Traveling With A Group

Tips For A Great Destination Wedding

Some people want to have a huge wedding near home and invite everyone they know. Others want to have a smaller wedding but hold it in a unique place. If you fall into the latter camp and are planning a destination wedding, then you might find that a lot of the more traditional wedding planning advice doesn't apply to your situation. Nevertheless, there are some tips you should follow for a smoother and more enjoyable experience.

1. Choose an all-inclusive resort.

With all of the wedding details to plan, you really don't want to be worrying about other details, like what everyone will eat for lunch the day before or how people will arrange for transportation between the hotel and the wedding site. When you book at an all-inclusive resort, you get to skip much of this planning. Everything will be right there on-site, so you do not have to separately plan transportation or meals. You know everyone in your party will be taken care of and in the right place at the right time.

2. Give guests plenty of notice.

You're not just asking guests to spend an evening with you. You're asking them to take a vacation. As such, you need to give them plenty of notice so that they are able to take time off from work, budget for the occasion, make plans for their pets while they are away, and so forth. If you can give guests your wedding date a year in advance and tell them it will be a destination wedding, that's a good start. You can fill them in on more details — like the location — later on. However, you should make sure they have most of the details with no less than three months to go.

3. Arrive early.

You do not need all of your guests to arrive days in advance of the wedding if they cannot manage this. But you and your spouse-to-be should arrive early. Giving yourself about three days at your destination before the actual wedding will give you plenty of time to sort out the details, get over any jet lag, and simply relax. You may want to have one or two friends arrive early with you for emotional support, but everyone else can come the day before the wedding.

4. Save money when you can.

There will be expenses that come up that you did not plan for. For example, the resort may charge a fee for using the beachfront outside the accommodations, or the caterer may charge more if your party is after 3 pm. To ensure you're able to pay for these sudden expenses, take advantage of any money-saving opportunities you come across. If you can get a discount for choosing white flowers rather than a color (and you don't mind white), go for it. If the resort offers a discount if you book six months in advance, do what you can to plan and book. Money-saving opportunities don't come around often in wedding planning, so take advantage of the ones that do come up.

5. Don't invite too many people.

With a destination wedding, you need to keep things small. Organizing a wedding in Costa Rica for 100 guests, for example, is a huge endeavor and one that very few couples want to embark on. Organizing a destination wedding in Costa Rica for 20, on the other hand, is far more realistic. Invite your close family and friends, and if you fear other people will feel like they've missed out, have a small, casual party to celebrate when you get back home.