THE BENEFITS of a destination wedding — breathtaking locales, exciting activities and a close-knit group to share it with — far outweigh the logistical difficulties.
“It’s a little bit more hectic, that’s for sure,” says Chelsea Steffek, owner of iLove Wedding & Event Design in Austin, Texas. “But they’re beautiful and intimate.”
Steffek provides strategic do’s and don’ts that will help make your destination wedding an affair to remember:
Don’t discount the climate.
It’s important to be realistic about your preferences and potential weather-related issues. Do you like hot or cold weather? Beach or mountains? Spring or fall?
“There are climate restrictions that will prevent you from getting married in certain areas,” Steffek points out. For example, getting married on a Caribbean island requires taking the region’s hurricane season into consideration.
Do think about your guests when planning activities.
Guests likely have taken time off work to travel to your wedding, so make sure they’ll enjoy their vacation by considering available activities at potential locations, Steffek says.
Do your family and friends like sightseeing and shopping? Relaxing on the beach and getting a massage? Or are they more the hiking and fishing type? Guests will appreciate your thoughtful approach, and you can relax knowing that everyone is having a great time.
Do consider transportation options and arriving early.
Make sure getting from the airport to the wedding location is not too complicated and that transportation is readily available, Steffek advises. Also, ensure key participants arrive at the destination with plenty of time. The bride and groom should arrive two or three days before the wedding, and parents and members of the bridal party should arrive no later than the day before. Early arrivals avoid problems with late flights or missed connections.
Don’t get caught off guard by the unexpected.
Adding the travel factor to a wedding practically guarantees something will go wrong, Steffek says. So it’s crucial to anticipate possible issues and plan ahead. For example, many brides opt to carry their wedding dresses with them on the plane.
Be sure to talk to the airline ahead of time to confirm this can be done. Also, check how the dress will be stored in the cabin so there’s no confusion when it comes time to board the plane.
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