When couples set out to plan a destination wedding, it can be challenging to navigate all the components that go into getting married in a different country. Planning a destination wedding requires careful attention to logistics and details — and one wrong move can be costly.
There are six common mistakes couples tend to make that can ruin their big day. Here is a list of those mistakes and how to avoid them so your destination wedding will run as smoothly as possible.
1. Ignoring Your Guests’ Needs
When hosting a destination wedding group, you have to remember that your guests are going to be at the resort venue for more than just one day. You’ll need to know the needs of your guests to make sure that the location and resort you selected will fulfill those needs.
For example, you’ll want to find out any special dietary needs or food allergies your guests have, like a vegan or gluten-free diet. You’ll also want to keep in mind guests’ physical limitations, especially if you have elderly guests. Some resorts are set on a cliffside and have a lot of stairs and hills, or don’t offer elevators. Contact or have your destination wedding specialist call the resort to ensure they’ll have accommodations.
Determine the needs of guests with children. Most resorts offer kids programs for ages 4-12, but not all will have services for children younger than that. You’ll want to find out if there are nanny services available, and if those are done at a space at the resort or if they can be offered in the guest’s room.
Finally, be sure to provide your guests with a welcome packet that includes all the information they need to know about the wedding weekend, including a schedule of events, directions to the venue, and any other important details.
2. Forgetting to Arrange Airport Transfers
While air travel is usually planned out well in advance, many couples don’t consider how they’ll get from the airport to the actual location of the wedding. This can result in you and your guests getting stuck at the airport, overpaying for ground transportation, or even getting led into a timeshare promotion just to get a ride.
If you’ve hired a destination wedding specialist, they’ll arrange all transportation between airports, hotels, and excursions to give you and your guests a seamless travel experience. Otherwise, be sure to contact a transportation provider four to six months in advance of your wedding to set up a shuttle service.
3. Having Your Guests Arrive Too Late
Many guests assume that they’ll only need to arrive one day before a destination wedding to take part in all the festivities. However, if guests arrive the day before the wedding, they risk flight delays and cancellations that could result in missing the wedding entirely.
To minimize the risk of a missed flight, have your guests arrive no later than two to three days before your wedding date. This will give plenty of buffer time in case anything goes wrong. Additionally, by having guests arrive early, they can acclimate to their new surroundings, enjoy all the activities your destination has to offer, and be well-rested for the wedding festivities.
4. Neglecting to Hold a Room Block
When hosting a group of people at a resort, you absolutely must hold a block of rooms. If you leave it up to chance, you run risks like the resort selling out or guests booking with inaccurate information or higher prices.
Beyond this, there are great perks for hosting a group at a resort, and if not set up right, couples can easily miss out on the opportunity to earn things like free rooms, free upgrades, free events like a cocktail reception, and more. These extras can save you thousands of dollars on your destination wedding.
As you might imagine,this is one of the main reasons that couples choose to hire a destination wedding specialist to assist them with planning a wedding away.
This leads to mistake #5…
5. Forgoing a Destination Wedding Specialist
Many couples will choose to work with either a traditional wedding planner or a travel planner, but the best option for couples planning a destination wedding is to work with a destination wedding specialist.
This way you get the best of both worlds – a travel planner who can handle the logistics and nuances of setting up and managing group travel, as well as an expert who understands the ins and outs of planning a destination wedding abroad.
A destination wedding specialist has connections and first-hand knowledge that will not only help couples save thousands of dollars, but will save them a ton of time, and have venue recommendations that a couple may not find on their own.
6. Booking Directly with a Resort
Many couples will try to book their destination wedding directly with a resort, the problem is these resort and wedding staff agents are maxed out more than ever from the post-COVID travel boom. This leads to poor response times, frustrated guests, and bad contracts that can leave you owing penalties and fees.
It’s better to let a destination wedding professional help you put everything together, set up a favorable contract, set up a room block, and ask your guests about any special needs they have.
There are many things to consider when planning your destination wedding. If you ignore these key points, plan on the possibility of facing some pretty significant issues down the road. Of course, the good news is that a lot of problems are preventable if you just plan effectively from the outset.
For an exceptional destination wedding without the stress, see what our team at Destination Brides can do for you.