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7 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Planning a Destination Wedding

wedding arch with the flower

You probably wouldn’t be visiting our site if you didn’t have a love of the open road and an adventurous soul. It is this wanderlust (and the desire to save a few extra dollars) that drives an increasing amount of couples to hold their wedding in exotic locations far from their own backyard. It can truly be a dream come true for many, but there are frequent hiccups that some brides and grooms encounter that can steer their fantasy nuptials off course. The key is proper preparation; below are seven common mistakes you can avoid.

1. Not knowing the requirements for marriage licenses in your chosen locale

In some countries, it’s not possible to just fly in one day and get married the next. Some have residency requirements that must be satisfied before you can be legally married there. Dreaming of a Paris wedding? Either you or your soon-to-be spouse will need to be living on French soil for at least forty days before you can get a marriage license. Other countries that don’t have residency requirements may require you to apply for a license a month or more in advance. Make sure that you know all of the requirements for a legal marriage in your destination of choice and apply for all the necessary paperwork on time. And be sure to also bring along all essential documents you need — such as passports and birth certificates; packing photocopies of the original is always a wise choice. Visit  Monastery.org to find out about the various requirements of locations all over the globe.

2. Not visiting the wedding site first

Yes, it can be expensive to visit your destination just once for the wedding, but you should really visit it long before the big day arrives. A destination can look very different in an online photograph than it does in person, so you need to know exactly what to expect when you finally float down the aisle.

3. Not choosing the right time of year

Planning a destination wedding in the Caribbean during the height of hurricane season may not be the best idea. Know the typical weather patterns for the area you choose and select a time when the weather is usually at its calmest to avoid Mother Nature’s surprise visits. Furthermore, find out when the “peak” season for the region is and, if your goal is to save money, avoid this timeframe. Traveling during the shoulder season will not only help you shave thousands off the price tag, but it can also guarantee environments that are not overwhelmed with tourists.

4. Not dressing for the weather

When it comes to finding the perfect gown for your destination wedding, practicality should be at the top of your list. When you’re trying on the ensemble, really question whether you’d want to wear the fabric when the hot Caribbean sun is beating down on your shoulders, or whether the stilettos are really appropriate for the Rocky Mountains. Whether you plan on walking barefoot across sand or through a windy trail in the woods, we recommend considering a gown with a higher hemline that won’t get tangled or dragged through the grime. Wedding dress retailers like David’s Bridal and Helene Bridal have separate sections of their websites specifically for shorter gowns, making the hunt easier.

5. Not letting your guests and wedding party know your plans far ahead of time

If you expect your friends and family to travel for your wedding, they’ll need to know far ahead of the wedding date so they can arrange for time off from work. If they have kids, they’ll need time to decide whether to bring the kids with them or arrange for a caretaker. Plus, let’s not forget that setting aside money for the flight may not be an easy task that can achieved in only a few months. The earlier you can let your guests know about the possibility of a destination wedding, the easier it will be for you and them!

6. Not checking into group rates for your guests

Asking your friends and family to travel to distant locations for your wedding requires a big financial commitment from them. Why not make things a bit easier on their wallets by checking for group rates for hotel rooms and flights? Your guests will thank you for it and everyone will be happier. Many airlines like Southwest, Delta, American Airlines, and many more all offer group travel rates to take the hassle of our planning. If the hotel you and your groom are staying at is quite pricey, you can find a group deal for the rest of your guests on Hotel Planner just by doing a search for the location, date, and type of group.

7. Not hiring a wedding planner or travel agent who works with destination weddings

Planning a wedding in your hometown can be stressful enough, let alone coordinating one that takes place thousands of miles away. Save yourself some stress by hiring a professional who knows the area, has the best rates, and has experience in working on destination weddings. View his or her portfolio and don’t be afraid to ask the professional any random questions you may have, regardless of how obvious you think the answer may be.

Having a destination wedding is a huge investment of both time and money for everyone involved. By considering all the obstacles you’ll face ahead of time, you’ll make the process easier so you can relax and enjoy your big day.