Photo: Courtesy of Sandy Malone
Just because you're having a destination wedding doesn't mean you can't do it yourself! Nowadays, getting hitched on a tropical island or halfway across the country on a gorgeous mountainside is kind of the norm. And so is taking the reigns on everything related to your big day, from the favors to the decorations to all the logistics and vendor management. But beware, brides, it's not easy. However, with a lot of hard work and know how, it can be done. Especially if you have a little advice from a seasoned professional.
Destination wedding planner Sandy Malone's new book, "How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional" is a must-read for any modern bride who's determined to plan her own wedding from afar. Full of valuable — like save you from a DIY disaster-style — advice offered in a humorous but totally down to business storytelling tone. Here are five reasons (and trust us, there are many, many more!) you'll want to get your hands on this go-to DIY destination wedding planning guide stat.
1. It teaches you the rules of the land...literally
Turns out, getting a marriage license on a Puerto Rican island (or any foreign place for that matter) isn't always as straightforward as you'd think. Sandy's book schools brides on how to keep up with the ever-changing rules for not only your marriage license but other critical items, like permits, for instance. She also touches on cultural difference and learning to navigate these without burning a bunch of bridges.
2. It shares insider secrets on how not to get screwed over by destination venues and vendors...and how not to screw yourself over either
When you're DIYing your destination wedding, this one's a biggie! Private properties (think beautiful beach houses) can get sold, leaving you venue-less, and new hotels may not be up and running by the time your big day rolls around. Not to mention, vetting vendors from afar is a tough job. Sandy offers her best tips and tricks on how to protect yourself from shady vendors and how to find your dream destination venue without screwing yourself over. She points out why paying people on time will save your butt too.
3. It gives you tons of templates you seriously can't afford to plan without
One of the best parts of this book? All the example templates and schedules Sandy provides for her own destination brides. And we're talking detailed examples at that, which is so incredibly helpful when you have no idea what you're doing and trying to plan a wedding from a thousand miles away. From packing and supplies lists to schedules for your vendors and wedding party, she's got it all (and a lot of stuff on each list/schedule that you probably haven't even thought of but is oh so crucial). Seriously, it's worth buying the book simply for these alone.
4. It will keep you organized, saving your sanity and time
Planning a wedding with a wedding planner is stressful enough, so doing it on your own from afar definitely ain't easy. However, Sandy's book is a legit lifesaver with tons of tips on how to save time and stay organized throughout the entire process, including every month leading up to the wedding and the day afterward. Let's just say, boxes and labels are going to be your best friend for the next year or so. OH, and we also love how she gives it to you straight on the elements of the big day even the best DIY bride shouldn't try to DIY!
5. It's the ultimate etiquette guide for DIY destination brides
If you're a DIY destination bride, you're going to need some (scratch that, a ton of) help from your family and friends without coming across as, well, rude! Sandy shares her secrets for not only getting people to willingly pitch in with projects like the set up and take down of décor the day of and afterward but actually getting them to follow through with their promises. There's also so much etiquette info packed in regarding invitations, welcome bags (how to DIY these, shipping items to your destination, getting stuff while there, etc.) and catering to your guests' needs on the wedding weekend.