Sometimes, wedding planning is going to be stressful enough that you will give serious consideration to just eloping. While eloping is not a terrible idea, it will definitely sadden family and friends who thought they would be invited and involved. If possible, you can plan a destination wedding. The bonuses involve having only the people you care about the most at your wedding, less cost due to less people being involved, and quick planning since the destination usually does a lot of the local work! Here are six tips to help you plan a destination wedding with less stress and staying in your budget.
Don’t fall in love with pretty pictures!
Make sure that the destination you choose suits you (and your partner). Don’t go all out for a beautiful ceremony on a sandy beach in Cancun in the middle of July if you’re pale, sunburn easily, and hate heat and humidity. If that’s what you’re working with, you might have a bit of a struggle feeling comfortable and beautiful on your Big Day. Yes, those pictures your pal posted to Facebook of her cousin’s wedding in Cancun last year were gorgeous, but that doesn’t mean that location would be right for you. Likewise, if you’re an exuberant, sun loving Californian, a ceremony at a castle on some dreary English moor probably wouldn’t suit you much better. Keep in mind that your ceremony should be a reflection of who you are as a couple and that it’s important to select a location where you’ll actually enjoy yourself. Start by getting together with your fiancé and making a list of what’s important to each of you. Do you both love waterfalls? Sparkling cityscapes? Something adventurous like getting married on a helicopter midflight? Use this list to begin your research.
The internet is your friend!
And not just for planning and booking things, either. Don’t be afraid to use all of the resources at your disposal to help you make your wedding fit your dreams. Check out sites like Yelp, Trip Advisor, and even Facebook or Google searches. You shouldn’t just accept everything that a venue, photographer, or other vendor posts on their website as an accurate example of their work quality. After all, they’ve cherry picked those photos/reviews/stories/whatever to show them in the best possible light. If you can’t go and visit in person, some quick (or in depth) sleuthing is your best way to guarantee that the gorgeous little wedding chapel you found online isn’t right next to an open cesspool.
Get (and stay) organized!
Again, use your resources! There are tons of cheap or free wedding organizational tools available from sites all over the web, or you can use something as simple as a Google document or a folder in a shared Dropbox to give you and your fiancé a repository of your locations, ideas, schedules, vendor contracts, and lists of agenda items. Make sure to keep everything related to your wedding in one location, whether you actually print out physical copies and make an old school file or you do everything digitally, you need one go-to place to store all of this information. Pinterest is also very useful for keeping track of things you like, love, or need for your wedding and even for some basic inspiration. Plan Your Destination Wedding with BedandBreakfast.com
In weddings (as in life), you’re rarely going to get everything to go exactly your way. Unless you’ve got infinite resources and control over fate and time (in which case, I could use a new car…) you’ll have to decide what’s absolutely integral to have in your wedding and what you can do without. Hopefully you and your fiancé agree on that subject, but that’s another post entirely… Once you’ve got your list of needs/wants/would-likes, you can start allocating your budget accordingly. Everyone’s priorities are different, so if you want a jaw dropping cake but you’re happy to get married in a second hand dress, you can afford to splurge on that fancy ass dessert. Sometimes couples choose destination weddings as a way to save money, but sometimes they have other reasons. Destination weddings can be very affordable, or they can be extremely elegant, lavish affairs, it’s all up to you and what you have to work with. Just like my advice on locations, however, it’s really important to be realistic about your expectations for your day and for your guests. Take those factors into account when determining your overall budget. Does one of you have a huge extended family that you couldn’t possibly get married without? If so, make sure that either they can afford to go or that you can afford to pay their way. Keep your expectations of your bridal party realistic as well. It’s easy to get swept away in glamor and visions of designer dresses and matching pearls, but if your bridesmaids are in college or only working a part time job, it might not be realistic to expect them to splurge on a flight to your locale on top of hotel, food, and dresses.
Relax and enjoy!
Planning a wedding, even a quick little jaunt to Las Vegas, can be incredibly stressful and time consuming. Your wedding is a big day and it’s understandable that you want every little detail to be just right, but don’t forget to take time and enjoy the benefits of all your blood, sweat, and tears.