Thinking about a destination wedding? Here are some answers to your basic, but pressing questions
Planning a wedding is one thing, planning a trip is another, and planning both is a special talent. Each bride and groom has unique questions, but these are always on the list. Here are the questions you really need to ask to start making decisions about the destination and property.
With destination weddings, either the guest list or the budget is the problem. What is the balance of guest attendance and a great location?
Essentially, guest attendance depends on how affordable and accessible your itinerary is, paired with the travel experience of your guest list. To make the journey easier and more affordable, areas with direct flights from different parts of the country will cut hundreds of dollars per ticket and connection hassle for you and your guests.
On the other hand, those with unmanageable guest lists can solve that problem by choosing a remote destination. Have fun finding out how far your guests are willing to go! No matter what you choose, using a travel advisor will save you and your guests valuable time and money through their partnerships and group rate access, and give your party support through last minute changes and travel mishaps.
Visit the Resort before the wedding to meet with your wedding planner and take a much needed trip with your fiance.
Should we take a trip to the property before selecting the destination or after?
It depends on your budget and style. If you and your fiancé want to take a trip to Mexico and stay at potential venues along the way, we highly recommend it. You will have a better sense of the atmosphere, service, surrounding area, ease of transportation, climate, and more. More often than not, we can get you an upgrade with our affiliates.
Of course, your travel advisor will also be familiar with the area, so if you can’t make it down there, you have more than the internet on your side.
Visiting the destination before you make the choice ensures you both love the choice, and gives you some alone time.
Does the property I choose need to have experience with destination weddings?
Yes! Coordinating the guest list and travel details will be one thing, but you want a wedding planner who knows the area and all of the local vendors. Make sure there is an event planner on staff, or at least a good one they can recommend. Meet with the event planner often—at least twice a week via Skype or email. You’ll want to make sure that the event planner becomes familiar with you, your preferences, and your budget, so they can help make the best decisions.
European Planning or All-Inclusive?
Ideally, the property can offer guests both plans in order to cater to the budget and travel style of each guest. Of course, all-inclusive plans are the easiest to coordinate—order what you want, eat any time, and the price is paid with the room. Another alternative is to consider two sister properties that offer a variety of price points and share amenities.
We are worried about proper marriage documentation. What do we need to know?
In some destinations, the legal requirements are complicated. An easy, pre-planned way around this is to make things official at City Hall before you depart, then invite family and friends to celebrate at the destination. You can still have a ceremony and exchange vows, of course. Otherwise, the rules change per country and you will need to learn the requirements.
We are thinking of taking our honeymoon right after the wedding. Is this a good idea or should we plan a separate trip?
The benefit of combining a wedding and honeymoon is that you are also combining preparation and travel time. The downside is that your wedding and honeymoon can get blurred into one very easily. Remember, your guests are likely staying longer than the wedding, so to start your honeymoon, change properties. We recommend moving to a new area—it’s a new trip, isn’t it?
We are planning on getting married abroad. Is my marriage legal in the United States, and are there religious limitations in other countries?
Almost always, if your marriage is legal in a foreign country, it is legal in the US. Just be sure you have the proper paperwork. Certain countries have requirements that you will need to abide by. If you are planning a religious ceremony, make sure you’ll be able to find an officiate of your religion. For example, in a strongly Catholic country, it may be challenging to find a Rabbi. If it is a same-sex union, make sure the union is legally binding.
For more information about destination weddings and honeymoon planning, contact your Santa Barbara Travel Advisor or our wedding specialist, Erin Zetter.