9 Things You Can't Forget When Planning a Destination Wedding

by Lyle Daly | Aug. 15, 2019

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A few details can make the difference between having the destination wedding of your dreams, or a disaster.

Bride and groom kissing under an archway of flowers

Image source: Getty Images

Wedding planning is never easy, but if you decide to have a destination wedding, then you’re stepping into the big leagues. You still need to organize one of the most important days of your life, only now, you’re organizing it to be away from home.

If you forget something when planning a traditional wedding, it’s inconvenient. But if that happens with a destination wedding, it could be a huge problem. To ensure that your destination wedding goes off without a hitch, here are the things you can’t forget when you’re planning it.

1. Travel documents

For international destinations, you’ll need to check that you have the travel documents required to visit that country. This may include:

  • A passport
  • A visa
  • Records of any vaccinations that country requires

You can find this information on the U.S. Department of State’s travel site. Just enter the name of the country you’ll be visiting into the search bar.

To help your guests, you should list what they’ll need on your wedding’s website, and give them plenty of notice about the wedding itself. They may need to renew their passports or get some vaccinations, and if you don’t leave them much time for those preparations, they might not be able to make it. 

2. The country’s marriage requirements

Every country handles marriages differently. Some are relaxed in their requirements, and will let you get married with just a valid ID. Others are stricter and could require you and your partner to bring birth certificates, go through a waiting period, or possibly even get blood tests taken there.

If you’ll be in a country that has stricter rules on marriages, you could elect to legalize your marriage at home, and just have the ceremony at your destination.

3. The weather

Although you can save money by having your wedding during a destination’s off-season, you don’t want bad weather to ruin the occasion. Check what the weather is usually like during the dates of your wedding to make sure that you don’t find out last minute that it’s hurricane season.

You should also have a backup plan with the venue you choose in case there’s inclement weather on the day of your wedding. One good option is an indoor area where you can have the ceremony if necessary.

4. Cell phone service

The last thing you want is to arrive at your destination, only to find out that you can’t contact anyone, or look anything up on your phone. Almost as bad is using your cell phone like you always do, and inadvertently racking up an expensive bill because you didn’t have international service.

To avoid this, see if your carrier has an international package you can add to your plan. Another way to go is to purchase a SIM card and a prepaid plan when you arrive at your destination.

5. Group accommodations

Although it’s typically up to guests to find their own airfare, you shouldn’t leave them to fend for themselves when it comes to their lodging.

One way to help them out is by negotiating with a local hotel/resort to get a block of rooms. This can benefit everyone, as hotels will often provide a lower rate per room if you rent out enough of them. If that’s not an option, you can at least recommend accommodations to your guests.

6. Wedding insurance

Hopefully, your destination wedding goes according to plan. But what if there’s a natural disaster, or your luggage gets lost, or some other problem occurs?

Wedding insurance can cover you should a worst-case scenario strike. It will likely cost you $200 or more, but that’s well worth your peace of mind. Many venues offer their own insurance packages, so check with yours to see what options it has available.

7. Electrical outlet adapters

If the country you’re visiting uses different electrical outlets, then you’ll need an adapter to charge your devices or use any electronics that you’re bringing. Otherwise, you could find that you’re not able to charge your phone or plug in your flat iron.

You can often buy an adapter at your destination, but do you want to add another item to your to-do list? It’s better to check ahead of time and get the adapter that you’ll need.

8. A credit card with no foreign transaction fees

You obviously don’t want to pay a 3% foreign transaction fee every time you use your debit or credit card. Although you could get cash, this isn’t convenient, because you’ll either need to make multiple trips to the ATM, or withdraw a large sum in one go, in which case you could end up with extra foreign currency that you don’t need at the end of your trip.

The simplest solution is to get a credit card that doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. Travel rewards cards are a good place to look, since most of them don’t have this type of fee. As an added bonus, they could also help you pay some of your travel costs for your wedding.

9. Extra events

Given that a destination wedding is more of a commitment than a traditional wedding, couples often plan some extra events besides just the wedding itself and the rehearsal dinner. Consider setting up one or two more get-togethers with your guests, such as:

  • A party the night that everyone arrives
  • A wine tasting
  • A spa day
  • Brunch

Planning the perfect destination wedding

A destination wedding is a big challenge, but pulling it off is a great feeling. To do so, you’ll need to plan thoroughly, and make sure that you don’t forget anything important. 

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