Choose the Right Location
The first step in preparing for your destination wedding is to choose the right location. Look for a place that has the perfect combination of scenery, weather, and cultural attractions that you and your guests will enjoy. If you're legally looking to get married there, research local laws and regulations. And really focus on that weather; do you really want to get married in Tuscany in the summer when it's 40°C+? If you're having a summer wedding, I might suggest going to a more northern region, like looking into getting married at Lake Como, around the Alps (you choose your Alps- Swiss, Italian, Austrian, French, or German), Iceland, or Norway.
Hire your photographer (and videographer)
This is a very personal thing for everyone because you need to choose not only a style that you like, but also someone that you vibe well with. Don't just go for the cheapest option (though please do if you like their style!), really investigate these people, see what they offer, and if it works well for you, your partner, and whatever kind of wedding you're having. Pro tip- you photographer should help you at least a bit with your timeline as getting those photo spots in there are very important! The smaller the wedding (as in, heading closer towards an elopement or eloping) the more involved your photographer will be with your day, and the more help they are likely to provide with that timeline or suggestions on what to do and who else to hire.
Hire a Wedding Planner
A destination wedding can be more complicated to plan than a traditional wedding, so consider hiring a wedding planner who specializes in destination weddings. A professional planner can help you with everything from booking vendors and venues to handling travel arrangements for your guests. They can be particularly handy when you don't speak the local language and are not physically at the location to check things out yourself. It can also be a big plus for getting in touch with your vendors, as when you hire vendors from Italy (for example), they will be running on the slow-paced "Italian time" (they're living la dolce vita, can you blame them?!) and may not respond in a timely manner. So getting a planner to deal with all that is much less frustrating! I happen to know a wonderful planner, and you can find her here.
Create a Timeline
Create a timeline that outlines all the tasks you need to complete leading up to your wedding day. This includes booking accommodations and travel arrangements, choosing a venue and vendors, sending out invitations, and finalizing details like menus and decorations, and not to mention how the big day will go. Make sure to include deadlines for each task and set reminders to stay on track. Again, your photographer and planner can really help you out with this.
Reduce transportation emissions: Encourage guests to carpool or use public transportation to reduce emissions. Consider having your wedding ceremony and reception at the same location to minimize travel. If you're having a destination wedding, consider only one long haul flight with train or bus connections instead of two flights if you need to take a layover.
Buy second hand clothing, rent, or wear what you already own: There are so many wedding dresses in second hand shops, on Facebook marketplace, and apps like Vinted. Take a look there or find a rental shop for your dress or suit. Encourage your guests to avoid buying a new outfit for this wedding, and instead wear something they already own or go second hand shopping as well. Maybe they can even borrow a dress from a friend!
By incorporating these eco-friendly practices into your wedding planning, you can have a beautiful and sustainable celebration. If you think this sounds like a lot of work, your wedding planner can help you with a lot of these things! So just make sure to hire a planner who shares the same values as you. Remember, every small step counts in creating a greener future.
Will you legally get married there or at home? Not only does every country have different laws, regulations, and ways to do things, but every city/town/village/community can as well. It's best to sort out the legal stuff at home and just get married ceremonially abroad. If you really want to get married officially abroad, I suggest hiring a wedding planner because it is a pain to look into all the logistics, and often in another language!
Preparing for a destination wedding requires careful planning and attention to detail. Choosing the right location, hiring a photographer + wedding planner, creating a timeline, communicating with your guests, planning for the unexpected, and enjoying the experience can all help ensure a memorable and stress-free destination wedding.
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