About two years ago I had the pleasure to help plan my younger sister’s destination wedding. For me, it was an honor to help her put this amazing event together that will remain in our lives forever. Through the planning we considered the following to have a Dream Destination Wedding:
Choose a meaningful location
My sister chose our late father’s homeland the beautiful island of the Dominican Republic. Since she was not going to have the dream of every girl being walked down the aisle by her father, she decided to go with this location because she felt close to him.
When choosing where in the Dominican Republic, the wedding would take place, she took into consideration a beautiful location where her guests, mostly from the states, were going to not only attend her wedding but also make it into a vacation. My sister chose Sanctuary Cap Cana Resort is set on a tranquil private retreat inside Punta Cana. It’s made up of acres of flawless beaches and oceanfront valley roads with a variety of activities to do such as water sports, outdoor activities, and high-quality restaurants.
Cap Cana holds one of the most spectacular marinas in the world, famous and accredited by international journals for its fishing. This resort, in particular, is an Adults-Only all-inclusive resort that offers luxurious swim-up suites, authentic fine dining venues, and world-class spas as well as live entertainment and so much more.
Notify guests in advance
Be mindful that your guests need enough time to plan to attend your destination wedding. The recommended time to send a Save the Date notice is about nine months to a year. For destination weddings, you should decide on a location approximately a year before the wedding date. This will help your guest plan accordingly and request time off from work and plan to save for this special event.
Embrace the setting to save big
Regardless if your wedding destination is on an Island, City, Desert, Jungle, Forest, or any place you choose, use local and seasonal blooms to cut down the price when it comes to flower arrangements. Consider the free perks to your advantage.
Consider your guests
This goes with notifying them in time about your destination wedding to allow them to make flights and traveling reservations early as well as giving them options to stay at different hotels besides one of your choices for the ceremony and reception. You can try to find hotels that offer different price ranges and are about 10-15 minutes away.
Hire a pro
You should always hire a wedding planner that is local to the location of your choice as this will make your life easier as you may not speak the language or may not have the time to travel constantly to make final decisions for your special day.
Visit in advance
Once you have selected a destination of your choice plan on visiting twice before the wedding date. The first time before booking and then again 3-4 months before the wedding to finalize details such as food and drinks tasting, decor, and marriage license requirements. Also, plan activities for guests before and after the wedding, hair and makeup tutorial, photographer, etc. Try to travel at least five days before your wedding date to make those final decisions before everyone else arrives.
Pick your vendors in person
Although you are hiring a wedding planner on your second trip to the destination visit florists, photographers, bakeries, rental companies (chairs, tables, linens), etc. in person to be able to see what they have to offer.
Budget for vendors
Most venues will offer a total package, but there are also couples that may want to get specific items to be personalized and make their special day memorable and unique. If you’re bringing a specialist from home, cover their travel and lodging costs and book them a room at least 30 minutes away from the hotel or venue.
Stuff the suitcase
If there’s special linen you liked from home, pack it in your suitcase as well as other gift bag items you will be gifting your guests. Most importantly travel with your wedding attire on board and then have it pressed at the hotel. Consider what you can and can’t bring with you.
Tailor your wedding attire to the destination
Depending on the location considers the fabrics to be comfortable and beautiful on your special day. Consider the climate.
Set your priorities
But also be flexible.
Here are some dream wedding destination locations you can consider for your special day:
Thailand – Phuket & Koh
Samui Indonesia – Bali
Melanesia – Fiji
Greece – Santorini, Skiathos, Zante, Rhodes & Crete
Australia – Great Barrier Reef & Kangaroo Island
Tahiti – Bora Bora, Papenoo, Punaauia & Paea
United Arab Emirates – Dubai South
Africa – Cape Town & Natal
Mexico – San Miguel de Allende, Cozumel, Riviera Maya, Los Cabos & Zihuatanejo
Costa Rica – Punta Leona, Arenal, Playas del Coco & Osa Peninsula
Dominican Republic – Cap Cana, Bavaro, Samana & Barahona.