London wedding planner Grant Morgan looks at some of the key logistical considerations for destination weddings…
This year, it is expected that almost one-third of all British marriage proposals will happen abroad*. That’s quite a jump (up 7%) from 2014. This trend is also represented, although not in quite the same volume, in couples wishing to get married abroad.
It is a tempting prospect for a number of reasons: you can take your pick of what the world has to offer, you might want to take family and friends to somewhere new to them and of special importance to you and, believe or not, it can actually SAVE you money!
Popular hotspots include Thailand [visit], Bali [visit] and the Caribbean [visit], for example. Although you have to consider the cost of getting to and from your destination, the cost of the wedding itself i.e. the venue, the food and drink etc, is often a fraction of the price found in the UK. In fact, with so much competition in the air, even the flights are often reasonable; for instance London to Bali can be found at under £500 with certain carriers.
Further, and here’s the thing, because it is an event taking place abroad, you can keep the wedding party reasonably small, thus keeping costs down further.
When considering a destination wedding, organisation is key. Not only for the couple but for the guests too. Guests are likely to be travelling at different times and from different parts of the country and despite their enthusiasm to attend, some may be less adept at organising this kind of trip. It is therefore essential to communicate with your guests over the period leading up to the wedding and perhaps enlist the help of a dedicated travel expert to deal directly with the members of the wedding party.
Of course, as with weddings here in UK, it is up to the individual couple how much they wish spend; some choose to pay for the accommodation of certain guests (bridesmaids and ushers is usual), the cost of transfers to and from the airport(s) is a nice gesture and locally-themed favours can add to experience of the guests.
Understanding not only the language of a country but also its regional differences is extremely important. Getting on top of the culture and traditions of the area has a double-edged benefit: it guards against potential faux-pas when dealing with local suppliers which, in turn, allows you to reap the best of what the area has to offer, thus making your wedding truly authentic experience.
In contrast, there is no harm in recognising when local/regional attributes would not be suitable for your event. For instance, you may be getting married in a country that is internationally renowned for its exquisite cuisine but not so much for its contribution to popular music; in which case flying in an artiste for the reception would be advisable.
Depending on where in the world the wedding takes place, a list of required inoculations should be distributed – not particularly romantic, I know but essential nonetheless. It is also prudent to make guests aware of any laws or general protocols that differ vastly from those in their own territory, to guard against embarrassing and potentially serious misunderstandings.
To add further colour to the event, another option is to build a password-protected webpage dedicated to your wedding. Content could include travel-tips such as local beauty spots, ‘things to do’,
favourite restaurants etc. It gives a loose structure for those who may be new to the area and want to make the most of any free time they have outside of the wedding itself.
Perhaps most pertinent of all, a destination wedding is something that will live long in the memory for all involved and, if organised correctly, could turn out to be a ‘trip of a lifetime’ for your guests.