Traveling for your Big Day and feel like you're forgetting something? Here are our top Destination Wedding Planning Must-Do’s for couples executing their perfect celebration getaway!
Account for travel AND rest time while booking.
We will start out really upfront and honest with you; touching down after a long flight and getting married the same day is NOT a “great time saver.”
Some in the past have thought that “getting it out of the way” would be the “most convenient option for guests” so they’d have time to enjoy the rest of their trip exploring. That's a great thought, truly, and we understand you mean well for everyone… but don’t forget about YOURSELF!
You are bound to be tired from all the emotional buildup around making this destination wedding possible, plus all that packing and organizing is a LOT of work; take a day to CHILL! Seriously, everyone else who traveled will be thankful for the day to recoup and start fresh without that gross “after flying” feeling.
This goes for post-wedding as well! Flying out immediately after the event is doable but could be better. Weddings are EXHAUSTING, and you deserve time to RELAX. Enjoy the new married life somewhere you love!
Use local vendors for physical products.
Whether you are traveling a state away or across the world, buying local will likely be cheaper. Travel fees are often based on mileage, so a long drive can increase expenses QUICK, and a plane ride even more so!
Some products simply need help to handle the plane ride. Floral is the perfect example! Try as you may; floral won't hold up on the flight- if you can even get it on board in the first place. Some states (like Hawaii) do not allow agricultural products (like fruits, veggies, and FLORAL) and won't hesitate to toss that gorgeous expensive decor right in the trash. If you are traveling internationally, don't even try; we promise you'll run into more trouble than it's worth!
Fake floral, floral alternatives or no floral at all are options as well, but if you are set on the real floral vibe, then source it locally.
Florists in the area know what is currently in season for that specific zone, have access to resources you likely do not, and are familiar with the venues. Get your floral inspo from artists in that area as well!
Get a hotel block for your Destination wedding guests.
Ensuring guests have somewhere to stay while attending your event is crucial to easing both their stress and your own. You don't want to book a venue but later find out there is no local accommodation for your guests! This can decrease your guest count significantly, as people may have to pay more to stay further away if the nearest place books out.
Calling nearby Hotels, Air B&Bs, Resorts, VRBOs, or even family and friends in the area to figure out arrangements for your guests will help out everyone involved, and a bonus- they often offer discounts for multiple bookings at once! Discounts? Yes, please!
If you let guests book independently, we recommend adding suggestions for staying places inside your invite. If you did place a block, let the guests know this in the invite as well so they are prepared at check-in!
Ensure the license has been submitted/filed through the proper state channels.
Suppose you are originally from Washington State and are going to Oahu, Hawaii, for your Destination Wedding. In that case, you cannot file for a license in the state of Washington. If you are originally from Scottsdale, Arizona, and heading to Los Angeles, California, for your ceremony, you can't file in Scottsdale. Does this make sense?
All you have to do is register for your license where you are getting married. Remember, this takes time, so applying online a week or so prior is wise (it takes at least 3 days to process). Sure, simple enough… Except there is one more thing.
Remember that whoever officiates the ceremony must also be licensed to do so through that specific state. That's right if your sweet friend Timothy decided to kindly officiate for you and applied for his officiating license through the state he lives in and NOT the state he's officiating in….. Bad news. Your "wedding" is not valid (legally speaking). Big yikes! Don't let this happen to you, and ensure that the officiant is licensed in the correct area.
Get TSA PreCheck (and Passport if needed).
If you travel out of the country, the Passport thing isn't optional; it's required. If you already have one, great; make sure it isn't still valid! If you haven't still need to make an appointment to obtain your Passport or renew it and plan to leave the country, stop reading this and put in your application NOW. This process takes MONTHS, and it would be horrible to miss your own event due to procrastination.
TSA-Pre-Check is another must-do before your big day travel if you want to spend less time waiting and more time toasting at the airport bar! It's easy to apply for, gets you through the airport line in minutes, and doesn't cost you a nickel. Do future you a favor!
If you feel like treating yourself and can afford the extra splurge, book first class. We promise you that having a muscle spasm from sleeping funky on a plane is not what you want on your wedding day. Plus, free booze; must we say more?
Make a plan for your attire during travel.
We aren't asking you; we are BEGGING you. PLEASE keep the dress in the suitcase! Some choose to ship their dress/suit/tux/whatever fabulous wardrobe chosen. Others choose to purchase their attire in the city they plan to be wed and pick it up when they arrive. And some… Well, some stuff them in their suitcases.
If you are the suitcase stuffer, it's okay; we aren't judging you. If you pack a steamer or have a wrinkle/crease plan! We are NOT referring to the dryer in the Air B&B either; make sure to either stop by a store when you land or ask the venue if they have a steamer if you still need to pack one. It will make a WORLD of difference in your photos!
If worse comes to worse, try the old shower steam trick the night before the wedding. Remember not to SOAK the outfit; you don't need to be damp and uncomfortable on your wedding day!
Hire a Destination Wedding Coordinator.
Ultimately, suppose you have a specific vision and need help executing it, or it makes you anxious about figuring out the little details. In that case, you should hire a Destination Wedding Coordinator.
These wedding pros are trained to resource reputable vendors in the area, assist in booking those hotel blocks, account for things you may need to remember, and ensure your Destination Wedding is exactly as you envisioned.
It isn't as expensive as you may think, either! Some Wedding Coordinators (we included!) offer Free Destination Wedding Coordination Services as long as you provide us travel & lodging during the event. Here is an example: Say you are from Washington hoping to marry in Las Vegas, Nevada. If plane tickets are $199 each, and the hotel is $70 per night, the package total would be less than $600. A 6-hour package alone is usually $1,000, so it's even CHEAPER if you are a destination client!
People love to travel, us included. We'd love to hear from you if you need assistance for your dreamy destination wedding! Where are you headed off to for YOUR event? Schedule your free consultation with us at www.cascadiaweddingsandevents.com
*Photos from Miranda Jade Photography