Before Chris and I even got engaged, we knew we wanted to get married in New England. I grew up spending my summers in New England, and it was really important to both of us to get married in a place that was special and had meaning to both of us. The idea of picking New England as our destination wedding was exciting; however, we knew we needed to do our research and not rush into the decision. Here are the 5 tips to keep in mind before committing to a destination wedding!
1. Know Your Budget
Before entertaining the idea of a destination wedding, have the conversation on what your budget is. Not your ideal budget, but the actual hard numbers. Remember to add in travel and hotel expenses (as much as you can). If you pick a destination where venues and vendors are limited, be prepared to spend more than you normally would in your hometown.
2. Prioritize Your Must Haves
With vendors and venues being more limited with a destination wedding, make a list of your must haves. For example, if you can’t live without a band make sure that is on the top of your list and start researching early! The band and photographer that we wanted was already booked – a year out! Also, keep in mind that your must haves may come with hidden fees. A New England example – most of the best bands are in the Boston… so keep in mind that you have to pay for their travel, a hotel room per band member and dinner for each member. So if you choose a 7 person band – you have to pay to feed and house 7 extra “guests”. If you are cool with that, be willing to be flexible in other areas.
3. Research, Research, Research!
I cannot stress this enough! Before putting down a deposit on anything, especially a venue that is usually non-refundable, do your research! I was lucky to be able to rely heavily on friends who live in the area, but I also did some serious research on The Knot and Wedding Wire. If you aren’t getting married in Mexico which usually has all-inclusive wedding resorts, the research and finding vendors will be all on you. Be prepared to really trust other people’s online reviews and make multiple trips to your destination for planning purposes.
4. Understand (and be okay) With Less Guests
Although you and your fiance may be over the moon with excitement for your destination wedding, keep in mind that not everyone will be able to make it to the event. Asking your guests to travel (especially if it includes a flight and hotel) can be too much of an expense for some. It is important to be okay with a smaller wedding and to not let yourself be disappointed if someone who is really important to you just can’t make it. Most destination weddings have a 50% attendance rate. Who knows, you could be surprised and have a higher attendance than you expected!
5. Be True to Yourself and Your Fiance
I have only been engaged for a few short weeks, and I am constantly reminding myself of this! It’s your wedding – if it’s more important to you to have the most beautiful flowers in the world and sacrifice in another area then do it! It’s YOUR day. Accepting tips and suggestions from friends and family are great to keep tucked away in a Gmail folder, but don’t forget to make the decisions based of you and your fiance. At the end of the day, all your guests are going to remember is how happy you are.
Has anyone else booked a destination wedding?
I’d love to hear your tips and tricks!
– Mallory Anne