Planning a destination wedding is a piece of cake with this guide

The perfect helping hand to planning a ceremony abroad

Lara Barakat
Lara Barakat - Special to Al Arabiya English
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Your bags are packed and you’ve got your passport on hand, it’s time to take this show on the road but before you reach this stage, you will have planned the ultimate destination wedding and part two of this guide is the perfect helping hand.

You can read part one here.

A helping hand

Every bride needs a little help from her friends and, in this case, a destination-wedding planner. You need to place your trust into someone who has knowledge of the area, speaks the language and has contact with suppliers. If your venue cannot provide you with a planner, then its best to start doing some research and obtain quotes.

Although you may be somewhat put off by the idea of hiring a planner, trust us when we say that hosting a destination wedding is never easy and you will need somebody to rely on to handle all the nitty-gritty details that may arise during the weeks leading up to your wedding.

Take a trip

Visit your location, either with your future spouse or your bridal team. It’s important to physically go to the venue and organize the details in person. You may also find your self-doing other tasks such as picking flowers, choosing the menu and speaking to the photographer. Have a checklist ready ahead of time so that you can make the most of your trip. If for any reason you cannot visit the venue before your wedding, then you may have to make these decisions electronically, using emails, Skype and even WhatsApp when needed (remember to always ask for visuals).

Arrange backups

When planning a destination wedding, you need to set up the appropriate backups in case of an emergency. For example, if you are hosting an outdoor wedding you will need to discuss lighting options with the venue and your planner. Set the mood with ambient lighting, we love the idea of a string of lights hanging from one side to the other. If you are on the beach, then you will need to consult your DJ about sound equipment, the last thing you want is the sound of loud waves over your music.

Don’t forget your guests too, supply them with appropriate items that they might need during your reception i.e. cover-ups for when it gets breezy, sunglasses for when your love is blinding and of course shade from the sun or rain.

It may be hard to greet all of your guests at the same time, therefore arrange a mini welcome bag that will have all the necessary essentials. Including a personal letter from you and your future spouse.

Get legal

Ask your venue, as well as local authorities, if you can physically get married in the country of your choice? Whether you are hosting a religious ceremony or just a celebratory one, you will need to have the appropriate documents to do so. Some destinations may have restrictions such as residency requirements (meaning you have to be residents of that country to legally get married there) others may be more flexible - it’s best to conduct the necessary research to avoid disappointment.

Alternatively, consider getting married legally in your country of origin before travelling.

Make plans

Remember your guests are probably travelling half way across the globe to be with you on your special day so make them feel welcomed. Create a program of events and whoever wants to join in can. Save on paper and create a wedding website with all the necessary details - include hotel, dinner arrangements, wedding day plans etc. Go the extra mile and add information about the destination i.e. local attractions, transportation advice etc.

Consider the climate conditions and make sure your guests are informed too. For example, if you are getting married on a tropical island, you would want to stay clear of heavy materials such as satin- the dress code is essential.

Show appreciation

And finally, make time to thank your guests during their visit, whether on the actual day of the wedding, before or even after. Make sure that they know both you and your spouse are grateful that they made your day even more special. It’s also courteous to send Thank You cards to all your guests. In this case make them more personal, feel free to add a mini favor with them too.

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