Originally published Thursday, 18 April 2013.
Ever since I can remember, I pictured my wedding on tropical beach and very much unlike the traditional wedding. Jon and I got engaged in November 2008 and started to plan our wedding. It was important for us to celebrate our love and commitment before God in a location that we've always dreamed.
Planning a destination wedding isn't for everyone; especially for the brides that prefer to have control. I thought that control wouldn't be an issue for me, but the stress of wedding planning in another country still presented to be an challenge.
For the brides out there that have considered a destination wedding... I'm here to tell you that it can be done. The stress and cost is significantly less than that of a large, traditional wedding. Here are some tips for planning your perfect day at the destination of your dreams.
- Find a travel agent. By selecting the right travel agent, they will ensure all your travel arrangements and even set you up with the wedding coordinator at the location of your choice.
- Travel agencies can send invitations. Our agency happened to offer invitations as part of the package. The fee was minimal and saved us a ton of money - plus they looked great!
- Have a budget and plan before choosing the venue. Jon and I were looking for an all-inclusive resort that offered a wedding package at an affordable price with the stay. We also worked through these options with our travel agent, who found us a great deal.
- Will the marriage be legal in your own country? That is a great question to ask your agent or Google. Do the research. We preferred to be married in a location that would be recognized by our country. We chose the Bahamas.
- Let go and let the coordinator do the work. This is a hard statement for most brides to follow. I get it. Seeing the full picture is difficult, especially from another country. Try to remember that it is your coordinator's job to make your day magical and special. They will not fail you.
- Try not to force activities or travel arrangements on your guests. They are spending a big chunk of change to enjoy the location too. I made the mistake of "harassing" some of my guests into a non-important activity together; which ultimately fell through. This was my pathetic attempt to try and control at least one thing about my day. Learn from my mistake.
- Take a deep breath and remember it's your day. There will always be drama and stress. All of your worries and fears will melt away the second you step off that plane. I took one look at the beautiful white sand beach and turquoise water and felt relaxed for the first time in 18 months.
- Remember that not everyone will be able to attend - this includes even the most important people in your life. This was a harsh reality for us. Some couples opt for a "reception" at home with family and friends. My advice would be to plan this prior to your wedding.
- Don't worry about the dress. Borrow or purchase a garment bag. This will be your carry-on in addition to your purse or bag. Ask the flight attendant to hang the dress in the closet or carefully place it across luggage in the above compartments. The resort should offer steam service if needed. Or you can hang it in the bathroom and run the shower to steam the dress. Thankfully the humidity in the Bahamas released the few minor wrinkles in my dress.
- God is in control. Do not forget this throughout the planning. Turn to Him in your time of need.
We have been married for 3 years now and I'm so thankful to God for the gift of my wonderful husband. I couldn't ask for a better man. It has definitely been a learning process and it's not always easy, but I wouldn't change a thing.
Marriage is a blessing and a journey. If you are planning a wedding, I wish you all the best on your special day. May God continue to bless your marriage.
I hope that this helpful to the new brides. I'm happy to answer any other questions or point you in the right direction. Feel free to contact me by email - firstname.lastname@example.org.
God bless and happy planning!