How to Plan a Great Destination Wedding

AS REPORTED BY SALLY KILBRIDGE

 

8 INSIDER IDEAS FOR PUTTING TOGETHER A FARAWAY WEDDING EVERYONE WILL LOVE

PART OF PLANNING A GREAT DESTINATION WEDDING IS A NO-BRAINER: STARTING EARLY ENOUGH (18 MONTHS IS GENERALLY A GOOD CUSHION); AVOIDING THE LOCATION’S RAINY SEASON; MAKING SURE PEOPLE CAN GET THERE WITHOUT MAJOR HASSLE (DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT A PLACE THAT REQUIRES MORE THAN A HALF-DAY’S TRAVEL). BUT EXPERTS WHO’VE DONE DOZENS OF DESTINATION WEDDINGS KNOW THERE’S MORE TO PUTTING TOGETHER SUCH A COMPLICATED EVENT. 

 
FOR COUPLES WHO WANT A TRULY INTIMATE DESTINATION WEDDING, FIJI’S TURTLE ISLAND IS PRETTY CLOSE TO HEAVEN; TURTLEFIJI.COM

FOR COUPLES WHO WANT A TRULY INTIMATE DESTINATION WEDDING, FIJI’S TURTLE ISLAND IS PRETTY CLOSE TO HEAVEN; TURTLEFIJI.COM

 

1.     MAKE SURE THE VIPS CAN MAKE IT

EVERY WEDDING GUEST LIST HAS LAYERS. AT THE VERY TOP ARE AS MANY AS 10 TO 20 FOLKS WHO ARE ESSENTIAL TO THE PROCEEDINGS (PARENTS, SIBLINGS, BEST FRIENDS); IF THEY CAN’T MAKE IT, THE BRIDAL COUPLE MIGHT AS WELL ELOPE. SO BEFORE ANYONE GETS TOO ENAMORED OF A NEW YEAR’S WEDDING IN VIENNA OR FIJI, MAKE SURE THE VIPS HAVE THE TIME AND THE FUNDS FOR THE TRIP. IF FINANCES ARE A POTENTIAL ISSUE FOR ANYONE (A YOUNGER SIBLING WHO STILL HASN’T LANDED THAT FIRST JOB), CONSIDER PICKING UP THAT TAB YOURSELF. 

 

2.     HIRE AN EXPERT

MANY RESORTS HAVE ON-SITE PLANNERS (AND SOMETIMES ENTIRE TEAMS OF WEDDING ORGANIZERS); SCOUR THE WEBSITE, THEN GET ON THE PHONE AND FIND OUT EXACTLY WHAT SERVICES ARE PROVIDED. WHILE THE IN-HOUSE TEAM MAY HAVE A FIRM HANDLE ON THE PROPERTY’S VENUES AND CATERING OFFERINGS, YOU MIGHT WANT TO HIRE AN INDEPENDENT PLANNER TO HELP WITH TASKS LIKE COORDINATING AIRPORT TRANSFERS, KEEPING TABS ON VENDORS, AND BEING THERE FOR DAY-OF-THE-WEDDING TROUBLE-SHOOTING. 

 
THE TWO FULL-TIME WEDDING PLANNERS AT THE BAHAMAS’ ONE & ONLY OCEAN CLUB TAKE EVERY BIT OF HASSLE OUT OF LONG-DISTANCE LOGISTICS; ONEANDONLYRESORTS.COM 

THE TWO FULL-TIME WEDDING PLANNERS AT THE BAHAMAS’ ONE & ONLY OCEAN CLUB TAKE EVERY BIT OF HASSLE OUT OF LONG-DISTANCE LOGISTICS; ONEANDONLYRESORTS.COM 

 

3.     DO A RECON

A SURPRISING NUMBER OF COUPLES GET THE WEDDING BALL ROLLING WITHOUT FIRST VISITING THE DESTINATION. AND EVEN THOSE WHO’VE BEEN TO A PLACE A DOZEN TIMES BEFORE PROBABLY HAVEN’T THOUGHT ABOUT THE LOGISTICS OF HAVING A WEDDING THERE. COUPLES NEED TO RESEARCH THEIR VENDORS AHEAD OF TIME, THEN MEET FACE-TO-FACE DURING A RECONNAISSANCE TRIP. IT’S ALSO THE TIME TO CEMENT A BACKUP PLAN IN CASE THE WEATHER DOESN’T COOPERATE, LOOK INTO LEGALITIES (IF YOU WANT AN OFFICIAL WEDDING), AND IDENTIFY VENUES FOR EVERY ACTIVITY. 

