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Overseas Destination Weddings

It wasn’t until my husband and I got engaged in beautiful St Lucia that the thought of getting married abroad crossed our minds. If you have ever dreamed of getting married on a white sandy beach with pristine turquoise water, or another amazing location, this dream can be a reality!

Destination weddings are on the rise and you can have your special day overseas. Here are some invaluable tips to consider in planning your special day!

HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER: this talented hire will be responsible for making your ideas come to life. Make sure you get along with your planner and that they understand your vision. Supplying a variety of images or Pintrest can help communicate your ideas more clearly. A good planner will relieve the stress of planning by liaising with the venue, vendors, suppliers, photographer, makeup artist, hairdresser ect. Your wedding planner should be available to answer all your questions and ensure a smooth process. Ensure there is a bullet point check list of who is doing what and the timings on the big day, this is known as a full itinerary. Also make sure you have a breakdown of all the costs for the day and if any payments need to be issued. Appoint someone trustworthy to make any of the payments on you wedding day. Do not plan a wedding abroad until you have actually visited that destination or at least have seen photos from your planner ahead of time to avoid any disappointments. Consider having two receptions, one at your destination and another back home. because some of your guests may not be able to join you.

LEGALITY/FEES: Different countries (even counties in the case with America) have different rules for having a legal marriage ceremony. Ask your wedding planner about the rules and fees. There are several major documents that you will need when planning a wedding abroad. In most of the cases you will need to show the originals:

– Birth certificates

– Valid 5-10-year passports

– Affidavit/statutory declarations

– Confirming single status

– Decree Absolute (if you are divorced)

– Previous spouse’s death certificate (if you are widowed)

– Parental consent if you are under 18 (it can be 21 in other countries).

THE WEATHER: As gorgeous as your location will likely be, ensure your wedding is not being booked during the monsoon/wet season or during a brutally cold month, unless this is what you are looking for of course. If the ceremony is indoors, ask if there is an alternative outdoor space to spill out guests onto. If the ceremony is outdoors, ask if there is an indoor space in case the weather works against you! You must always have a ‘Plan B’ .

Remember to dress appropriately for the weather conditions, for example thicker suits and full length dresses will be too warm and remind your guests to pack accordingly.

Another good idea is having travel insurance in case mother nature throws thick fog or even snow your way which can cause delays or even cancelled flights. This really happens!

SCENERY: Check in with your wedding planner and/or photographer about what areas will be most suitable for terrific photo opportunities. I found having picture examples handy to show helps suppliers understand your needs. Make sure to research the photographer to make sure his style meets your expectations.

INFO SHEET: Your guests may not be seasoned travellers and will want to know the basics (do they need any shots, special medication, logistics of getting to and from the airport ,any accessibility and disability issues ect). Have the details of your wedding, time, dress code, itinerary, suggestion of the best sights, things to do ect. If you don’t have the time to organise this, invite your maid of honour or one of your most organised bridesmaids to support you with this project.

THE DRESS: Again, do your research on the weather when/where you are getting married to ensure your dress is suitable. Have a back up plan if the weather turns out to be cooler than expected, work in a pashmina or an alternative fashion solution. Avoid heavy fabrics like satin, something along the lines of lightweight chiffon or tulle looks great and will keep you cool.

Something most brides to be don’t consider, ( I was one of them) is the fact that your dress may need a whole plane seat all for itself. Most airlines when informed in advance, will have a special spot to store your dress… depending on how big it is!

HAVE FUN: Remember to enjoy your wedding day! The Best advise I received was to remember to breath and take in the moments as a newlywed couple. Its a beautiful, positive, and even euphoric experience, enjoy it… you will be amazed how quickly the day goes by.