SURVIVAL GUIDE: How to Plan a DIY Destination Wedding

Not Just Travel: How to Plan a Destination Wedding
After spending infinite number of hours scrolling through Pinterest building your inspiration board for your dream destination wedding, something suddenly hits you while pinning your nth easy DIY wedding giveaway pin – I can do this.

And before you knew it, you went from pinning 5-minute wedding projects to looking for tips on how to plan a DIY wedding, to crossing a line that cannot be crossed, yes, you made a new board for your DIY destination wedding.

But while it’s easy (and honestly, understandable) to go crazy building your inspiration boards, it’s not so easy to keep your sanity when it comes to making your ideas a reality. So here are some survival tips on how to plan a DIY destination wedding:

Pick a destination – and actually go there.

In the age of Photoshop, every destination (in fact, everything) looks great in a photograph. But if you’re planning on having your wedding day in a popular destination, it’s probably best not to put all your trust in a (possibly meticulously edited) photograph.

Instead, consult with a trusted travel agency, book a flight, and go there.

As much as possible, try going during the same season that you’ll have your wedding. This way, you can already make a lot of your wedding decisions based on your personal experience which you can relay to your guests.

For example, how easy or difficult was the travel? Was it easy or difficult to book a hotel? What kind of clothing is the most suitable? How much is the ideal budget per person?

This is going to be especially helpful for couples who plan to have a beach wedding in popular destinations such as Hawaii, Bali, or Seychelles where there are a lot of tourists during peak season, when the weather is the best.

Consult with a travel agency to get group discounts.

Whether it’s airfare or accommodation, a destination wedding means you’ll be footing a portion of the bill for your guests, so it’s best to get the best price by consulting with a trusted travel agency.

Through your travel agency’s partners and your agent’s know-how, you’ll be able to avail of great group discounts on airfare and accommodation.

If your guests are paying for their own airfare or accommodation, you can at least refer them to your chosen travel agency, not just to make it easier for them but also to make sure that they get the best price.

Check the local marriage requirements in your chosen destination

Sure, it’s not as fun as choosing the flower arrangements or cake testing for the reception, but you should also pay attention to the legal side of your destination wedding.

Different countries have different requirements for your marriage to be considered legal and binding. For example, residency requirements are quite common, which can range from 24 hours (certain islands in the Carribean) to 40 days (France).

You can check the requirements for Mexico and the Caribbean here. For Asia, Australia, and Africa, check here. For those planning a destination wedding in the United States, you can check the list per state here.

Create an online group for your guests

You know more than anyone that a destination wedding requires a lot of careful planning. So make sure to help your guests to plan carefully as well by creating an online group for updates.

You can set up a wedding blog and document your initial trip to your chosen destination to give your wedding party an idea on budget, weather, and activities.

A Facebook group is another alternative. This way, you can interact with your guests through status updates. You can also use the polls feature to get your guests’ opinions on certain aspects of the wedding such as group activities, flowers, even your wedding dress.

Make everything (super) easy for your guest as a way of saying thanks

According to this guide, it’s within etiquette for the couple not to foot the bill for their guests’ travel expenses, so as a way of saying thanks for saving up money or taking time off work to be part of your special day, make sure to make everything easy for them.

For example, arrange transfers to and from the airport for your guests. A lot of them will probably be jet lagged from the flight, so getting them to their hotel as quickly as possible will be an appreciated gesture.

Another thing you can do is to make a gift bag with everything that your guests might need in your chosen destination. If the country your going to doesn’t have English as its first language, include a book of useful phrases that your guests can refer to when they’re doing activities by themselves.

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