Destination weddings are, for most people, the ultimate picture of luxury. Not only do you get to marry the love of your life, but you get to do it in a beautiful locale and create memories you'll cherish forever. But the logistics of a destination wedding are a little more complicated than the rose-colored fantasy -- questions of how you'll get there, when you'll need your passports by, and others can overwhelm you and your soon-to-be spouse. If you're looking to have a destination wedding but need a little help getting there, here are some tips and tricks to help you on your way to a smoothly sailing wedding.
Timing is everything
It's a saying true in love, and definitely true when planning a destination wedding. Choosing when to get married will decide everything from plane ticket costs to hotel availability, and so you'll want to plan accordingly. The best tip that can be given is this: plan on going during shoulder season.
"Shoulder season" is a term for the times immediately before and after the high season -- the slopes leading up to and down from the busiest time of the year. From late April through late August is generally considered the travel high season, so plan a wedding at the end of March or in the beginning of the fall, such as a week or two into September. Booking your plane tickets, hotel, and venue for the shoulder season will allow you good weather and shopping while not breaking the bank.
Go before you wed
Going to the place you want to get married in is key when planning a destination wedding. If you can, try to plan going a year before you plan to wed; not only will you get an idea of the pricing of travel, but also firsthand knowledge of the weather at that time of year. You'll also want to check the rules of residency for the place you want to get married in; while places in the Caribbean such as Jamaica only require 24 hours in the country before you can get married, other countries such as Italy recommend to come 4 days at the latest before your wedding date in order to fill out the correct paperwork..
Plan your dress and activities carefully
While you already know you'll need to get a wedding dress or a tux that fits your locale -- a nice, summery dress for a beach wedding or a dressy three-piece suit for a more temperate climate -- don't forget about your wedding party and your guests. Make sure (once again) that you've taken note of what the weather will be like, and tell your guests to plan for every eventuality. Though the weather in the Caribbean, for example, is usually good, you'll want to make sure you have a plan in case a storm touches down. If you're counting on an outdoor wedding, make sure you have the option for a covered pavilion, in case Mother Nature sees fit to add a little moisture to your nuptials.