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How to plan your dream destination wedding

If you’re organising your dream away-from-home nuptials abroad, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But with some careful planning and the help of a supportive wedding coordinator, the process will soon have you bursting with anticipation. Here’s what you need to create a truly inspirational day…

Deciding where to go

Wedding

Deciding on your dream destination

Perhaps you’ve always had a vision of where you want to get married, down to the very spot on the white sand beach of your favourite island resort. Maybe you spent a wonderful holiday together at a special hotel or resort and are thinking of returning to tie the knot. Or perhaps you know you want a faraway setting for your ceremony, but are completely open to what that might be.

Whatever your thoughts on a destination wedding (to download your wedding planning e-book click here), the first and most obvious step is deciding where to go. And along with your own preferences and desires, this step will inevitably involve some practical research:

  • Think about the weather. Consider your own tolerance for heat and humidity, and think about how much you will care if it rains. Be honest with yourself. If you’re set on getting married outdoors, and you know that unpredictable weather could really spoil your day, make sure you choose your location and season carefully.
  • Check out the local laws. All countries will have their own legalities around getting married, and it’s your responsibility to make sure you comply. Do your research around the paperwork you need to complete and the timeframes you need to adhere to.
  • Don’t forget the essentials. This is not so important if it’s just going to be the two of you, but if you want to say ‘I do’ in front of family and friends, you need to make the act of getting there as painless as possible. That means considering costs, flight times, connections, time zones, and transfers at the other end.

Putting the dream into dream wedding

Wedding

Real Constance couple Conor and Natalie making the most of the local flowers and stunning views in the Maldives

Once you’ve decided where to tie the knot, the real fun can begin. Designing your dream destination wedding should be an enjoyable experience, so try not to let pre-nuptial nerves and stress get the better of you. The best way to achieve this is to employ the services of a wedding planner as early as possible – all the more important if you’re trying to organise everything from afar.

The key is to give yourself enough time. A year is ideal, and six months will still work. But remember that if you want people to come you need to make sure they have the time and space to consider all the options and make arrangements. You can making this easier for them by reserving blocks of rooms at your hotel, providing upfront information about the destination, and some pointers on the climate, the itinerary and the local culture.

When you have a final list of who’s coming, you and your wedding planner can start to make your dreams a reality. This is the point where you can decide on the perfect spot for your ceremony, your photos, your wedding meal and your evening bash. Think about the overall vibe you want to achieve, along with your own personal style and the experience you want to create for your guests.

Let your wedding planner know if you’ve got any specific requests in terms of décor, flowers, cake decorations, seating arrangements or anything else, but trust their judgement and local knowledge. Rather than being rigid with your requirements, give them a loose idea of what you’re looking for and see what they suggest. They will inevitably know the venue and area better than you, and may come up with some wonderful ideas you’d never even considered.

Taking good care of your family and friends

Wedding

Beautiful details at Constance Belle Mare Plage, Mauritius

Always remember that your family and friends are here for you and you alone. Yes, they might be taking the opportunity to combine your wedding with a holiday for themselves, but chances are they wouldn’t be in this exact spot, at this exact time, if it wasn’t for your invitation.

Think about what you can do to show your appreciation for their attendance in a way they’ll always remember. This doesn’t need to be elaborate or extravagant – it’s simply about making them feel welcome and valued. If your friends and family are calm and content, you will be too.

  • Consider placing a small gift in the room for your guests to discover on arrival. This could be anything from a scented candle or plate of fresh fruit, to a basket or bag filled with useful, welcoming touches like a pashmina or sarong, local snacks and drinks, a map and information on what to see and do, and maybe one ‘splurge’ item like a bottle of Champagne or a voucher for an excursion, massage or meal.
  • Are there any children in the party? If your resort has a Kids Club you can provide information on what activities are available, arrange to cover the cost of babysitting, or organise for extra amenities to be taken care of like high-chairs, additional beds or cots and so on. It’s just one less thing to for your parent friends to think about.
  • Make sure there are no hidden surprises. The last thing you want is for your guests to be hit with extra costs, find out the one attraction they really want to visit is closed, or be left twiddling their thumbs. Organise some nice things to do in the days before and after the main event, being sure to consider the various ages and preferences of your party. This could be anything from a morning stroll to the local market or a sunset picnic on the beach, to a more structured day of sightseeing, a cooking class, or kitesurfing lesson.

To download your wedding planning e-book click here

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