Photo: Carlos Andres Varela of Cava Weddings
Choosing to plan a destination wedding allows a couple a ton of creative freedom and the chance to share a singularly spectacular experience with their closest friends and family. But an overseas wedding is not without its caveats. Unlike celebrations hosted in home terrain, destination weddings require significant attention to minute details that normal aren't a concern stateside. From monitoring the exchange rate to securing your marriage license with the correct party, read on for the key things brides always forget to consider while planning a destination wedding.
1. The Exchange Rate
A wedding budget is complex enough without considering the foreign exchange rate, but couples must remember to make allowances for inflation, so they don't accidentally double their expenditures. "When budgeting, be sure to factor in the exchange rate if planning abroad," insists Julie Savage Parekh, Creative Director of event design company Strawberry Milk Events.
2. The Travel Logistics
During the process of planning your jet set fete, remember that guests may not be as adventurous or versatile in terms of travel. In order to avoid entertaining a group of weary globetrotters on the big day, Parekh suggests that brides ask themselves several fundamental questions before committing to a destination wedding venue. "Is the wedding venue relatively close to the airport? Or is there more travel involved once guests arrive? Keep in mind some locations could take several more hours to get to after flying into the airport depending on location," Parekh recommends. "If [you're] tying the knot abroad, will it be in a major city or somewhere that requires flying into a major city, and then taking a train and/or rental car to get to a quaint town in another part of the country?"
3. The Local Fare
A Tahitian vanilla cake with buttercream frosting and fondant roses may be the nuptial norm in the Unites States, but Parekh warns brides to prepare to substitute a local delicacy should their multi-tiered confection fail to materialize. "If you're having your wedding in a small town in France, for example, you may find that asking the small local bakery to do a traditional croquembouche or macaron tower will likely be a safer bet than asking them to reproduce an American style wedding cake from a photo you give them. It will also incorporate more local flavor!"
4. Your Baggage
While a backyard wedding simply requires a well-appointed limo and a garment bag for your gown, a destination wedding requires more forethought in terms of transportation and luggage. Todd Fiscus of award-winning event planning company Todd Events advises brides to plan ahead with their airline before braving the security line to ensure a smoother trip. "Call your airline before departing and let them know you'll be carrying a wedding dress on the plane. Often they will let you go on pre-board so you can hang it in the front closet!" Fiscus proposes. Fiscus also recommends packing well before departure to keep stress at bay.
5. The Marriage License
Though it may not seem as pressing as securing a location or finding the perfect local catering company, procuring a marriage license for a destination wedding should take top priority. Just as each state possesses varying requirements for a marriage license, each overseas locale has a different procedure for obtaining a marriage license. Before settling on a reception space, or even a locale for your nuptials, make sure you understand the materials and procedures needed to acquire your marriage license.