destination wedding planning for beach side wedding in paradise

From the Experts, Wedding Planning Tips

A Destination Wedding Planner Answers Her 5 Most-Asked Questions

Amira Harris is the owner and destination wedding specialist of Aisle Travel™ based in Calgary, Alberta Canada. Aisle Travel™ provides Canadian couples with full group travel services, destination wedding planning, and customized wedding group experiences.

When initially meeting or having a call with potential new clients, I get asked a lot of questions. Not only about our services, but about destination weddings in general. I welcome it and advise couples to come prepared with as many questions as possible. I find so much misinformation about destination weddings online and sifting through all that information can be overwhelming for couples. This post could have easily been the top 20 questions, however we will start with the five most asked…

1. What are the benefits of a destination wedding?

beach side wedding reception next to palm tree wedding planning

Destination weddings allow couples to extend the celebration from a few hours to a few days. It’s a nice perk to get some more quality time in with your guests. It’s not often that you get to travel with your friends and family as an adult and make some memories in a different city, town or country. Most often, destination weddings are more intimate than traditional weddings and if you have family and friends scattered across the country, it’s an ideal choice to have a wedding away since most would be required to travel anyway.

A destination wedding can also be more affordable than your typical local wedding, which is always important if you have a tight budget. Another great reason to have a destination wedding is to experience a different country or culture that you or your guests normally wouldn’t have an opportunity to do.

2. What are the cons of a destination wedding?

Not everyone will be able to attend and you need to be able to accept that early on. They may not be able to afford it or get the time off, have other prior commitments, or they may just not like to travel. I always recommend that couples talk to their family before deciding on a destination wedding to find out their thoughts. It’s better to find out if a loved one would attend a destination wedding before the planning even starts.

Another con can be a language barrier when working with vendors and suppliers. It can be as simple as a longer lead time to hear back on emails or calls. With destination weddings on resorts, the planning process doesn’t start as soon as the wedding date is booked. It’s usually done at a later time, which can be a pro and con. Some brides like that they can work on other wedding related items, while other brides want to start all the planning right away.

detination wedding reception setup tablescape

3. How far in advance should I book a destination wedding?

On average, you should book 8-14 months in advance to be able to secure the wedding date and travel rates. It also depends on the size of your group. The larger your group, the more time required. You also want to be able to give your guests ample notice so they can make the financial commitment and reserve time off. Another factor is the destination you choose and if you will be doing all the wedding festivities on or off resort. If off resort, more logistics are in play which means that more time is required. This doesn’t mean that if you have less time, it’s not possible to do. It surely can be done in less time since those weddings tend to be smaller groups!

4. How much does a destination wedding cost?

This is always hard to answer since every couple is so unique with their desires for a destination wedding. Some want a simple beachside wedding while others may want an over-the-top event with entertainment, flying in vendors and fireworks. Both would be very different budgets! However, if you are trying to keep your budget on the lower side, keep things simple and keep your guest list small. The more guests you have the higher the cost. The more custom or a la carte options you choose the higher the price tag. Best thing is to set a budget and to discuss with your destination wedding specialist on how realistic it is and how best to allocate those funds towards your dream wedding. They’re the professionals and can let you know early on what type of wedding you can have with your budget.

wedding bride and groom after destination wedding strolling on beach

5. What are the legal requirements for a destination wedding?

Every country has different marriage laws and requirements. Some are simple, but some have extensive requirements to be legally married. We discuss the requirements with each couple, based on the country they are deciding on. Sometimes the legal requirements can be a deciding factor. If it’s too difficult, the couple may decide not to have a destination wedding in that country or may have a symbolic ceremony and do all the legal requirements in their own state or province before departure. This is why working with an experienced destination wedding specialist is so important. The information on legal requirements should be discussed early on in the process which makes the couple’s decision easier.

Whether you are planning a destination wedding or thinking about it, save yourself some time and meet with a professional. They can let you know all the ins and outs and what’s the best options are for you based on your budget, theme, and your requirements. Happy planning!

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One response to “A Destination Wedding Planner Answers Her 5 Most-Asked Questions”

  1. Elisabeth Southgate says:

    I appreciate you helping me learn more about having a destination wedding. I found it helpful when you said to check the legal requirements for the place you are getting married. My fiance and I recently got engaged are considering a destination wedding.

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