4.     CHOOSE MULTIPLE STAYING PLACES

IN ADDITION TO GROUND ZERO—THE HOTEL, RESORT, OR VILLA WHERE MOST OF THE WEDDING WILL BE HELD, AND WHERE THE BRIDAL PARTY AND FAMILY WILL STAY—IDENTIFY A FEW NEARBY PLACES THAT CAN ACCOMMODATE FAMILIES AND GUESTS ON SMALLER BUDGETS.  

 
WHILE ONE OF THE PRICIEST SPOTS IN TOWN, SANTA FE’S INN OF THE ANASAZI IS SURROUNDED BY SCORES OF FAMILY-FRIENDLY STAYING SPOTS; ROSEWOODHOTELS.COM

WHILE ONE OF THE PRICIEST SPOTS IN TOWN, SANTA FE’S INN OF THE ANASAZI IS SURROUNDED BY SCORES OF FAMILY-FRIENDLY STAYING SPOTS; ROSEWOODHOTELS.COM

 

5.     THINK ABOUT KIDS AND SCHOOL VACATION

BERMUDA IN MAY IS SUBLIME, BUT NOT FOR GUESTS WITH KIDS STILL IN SCHOOL. EITHER CHOOSE A TIME WHEN FAMILIES CAN TRAVEL TOGETHER, OR REALIZE ANY PARENTS ON YOUR GUEST LIST MAY HAVE TO DECLINE THE INVITATION

TIME IT RIGHT AND KIDS WILL BE ABOUT TO ENJOY THE CHILDREN’S PROGRAM AT TUCKER’S POINT, IN BERMUDA; 

TIME IT RIGHT AND KIDS WILL BE ABOUT TO ENJOY THE CHILDREN’S PROGRAM AT TUCKER’S POINT, IN BERMUDA; 

6. CONSIDER YOUR PERSONAL PRIORITIES

IF FRIZZY HAIR IS THE BANE OF YOUR EXISTENCE, HEADING FOR A TROPICAL SPOT KNOWN FOR ITS RAINFORESTS AND BALMY TRADE WINDS IS GOING TO ADD ONE MORE LAYER OF STRESS TO YOUR PLANS. MAYBE YOU SHOULD THINK ABOUT PLACES WHERE A GOOD HAIR DAY IS GUARANTEED. HOW ABOUT QUEBEC IN NOVEMBER? SCOTTSDALE IN APRIL? HAVING ONE LESS THING TO WORRY ABOUT ISN’T A BAD REASON TO CHOOSE A DESTINATION. 

THERE’S NO NEED TO EVEN THINK ABOUT A BAD HAIR DAY WHEN YOU MARRY AT QUEBEC’S ICE HOTEL; HOTELDEGLACE-CANADA.COM

THERE’S NO NEED TO EVEN THINK ABOUT A BAD HAIR DAY WHEN YOU MARRY AT QUEBEC’S ICE HOTEL; HOTELDEGLACE-CANADA.COM

7.     CHECK THE LOCAL CALENDAR

WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW THAT IT’S COMING, SOMETHING AS INNOCUOUS AS AN ANTIQUE CAR RALLY IN A SMALL NEW ENGLAND TOWN CAN WRECK HAVOC WITH A WEDDING—TAKE IT FROM SOMEONE WHO’S BEEN THERE. CHECK THE LOCAL EVENTS CALENDAR BEFORE DECIDING ON A DATE, SO YOU’RE NOT SCHEDULING YOUR WEDDING FOR A DAY WHEN TRAFFIC WILL BE A NIGHTMARE. IF GUESTS WILL BE COMING FROM SEVERAL DIFFERENT STARTING POINTS, HAVE SOMEONE DO A RUN-THROUGH THE DAY OF THE WEDDING AND LET PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT ANY ROAD CLOSURES OR DETOURS.  

 

8.     BE SMART ABOUT THE WELCOME BASKET

ABSOLUTE MUSTS ARE A WELCOME NOTE, A COPY OF THE ITINERARY, A MAP TO THE VARIOUS VENUES, AND CONTACT INFO FOR THE PERSON WHO CAN ANSWER QUESTIONS (NOT THE BRIDE!);  A LIST OF ALL GUESTS IS A NICE PLUS. PEOPLE APPRECIATE A LIGHT SNACK AND BOTTLED WATER, BUT YOU DON’T NEED AN ENTIRE WINE AND CHEESE BASKET. IF THERE ARE ISSUES WITH MOSQUITOES OR OTHER PESTS, A BOTTLE OF BUG SPRAY WOULD BE SMART. AND IF YOU’RE INCLINED TO PRINT UP SPECIAL WEDDING T-SHIRTS OR BASEBALL CAPS FOR THE GANG, ONE WORD: DON’T.