14 Insightful Destination Wedding Tips from Wedding Planners

Your wedding day is a big deal, especially when organizing it in an exotic location! It’s that magical day you’ve dreamt about for possibly your entire life! It is also the beginning of a whole new life with your dearest love, so it matters that you get things off to a good start. Whether you have a wedding planner to help you get things organized or not, these useful tips will have you well on your way to a flawless destination wedding.

1. Get inspired on social media

Couple Wedding Planning Online

Photo credit: Mygate/Shutterstock.com

On social media platformers like Instagram and Pinterest especially you’ll find wedding inspiration that you can incorporate into your own wedding. You can use these platforms to convey ideas to your wedding planner too.

Tip: See Sandals Resorts Wedding Instagram and Sandals Resorts Wedding Pinterest for some beautiful imagery and inspiration.

2. Plan your destination wedding early

Wedding Event Planner

Photo credit: Rawpixel/Shutterstock.com

Start planning early, your guests will need some time to plan their travels accordingly too. Send your guests a ‘save the date’ 8 to 10 months in advance (at least). Don’t underestimate your to-do list. Even if you have a wedding planner, take the time to tell them about your preferences and what you want on the day. Budget carefully, so you don’t overspend.

Tip: Also read ‘How to plan a destination wedding in 12 easy steps’.

3. Select your destination wisely

Sandals South Coast Wedding Chapel

Picture: Over the water wedding chapel in Sandals South Coast, Jamaica.

Take your time choosing the right destination for you. Take into account the climate, environment, flight times and local facilities. Find out in advance what documents will be needed to make your marriage legal, it’s different for each country. The Caribbean is a popular region among American couples looking to marry abroad, since flight times from the U.S. are relatively short and the setting is simply amazing.

Tip: Also read ‘Seven exotic destination wedding locations in the Caribbean’.

4. Get in touch with a local wedding planner

Wedding Planner Woman

Photo credit: Mr.Whiskey/Shutterstock.com

A local wedding planner or coordinator who is based at your ideal location can help you make arrangements for your destination wedding. At Sandals all-inclusive resorts your wedding planner will take care of all the details (with your input), so you don’t have to.

5. Try to go see the venue in advance

Wedding Sign Venue

Photo credit: Vincent Llora/Shutterstock.com

It’s very important to see the venue in advance, but if it is not possible, arrive at least five days before, so you can do your assessment to see if anything needs to be adjusted. If you can’t travel months before to see the venue, have your wedding planner make an assessment on your behalf before paying a deposit.

6. Make sure all guests can be accommodated

Sandals Grenada Over the Water Chapel Wedding

Take guests into account when planning accommodation. If everyone can’t stay at the same resort, look for one that’s a maximum of 15 minutes away, where all the guests can stay. Don’t set your dates until you confirm availability for everyone.

7. Use video-calls to select vendors in person

Couple Video Call

Photo credit: Jacob Lund/Shutterstock.com

When selecting local vendors like the venue, wedding planner, florist, bakery and caterer, it can be difficult to meet them in person at the destination of choice. See if you can speak to vendors over a video-call and consider reviews and experiences of others. You can even ask your vendor for referrals before you arrive, so you can arrange meetings when you get there.

8. Bring the dress with you on the plane

Wedding Couple Travel Plane

Photo credit: Oksana Shufrych/Shutterstock.com

Always bring your dress on the plane, even if you end up having to fold it. This is important so that you can control how your dress is being handled. Make arrangements to have it steamed or ironed when you get there.

9. Dress with the local climate in mind

Sandals Montego Bay Couple Wedding Boat

Wear a dress or suit that is appropriate for the location and climate. If you’re having an indoor church ceremony, you can wear something fancier than say, a beach wedding, which requires something more lightweight and wind resistant.

10. Inform guests of the travel costs involved

Travel Plan Passport Money

Photo credit: LittlePigPower/Shutterstock.com

As soon as you’ve got some figures, let your guests know the cost of travel, and any other expenses they may incur. This should help everyone plan properly to be able to attend your destination wedding.

Tip: Most of the times, guests of a destination wedding are expected to pay for their flights and accommodation. Exceptions can be made for important guests that would otherwise not be able to attend. Read more about this in ‘Destination wedding etiquette: the do’s & don’ts’.

11. Plan activities and excursions for your guests

Island Routes Catamaran Tour

There’s a little more pressure on couples who have destination weddings, as opposed to those who go for traditional weddings, in the sense that those who choose destination weddings have a larger responsibility for coordinating side activities before and after the wedding. Find out what your guests enjoy early enough so you can plan activities they will like. Check with your wedding planner too, to see if there are fun opportunities that they can help with setting up at your resort of choice.

12. Optional: bring specialists from home

If you’re planning on bringing specialists from home, add these details into your budget, everything from travel expenses to the cost of accommodation. Ensure that everyone stays within 30 minutes of the location of the wedding venue.

13. Tie in local elements at your destination wedding

Sandals South Coast Over the Water Wedding Chapel

Picture: Over-the-water wedding chapel, available at Sandals Montego Bay (Jamaica), Sandals Ochi (Jamaica), Sandals South Coast (Jamaica), Sandals Grande St. Lucian (Saint Lucia) and Beaches Ocho Rios (Jamaica).

Take in the natural elements of your location and try incorporating what’s already there. Tree leaves and branches for example, can add an exotic feel. Embracing local cuisine will enhance the authenticity of the experience and reduce costs significantly.

14. Have a date in mind? Check availability first!

Calendar Wedding Date Reservation

Photo credit: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock.com

If you’re getting married at a resort, ask them for the options at different locations. Not all venues will be able to host large groups on a given date. Once you know which resorts have availability, it will be that much easier to make a final decision on the location!

Call Sandals on 1-877-263257 to see how they can help you plan the destination wedding of your dreams.

Let the fun begin!

Sandals Royal Caribbean Island Reception

Picutre: Wedding reception on the private offshore island at Sandals Royal Caribbean.

When it comes to weddings of any kind, the magic is in the planning. Precise planning will ensure that things go as they should on the big day. With these exclusive destination wedding tips, you’ll know just what you need to incorporate into your plans or look out for ahead of the ceremony.

Also read:

How to plan a destination wedding in 12 steps.
Destination wedding etiquette: the do’s & don’ts
Destination wedding location ideas (inspiration!).
Destination wedding venues in paradise (inspiration!).

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Kylie Morrow

About Kylie Morrow

Born on the tropical island that is Saint Lucia affords a never-ending source of inspiration. In the past 13 years, Kylie loved to work with various newspapers, magazines and blogs in the Caribbean.