10 Questions to Ask Yourself When Planning a Destination Wedding
So you’ve decided to buck tradition and get married away from home. Excellent. Now comes the hard part: deciding where “away” is. That town in Chianti where you met in cooking school? The Costa Rican resort you escape to each spring? His family’s ski shack in Vermont? Before you send out the save-the-dates, ask yourself these questions.
Is it easy to get to? Even though your guests may be spread out around the country, they should be able to get to your wedding with minimal complications. Once you start adding puddle jumpers, long van transfers, or—god help you—ferry rides, a couple of things happen. First, people won’t come. Second, the people who do come will spend the wedding talking about what a pain it was to get there, even if your nana didn’t actually fall off the ferry.
Are there affordable places to stay? It’s understandable if you two want to live it up in some posh resort, but make sure there are less pricey options in the neighborhood for the 99 percent.
Will there be activities for everyone? Unless you’re scheduling a nonstop round of parties and field trips, make sure there’s plenty of stuff to do in close range. While you’re focused on wedding prep (Nails! Welcome bags!), your crew shouldn’t feel trapped in their hotel rooms.
How will older guests fare? High altitudes can be tough for seniors; cobblestone streets don’t play well with wheel chairs. If you’re counting on having nana in the front row, make sure she’ll be comfortable. (It’s the least you can do after the incident on the ferry.)
What’s it like in the off season? It makes sense to schedule your wedding at a time when your location isn’t at its busiest and most expensive. Just look into whether you’re getting that great deal because it’s the middle of monsoon season.
Is there someone to take care of the logistics? Handing over your wedding to a coordinator or catering manager can save you a lot of grief. Most resorts have staffers who can handle the details at no extra cost; if not, you’ll probably want to hire your own planner.
What’s the residency requirement? Some countries let you get married after being there 24 hours; others make you wait a month. In the case of the latter, you’ll probably want to do a civil ceremony before leaving home and then a vow renewal at your destination. (In fact, as this pretty much eliminates all red tape, it’s the path a growing number of couples are taking, no matter how lenient their destination.)
Are there wedding pros in the area? It sounds cool to be the first couple to get married someplace, but it probably means you’ll spend a lot of time chasing down vendors. Unless a destination has at least a few weddings under its belt, finding a florist, caterer, baker, photographer, band, officiant, etc. could become a major hassle.
Does the destination have several places for gatherings? You’ll most likely be hosting a welcome dinner, day-of lunch, wedding reception, and day-after brunch. To avoid dining-room fatigue, you’ll want a couple of spots to hold the parties.
Will you be happy with Plan B? Since most destination weddings are held outside, figure out in advance what you’ll do in case of rain, and be honest about how you feel about it. If your backup plan is a buzz killer, keep looking