Planning a destination wedding? It’s tough, no doubt, but totally worth it! We called upon Lisa from Ivy Invite, who organised her Mexico wedding from her home in Australia, to give you the low-down on all of the things you need to think about while planning a destination wedding. If anyone knows what it takes, it’s this gal. Take it Lisa…
‘Firstly, I can’t recommend a destination wedding highly enough! Not only do you get to celebrate your wedding day with your family and friends, the whole experience of travelling to a country together will become memories that you take with you for the rest of your life. If you’re keen to have a destination wedding there are a few factors to consider: Image Cassandra Ladru
If you want a big wedding with all your family and friends, you might want to chose a destination closer to home that is easier for all of your loved ones to travel to. If you pick some amazing location half way around the world, you have to remember that not all them will be able to travel that far or afford it. You may be disappointed, but this is the reality of a destination wedding.
Make sure you plan many months in advance to give your guests plenty of time to save for and plan their trip. Make sure you consider the seasons of the country you have chosen when selecting your wedding date. Wet season in a tropical country might not be the best idea if you want to avoid rain on your wedding day! You have to be organised. Research is the key; the Internet will quickly become your best friend. Images Cassandra Ladru
After you’ve chosen your country, it’s time to find a venue. We were married in Puerto Escondido on the West Coast of Mexico. We weren’t able to travel there before hand to look at venues and meet suppliers, so all of our planning was done online and via email. Consider location and accommodation options close to your venue. This is all the information you will need to provide your guests with on the invitations.
Once you have booked and secured a venue, let your guests know the date and location! Send out ‘Save the Dates’ 10-12 months in advance and include an information card about the location and country. You may also want to include an RSVP here with a “Yes”, “No”, or “Maybe” option so you can start to get an idea of how many people are coming and who can definitely not come.
Then it’s time to choose a photographer! There are many options for this. You can research photographers who are local to your wedding location, pay a photographer to travel with you, or get a loved one who is good with a camera to take a few snaps. Consider how important your wedding photos are to you and what style you would like – this will also help you make your decision. Image Mitch Pohl
Now comes the fun part – planning all of the details! When planning a destination wedding, you will definitely need someone on the ‘ground’ to help you organise everything, especially if doing so via email. If you can get a wedding planner, perfect! If not, then perhaps the Villa/hotel owner or manager can help you source local vendors that you can contact yourself. This person will help you organise everything like flowers, cake, catering and music.
Make sure you have a list of items to ask your planner so that as much is organised in advance as possible. Pinterest (and HOORAY!) is a lifesaver when planning a destination wedding. The ability to send pictures of the look you’re after for flowers and styling will help you explain what you want to your vendors – especially if they don’t speak English. If you’re all about the DIY styling and buying items online, you may be able to get them sent straight to the venue so that you don’t have to travel with them. As long as you organise all of the “big” things for your wedding day in advance, the little things can be organised once you arrive at your destination. Image Mitch Pohl
When travelling to your destination it’s best to take your wedding dress as carry on luggage. The air hosts/hostesses will take it from you and hang it up while flying. Consider the weight of any other items you’re bringing and the logistics of travelling with them. You can spread your items out amongst your family and friends so you are not hit up with excess baggage charges. Remember to ask for help from loved ones as much as you can! Arrive at your venue at least 4-5 days before the wedding. This gives you the chance to sort out any last minute details.
When we arrived in Mexico we went shopping at the local markets and sourced cans and jars (for flowers) cactus and succulents (for centrepieces) and pineapples (for styling). Make sure you have a list of the last minute items you’ll need to buy so you don’t forget anything and don’t get overwhelmed. If you don’t have a stylist to set everything up on the day, pick 1 or 2 of your guests that you can trust with the job. Explain the styling to them, give them a drawing of the table set-up and then leave it up to them. It’s time for you to focus on getting ready and enjoying that part of the day! Image Ali Mitton
The best advice I can give with a destination wedding is to just go with the flow. Things may happen or go wrong that you can’t control but you just have to accept that. Your flowers may arrive and look different to the pictures you sent and the cake may be all wrong, but you just have to move on with the day. This is all part of a destination wedding and part of the charm. You will have the most amazing day with your family and friends and your new husband/wife, so you honestly won’t care if your flowers are slightly off.
Also, plan some actives either side of the wedding. Make the most of your time in an amazing place with all your loved ones. Organising a dinner before the wedding will give everyone a chance to meet beforehand and it make the day more relaxed. A ‘recovery’ day for the day after the wedding, on the beach or by a pool, is a great way for everyone to relax together after such an incredible experience and gives you a chance to start saying your goodbyes.’ Image Lilli Waters