare, but it’s entirely avoidable. If your ceremony will take place over a holiday weekend, make sure you’ve planned for it.
Any legal documents will need to be procured before the ceremony itself.
4. Research Your Wedding Site
Internet reviews are a fantastic way to learn more about a business or a destination. With a few clicks of a mouse, you can learn the good, the bad, and the ugly and possibly save yourself a ton of heartache, as well as thousands of dollars.
It’s always a good idea to conduct a thorough investigation of your destination before booking accommodations.
If you have family or friends that visited the destination in the past, ask for recommendations on places to stay, things to do, and where to eat. Otherwise, online reviews are the next best thing to actually visiting the location yourself.
5. Carry on as Much as Possible
Your destination wedding checklist is already filled with important considerations. The last thing you need to worry about is your dress not getting to your destination on time.
It may cost a little extra, but try and carry on as much as possible as you travel.
You certainly don’t need to carry on every last little piece of wedding decor. You should, however, make sure to include the integral elements such as the bridal dress, wedding rings, vows, and so on.
6. Find Your Decorations Locally
Speaking of expensive travel, shipping your wedding decorations could add hundreds of extra dollars to your wedding day.
Yet that certainly doesn’t mean you need to go without. Instead, consider picking up your decorations from a local business.
This is one of the few times it pays to choose a popular wedding destination, as the area is likely filled with wedding decor shops that should have everything you need.
And if nothing else, you can feel great about supporting a local business. It’s a win-win scenario.
7. Create an Itinerary
Creating an itinerary for yourself and your wedding guests is a great way to make sure you get to see the best your destination has to offer.
After all, who said your wedding needs to be stressful?
Unwind with some snorkeling or swimming. Head out for an afternoon of shopping or check out that great restaurant near the hotel.
This is a destination wedding, after all! Allow yourself plenty of time to have fun and enjoy the company of your family and friends.
Finally, no destination wedding checklist is complete without a reminder to take a deep breath every now and then.
Planning a wedding can be extremely stressful, and you likely have so much on your mind. But don’t let the stress of the day overshadow your bliss.
Try and stay as flexible as possible. There’s a high likelihood that something somewhere down the line won’t go as planned.
That’s okay. It happens to just about every wedding.
When you look back on this day, you won’t remember the font on the plates. What matters is that you’re dedicating yourself to the love of your life.
Destination Wedding Checklist Wrap-Up
There you have it, the essential destination wedding checklist! Keep this checklist in mind and your wedding is sure to be a day you’ll always cherish.
And don’t forget to include Wishes Planet in your event plans! Whether you’re trying to find the right words for your loved one or just want to express gratitude to friends and family, we’re here to help.