Tips from the Pros: Planning Ultimate Destination Weddings

by Meg Massie 
Posted Jan 21st 2011 02:35 PMUpdated Dec 17th 2013 12:38 PM

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destination weddings

Planning a destination wedding? Take a tip from the professionals – they know what works, what doesn't, and who you can turn to prevent last-minute stress. We've queried ten top destination wedding professionals, from planners to hotel staff to come up with a list of must-remember tips.

CONSIDER A NEW LOCATION
"One of the closest areas to our borders for destination weddings is certainly Mexico - it seems that I'm always hearing about Cabo San Lucas... However, I recently discovered the Rivera Maya and the incredible all inclusive Palace Resorts... For any bride wanting to manage her budget and resources while still enjoying a top notch destination wedding - look no further."
- Colin Cowie, wedding and event planner to the stars and head of Colin Cowie Events

MAKE A SITE VISIT
"It will put you and your family members at ease, so there won't be any last-minute questions or concerns." – Zac Campbell, president and founder of Eventful Moments Vallarta

KEEP LEGALITIES IN MIND
"If you plan to bring any vendors with you; such as photographers, make-up artist, wedding planner, etc. please consult with the destination's embassy and make sure you get them all the legal working papers required." – Sandra Aaron, owner of Mindless Sophistication Events

SAVE THE DATE ... EARLY
"Send the Save The Date out nine to twelve months in advance. If air travel is involved and guests might want to extend the destination wedding trip into a vacation (making them more likely to attend) then advance notice is needed Send a detailed Save The Date with either a wedding website to look at information or detailed information on hotels and travel." – Alisa Donohue, owner of Creatively Engaged Stationery

BE FLEXIBLE
"One of the pros of a destination wedding is that it can be unusual and special. That being said, you also need to be flexible and understand that planning from afar means there are things that you cannot control. Discuss what you envision and any concerns you have early on, and then trust that the wedding coordinator will do his or her best to make it happen." – Patti Fiske, wedding and special events coordinator at Divi Carina Bay All-Inclusive Beach Resort and Casino in St. Croix

REFLECT YOUR PERSONALITY ... AND THE LOCATION
"When designing your event, it is important to ensure it is a true reflection of the personality of a couple, though a destination wedding is set apart by tying in cultural and regional elements of the wedding destination to create a lasting memory for the couple and the guests. In Key West, this means sunset weddings over the Gulf Of Mexico, Caribbean Cuisine, Cuban Mojitos, or even Cuban cigar rollers and who can forget the Key Lime Pie!" – Stephanie Happ, Ocean Key Resort & Spa in Key West

THINK BEYOND THE GUEST BOOK
Rather than using a guest book, have guests sign a large map of your wedding destination. Afterwards, the couple can frame and hang the keepsake.
– Bior Guigni, wedding planner at The Fairmont Hamilton Princess in Bermuda

DON'T ASSUME EVERYONE HAS A PASSPORT
"Provide invited guests with enough lead time to make arrangements for passports."
– Vita Martinez, wedding planner at Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Resort & Spa

BE AWARE OF LEGAL REQUIREMENTS
"Most countries will require some form of legal documentation and health tests. Some countries, like France, will only recognize civil marriages - marriages performed by a civil servant; religious ceremonies have no legal status, and should take place after the civil ceremony." – Mary Vaira, owner of ByeByeBride

TECHNOLOGY IS YOUR FRIEND
"You may want to consider live-streaming your ceremony so those who can't make it are able to witness the event." – Larissa Banting, President, Weddings Costa Rica

LOOK FOR AN ALL-INCLUSIVE PACKAGE
"The destination wedding site/resort hotel, etc. usually has a volume discount with vendors and will be the best price you will find-less expensive than trying to put together a la carte. It will save you time as well in picking vendors." - Kathryn Hearn, Social Media Manager at Georgia's Jekyll Island Club Hotel

[Image via Flickr user BethinAZ]


Filed Under: Romantic, Tips & Tricks

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