An exotic location, close family and friends, and a dream-like marriage ceremony—destination weddings are wonderfully memorable experiences. Getting married on a beach, at a rustic cottage or a historical villa, or in a garden in full bloom in a land far away from home is what magical destination weddings are made of. Whether or not the choice of the destination has a back story, for a couple, the place they say their “I dos” at can have a deeply emotional effect on their union.

Planning a destination wedding can be quite tricky—there are a hundred things to look into and one can never be completely sure of having everything covered; which is why the first and the most important ‘do’ for a destination wedding is to believe that you cannot control everything, and that you should just focus on enjoying the celebrations.

The Dos

Start planning early – Destination weddings need at least 18 months of prior preparation. From booking the venue, blocking tickets and informing guests, to booking accommodation, planning a series of events and taking care of the minor details, you will need a lot of time to plan your big day.
Select the right location – Obviously the most important aspect of a destination wedding is the location. Make sure you visit the location at least once before the wedding to avoid any last minute surprises. As much as you would like to host your wedding at a faraway, exclusive land, remember that your guests have to travel all the way for the event. Make sure there are good flight connections to your destination and sufficient airport transfer available too. You should also look for suitable accommodation for your guests.
Pay for your guests – It is true that destination weddings can go crazily over-budget. So if you are doing this on restricted funds, it can be a challenge. Ideally, invite only close family and friends; and you should pay for their travel and transfer, and their accommodation. Of course, you might get overloaded with extra costs of services your guests use—these are times when you have to just let go and pay up!
Hire a professional wedding planner – A trained wedding planner will have all the details covered and ensure that the guests are taken care of.
Get local gifts for guests – If you want your guests to remember your wedding for years to come, find local gifts for them. It could be native souvenirs, specialty wines, local arts and crafts—anything that brings back memories from the wedding destination and says “thank you

The don’ts

Calling all and sundry – What makes destination weddings different is the guest list. A destination wedding is an exclusive event. Keep the guest list short—call your closest family members and friends. For the rest, hold a small-scale reception back at home. It helps in cutting costs and keeps the event stress-free.
Delay in inviting guests – Give your invitees at least 3-6 months notice so that they can fit your event in their schedule and prepare an itinerary.
Panic – It is natural to feel a little restless because you are on an unfamiliar ground. Things may go wrong in the last minute, but try not to sweat the small stuff. It is your wedding; keep calm and have fun.

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