Happy Wedding Wednesday! We are excited to announce a new segment featuring our behind the scenes blogger who recently got engaged! Michelle’s wedding story will follow the course of two years as she plans a destination wedding in Puerto Rico, where she said “Yes!” to the ring! Destination weddings have gained popularity over the last couple years to combine the nuptials into the honeymoon, and bring friends and family on a fun vacation. We have some great tips to keep in mind while planning to say “I do,” in a different country.
1. Think like you’re buying a house, it’s all about LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! For example, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds married in the charming southern town of Charleston, South Carolina. Known for its southern charm they chose the beautiful Boone Hall Plantation as their wedding venue. The historic “Avenue of Oaks”, a 3/4 mile long entrance to the house nestled between live oaks planted in 1743, welcomes guests as they travel up the drive to the property.
The historic “Avenue of Oaks”, a 3/4 mile long entrance to the house nestled between live oaks planted in 1743, welcomes guests as they travel up the drive to the property. Set behind the ornate gates is a Colonial Revival plantation house and sprawling gardens original to the property. Pick the location that best allows you to take advantage of the destination’s natural beauty.
2. Get married before you go! This might sound strange but it will save you time and money. Every destination has a specific set of rules surrounding how long you must be a resident before marrying. Filing your paperwork locally will eliminate having to spend money on the front end for extra nights and costs associated with traveling to government offices. Just make sure that you don’t change your name before your trip to avoid hassles while traveling. All of your travel documents must show the same name.
3. Most resorts have a person responsible for group accommodations. However, you should also make sure they have someone available to you who specializes in weddings. Ask the resort what services their planner is able to provide, their experience with weddings, if they have relationships with reputable local vendors and if there is a designated contact person for you and your guests. Doing so will help to eliminate unforeseen expenses and save you the expense of having to hire a wedding planner at the last minute.
4. Research your destination’s weather and local calendar of events before booking your date. Many destinations experience severe weather such as hurricanes and earthquakes during certain times of the year. Before booking, check a weather almanac to see what seasonal weather patterns the destination experiences so that you are not walking into a disaster, literally. You also want to be sure that you avoid peak tourists’ seasons. A wedding in Cancun, Mexico during Spring Break is a really bad idea unless wet t-shirt contests are your thing.
5. Purchase travel insurance. I always recommend travel insurance for my brides having destination weddings and those traveling for their honeymoons. Every wedding is an investment more so if you have a destination wedding. Wedding insurance protects this investment throughout each phase of planning, travel and the event. It is best to obtain insurance from the start of your planning. The cost of your insurance policy is dependent on what is being covered; if any of your vendors are uninsured it is also in your best interest to include them in the policy as well.
6. If you are traveling to a foreign country make sure you educate yourself on their entry requirements. A passport is now required for entry into most foreign countries. Check the U.S. Government’s travel website for entry requirements and any travel alerts for your destination.
7. Be kind to your guests. Give guests lots of time to plan and pay for the trip. Secure a group rate and provide several options for accommodations at all price points so every budget has an option to consider. Also, pick a location that has a little something for each of your guests.
When researching pay close attention to excursions offered, fine dining choices, spa services and kid friendly activities if you are allowing children. Finally, if your budget allows you to do so, host a welcome dinner or a group excursion to thank your guests for traveling to your wedding. Just be careful to not pack their schedule full of activities, they want to explore too!
Now, to introduce Michelle!
We asked a couple questions how she’s transitioning from being a beauty blogger to a bride-to-be. Do you feel like you already have an advantage knowing a lot about wedding planning? How is your timeline going to play out over to years? Any date?
No date yet. We’re focusing on enjoying the moment. That’s a tip I learned from the Bride Next Door! We told all our friends and family but haven’t jumped to make any major decisions yet… except for the fact we want it to be in Puerto Rico where we got engaged. Everyone we’ve talked to loves the idea and we think it’s only fair to let people save up and plan. We want it to be the ultimate vacation. We’re just too excited to start pinning down any details yet. There are so many beautiful options we want to take our time.
Stay tuned for more coming up from our Blogger To Bride. We’ll be checking in with our Bride Next Door who is finalizing her details as she counts down to being 6 months away from her wedding date!
Until next time, happy planning!