The Bride’s Guide for Prepping for a Destination Wedding

Planning a Memorable Wedding on a Tight Budget

The COVID-19 pandemic may have initially put a hold on destination weddings, but now, they’re back with a vengeance. According to statistics aggregator Statista, the market for destination weddings was valued at USD 26.8 billion in 2022 alone. Signalling a trend for brides and grooms to take their vows outside their hometown, this market grew exponentially to a value of USD 103.5 billion in 2023. 

Much like revenge travel, couples are ready to go all out for their weddings and travel somewhere new and exciting to make the most of their big day. But something as logistically challenging as a destination wedding won’t be without its hitches, especially for a bride who wants to take a big role in the planning.  

While destination weddings generally have fewer guests, for example, they tend to cost more, as some 40 per cent of couples choose to shoulder these expenses for their family and friends. A bride would also have to be extra conscientious about packing clothing and special items—for example, her dress, shoes, bridal veil, and bridal tights – as being far away from home means tiny leeway to make last-minute changes or adjustments. 

Are you a bride gearing up for your destination wedding? If so, here are some tips that should be useful for your big plans: 

1) Choose Your Location First

Once you’ve settled on a date, you and your groom should work as fast as possible to finalize the location and venue for your wedding. Remember that some destinations can have astonishingly long waiting lists, as many couples have similar ideas to yours. 

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Whether you dream of saying “I do” on a pristine beach, amidst the majestic mountains, or in a romantic European city, make it your priority to settle on a destination that reflects your style and vision for your big day. Be exhaustive about your research on marriage requirements in your chosen locale to ensure a smooth and obstacle-free ceremony.

2) Enlist the Aid of a Wedding Planner

Planning a wedding from afar can be challenging, and if you can afford it, there’s no shame in enlisting the help of a dedicated wedding planner. Many couples that choose to have destination weddings also choose to hire a wedding planner for their big day, particularly because of the planner’s expertise in navigating the unique logistical challenges that come with this type of wedding. 

You can hire a day-of wedding coordinator, or you can opt to hire a local wedding planner who hails from the area. They’ll likely be able to advise you on issues like transportation and lodging for your guests, recommend trusted vendors, and ensure that every big detail is taken care of—thus allowing you to relax more and enjoy the planning process.

3) Craft Your Budget with Care

While planning your special day, it’s easy to be carried away and splurge on a dress, caterer, cake, or more since you’re already going big on the destination. But now’s a good time to remind yourself that the rest of your married life doesn’t stop on your wedding day. You have the rest of your life to live after the ceremony, and it won’t come free of charge. 

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Budgeting is essential when planning any wedding, but it’s especially crucial for destination weddings where travel and accommodation expenses can quickly add up. Take the time to carefully consider all costs, including venue fees, vendor fees, travel expenses, accommodations, and any additional activities or excursions.

The sensible bride will look for ways to stretch her budget without sacrificing quality, such as by booking off-peak travel dates or opting for all-inclusive wedding packages. Keep your financial priorities in perspective for your wedding, and you won’t feel as exhausted or pressured to tighten your belt in the immediate aftermath of the wedding. 

4) Be Purposeful When Choosing the Dress of Your Dreams

4) Be Purposeful When Choosing the Dress of Your Dreams

Shopping for a wedding dress is a highlight for many brides, but when planning a destination wedding, there are additional considerations you should keep in mind. You’ll ultimately need to choose a dress or gown that suits your destination’s budget, climate, and setting. 

It would be good to opt for lightweight fabrics and travel-friendly styles and to either shop or get a dress made with these specifications in mind. Lastly, consider your accessories like your bridal tights and shoes; like your dress, they should be appropriate and comfortable enough for the occasion.

5) Be Strategic about Your Guest List

Next, determine the size of your guest list for your destination wedding. You may want to celebrate with all your loved ones, but keep in mind the logistical challenges and expenses involved for both you and your most important guests. 

Consider hosting smaller, more intimate gatherings or organizing group activities and excursions to make the most of your time together. Moreover, remind your guests to RSVP early to plan, especially if you will be shouldering your guests’ travel and accommodations. 

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Remember, too, that your wedding celebrations don’t have to be limited to the destination itself. If there are guests who can’t go but would love to spend quality time with you and your groom before or after the wedding, make simple plans to celebrate with them at home. 

6) Secure Your Vendor Dream Team

6) Secure Your Vendor Dream Team

To bring to life your vision for your wedding, you’ll also need a reliable team of vendors. Reduce the hassle by researching local vendors in your destination. You can read reviews and ask for recommendations from your wedding planner or other couples who have tied the knot in the same location. 

Be very clear when communicating your preferences, and be extra careful about the fine print. This may be one of the more challenging tasks when it comes to wedding planning as you may not be as familiar with local prices and business practices. When in doubt, again, ask your wedding planner or friends who’ve gotten married there too. 

7) Put the Final Touches on Your Honeymoon Plans

After the wedding festivities, it may already be time to embark on your honeymoon adventure. You may opt to stay longer at your wedding destination for the honeymoon or to jet-set to another location.

Create an itinerary that balances relaxation and adventure, and don’t forget to pack essentials for your post-wedding getaway. This will help you and your future spouse seize the momentum and truly enjoy the magnitude of the experience.

It’s to be expected that a destination wedding will be more challenging to plan than an ordinary one, but if planned well, it could make your nuptials all the more special. Use the tips above to plan the destination wedding of your dreams and start your happily-ever-after on the most positive of notes!

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