No matter where you celebrate your wedding, the guests who come to watch your nuptials in person will be delighted to witness such a display of love. Still, there’s something even more special about a destination wedding — maybe it’s the fact that it blends the adventure of traveling with the joy of experiencing that everlasting love we already mentioned.
And that’s precisely why you’ve decided to take your “I dos” somewhere other than your hometown or the city in which you reside. Now, all you have left to do is figure out how to put together a wedding from hundreds or thousands of miles away. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered.
Here’s your guide to throwing the destination wedding of your dreams.
Select the Perfect Spot
Chances are, if you’re thinking about having a destination wedding, you already have a spot in mind. Maybe it’s a particular city or a gorgeous resort or somewhere off the beaten path that holds a special place in your heart. Regardless of where it is, start by pinpointing your location.
In your research, make sure there’s a lot for your wedding guests to do. Most destination weddings will require them to stick around in your chosen city for a few days, so the more activities available, the better. Post a list of suggested activities on your wedding website, too — that way, everyone will be even more hyped about the chance to travel and attend your nuptials at the same time.
Provide Trip Prep Tips
Your wedding website is a powerful tool in preparing your guests for your big day, especially when everyone’s traveling to experience it. Not only will it create anticipation for a far-flung getaway, but it will also help them to ensure they have everything they need to travel to your chosen locale.
So, provide guests with a packing list tailored to your destination. If there’s a beach, and the resort charges for towels, suggest that your guests bring their own. Or, if there are hiking trails near the mountain lodge you’ve selected, remind everyone to bring boots or sneakers so they can take a few picturesque walks.
Book Services for Guests in Advance
Your destination wedding is at a resort with an incredible pool. However, in order to get a seat a said pool, your guests would have to wake up at 7 a.m. every single day or pay a hefty sum to rent a cabana.
You don’t want to force them into either one of these scenarios, so plan in advance to make these types of activities simple and fun for everyone. Speak to the hotel and see if they will rope off a corner of the pool for your event. Chances are, they’ll save you some seats because you’ve reserved a good chunk of the place for your nuptials.
On top of that, think ahead to the other services your guests might need while they’re there and reserve those, too. This is especially true for your attendees who are bringing their kids — scheduling babysitters will take a huge weight off of their shoulders. Think about anyone else with a unique need and plan accordingly for them, too.
Connect Your Guests
You know everyone coming to your wedding, but they might not all know each other. So, make a point to bring attendees together. You can have hotel staff block off rooms, so all of your friends and family stay near each other and socialize that way. Or, you can have a welcome party, which will allow everyone to break the ice and spend the next few days hanging out before, during and after your nuptials.
Give Them a Ride
Your guests have traveled around the world to attend your wedding, so make the rest of their journeys easy. Start by scooping everyone up from the airport and transporting them to the hotel. You could make this ride even more memorable by hiring a local guide to point out some of the sights on the way in.
Have cars lined up for your wedding day, too, if it’s not taking place at the hotel. Weigh the merits of different types of hirable transportation. For example, a limo is a bit more of an intimate ride, since fewer guests fit inside of the stretched-out vehicles. On the other hand, a party bus can carry more people, which, as the name implies, gets everyone in a festive mood for the reception.
Gift Them with a Welcome Bag
Another grand gesture when welcoming your wedding guests is to have a gift bag waiting for them when they arrive. The hotel staff can hand them out at check-in, or you can have them on-hand at the break-the-ice party we already mentioned.
The gift bags don’t have to be fancy. You might fill them with a few bottles of water and some snacks to get your loved ones through the weekend. You can make them even more special, though, if you add local treats, maps or even a souvenir representative of the trip they’ve taken. You can make these goodies useful by slipping a copy of the weekend itinerary inside, as well as any additional gifts that could come in handy — bug spray or sunscreen, anyone?
Keep Décor Simple
You’ve chosen to take your wedding across the world, so let the backdrop shine through. There’s no need to lug heavy décor from your home all the way to your destination. Instead, pack light and simple pieces that will play up the otherworldly feel of the location — too much will take away from the spot you’ve picked.
This should be your game plan for all the wedding’s events. Choose a theme color and stick with that, whether you’re throwing a welcome mixer, rehearsal dinner or wedding reception. Always rely on the local backdrop for its beauty, as well as its flavor — the more inspiration you can draw from your location, the better.
Give Them a To-Go Gift, Too
As your guests gear up to go home, arm them with one last “thank you” — a goody bag to take on the plane, train or in the car. Again, think about the types of sweets and snacks that’ll get them through that long journey. This is your last chance to express your gratitude for their long trek, so choose munchies that are a cut above what they can buy at an airport shop or road stop.
Planning a destination wedding takes work, but the payoff is huge — you’ll put together the idyllic nuptials of your dreams. And, even better, everyone who comes to witness your “I dos” will love every minute of it, thanks to your careful planning. All there’s left to do is to get started.