“I found some pictures of a beautiful beach online. I think I’ll get married there.”
“I know a traditional wedding is not for me. I want something simpler, exotic and different, but don’t know where to start.”
“I have always dreamed of a beautiful wedding on the beach with my family. But I am totally overwhelmed.”
This is how a lot of our clients come to us. They want a beautiful destination wedding but have no idea where to start on the planning and organization. Most couples start with trying to find a location before doing some simple planning steps that will lead them to the perfect location (and save them a LOT of headaches). There is a better way. Planning your perfect destination wedding starts with your vision for the wedding as well as your guests.
Step 1: Start Early for Best Options
How soon should I start planning my destination wedding?
If you can start planning 12-18 months in advance, that gives you access to the most choices for location, times, and venues. If you are extremely flexible and your guest list is small, having less time can generally be accommodated. However, you will have fewer options available. It’s not uncommon for resorts to book up ideal times and dates 12 months in advance. In locations where there are fewer resorts available, the earlier the better.
Step 2: Pick a time frame that works for schedules, optimizes flight options, and gives you the best chance of great weather for the wedding.
When do you want to have your destination wedding?
High season for destination weddings are in the summer time and over school breaks (Spring Break, Holidays, etc.). Planning ahead allows you to reserve rooms and flights. Avoiding holidays or peak travel dates (like Spring Break or Christmas) often gives you and your guests better flight options and pricing. Winter weddings are especially lovely for beach destination weddings as it is ideal weather conditions in the Caribbean. Wherever you want to get married, you need to consider the weather patterns and rainy seasons for that time of year.
Step 3: Decide Who Will Be on the Guest List
Who all will be invited to your destination wedding?
Your guest list will have a huge impact on where to have your destination wedding. You’ll need to know how many guests, where your guests are flying from, and any physical limitations your guests may have when picking your resort. You’ll want to pick a location that is central for most of your guests, with good air service to help your guests’ budget. If there are guests with food allergies or accessibility issues, you’ll want to make sure that the resort can handle your guests so they can enjoy their stay and your ceremony. In addition, you’ll need to decide if children will be invited. Many resorts are adult-only and won’t be an option if children will be attending.
Step 4: Think About What You Want the Wedding to Look Like
How do you envision your destination wedding?
Everyone picks a destination wedding for a different reason. Some couples want the beauty of the beach. Others want extra time with their guests. Think through the different aspects of your wedding: the day or two before the wedding with your guests at the resort, the ceremony itself, cocktail hour/reception/after party, and honeymoon. There are lots of choices for each of these areas including group dinners or excursions, ceremony location and time, cocktail hours, reception venues, and unique cultural experiences. When you dream of each of these times, what are they like? What do you want to feel and experience? Any dreams or ideas you have should be given to your travel planner so that they can make sure the design of your wedding is a good fit.
Step 5: Pick a Travel Planner
Where do I get help planning a destination wedding?
Travel planners and wedding planners are different, but both will be a part of your destination wedding. Wedding planners handle the organization and details for the ceremony and experiences surrounding it. Some wedding planners charge a fee. For many destination weddings, the resort provides a wedding planner and coordinator free of charge. Travel Planners are responsible for advising couples on matching them to the right destination and resort for their dream wedding. They also take care of all the travel and logistical details for the trip: checking resort availability, contracting your wedding and room block, managing room selection, requests, and travel arrangements, sending important communication and reminders for deadlines, educating the group about best travel practices, and taking care of travel payments. Travel planners are invaluable in helping you sort through the available options. They are the quickest, safest path to find your perfect dream destination and remove from you the immense work organizing the travel for your group so that you can focus on your wedding.
Ok, What's Next?
Having gone through these steps, you’ll work with your travel planner to come up with the right destination, date, resort, and ceremony options for your dream destination wedding.
About The Traveling Compass:
The Traveling Compass is a full-service luxury travel agency. Our success is built on a foundation of unmatched expertise and outstanding customer service. Our travel agents specialize in international travel, corporate incentive trips, destination weddings & honeymoons, multigenerational travel, luxury leisure, and family travel. We are also Authorized Disney Vacation Planners with experience assisting families that have children with special needs or large families or groups with complicated dining reservations for over 20 guests. Our personalized travel itineraries are designed to help discerning, time-pressed travelers plan the most elaborate vacations, down to the smallest detail. As luxury travel agents, we are dedicated to creating and facilitating travel experiences that expand awareness and give each person a real sense of the country and culture they are visiting. It is our mission to make sure you have the travel experience of a lifetime, every time.