There are many things to consider when planning a destination wedding, from venue to guest accommodations to budget. For the inside scoop on how to plan a destination wedding, we spoke with the wedding experts at Ever After.
I Love Sparklers: The idea of a destination wedding can be exciting, but many couples may not know where to begin. What’s the most frequent question you hear couples first ask when they reach out to you for help in planning a destination wedding?
Ever After: The most frequent question that couples ask us is whether or not they will be able to balance the cost of their wedding, their travel, and their honeymoon and still be able to make it affordable for their guests to attend. The choice of the location is super important in balancing all of these considerations.
ILS: Destination weddings have additional logistical concerns compared to non-destination weddings. Besides the obvious issue of transporting and accommodating wedding guests, what are the most important logistical things to consider when choosing a destination wedding location?
EA: Understanding the legalities and processes for the wedding can be complicated. In some locations, both you and your witnesses have to be in the country for a certain period of time.
Our experienced destination wedding experts understand all of the steps involved in overseeing the wedding planning process and accommodating the needs of your guests (and our services are free).
ILS: Speaking of legalities and processes, using popular 20-inch sparklers, smokeless sparklers, or other wedding sparklers can sometimes be a tricky proposition. After all, not all venues allow them. Do you have any advice for couples that want to use wedding sparklers at their destination wedding?
EA: Some sparkler companies don’t ship internationally and the TSA doesn't allow people to fly with sparklers. What we would recommend is working with the resort to see whether or not they allow sparklers and, if they do, where couples can purchase them. If the venue doesn't allow sparklers, we would suggest working with the resort to see if there are other options.
ILS: Some couples may think destination weddings are extravagant and unaffordable. What do you tell those who, for financial reasons, may not consider planning a destination wedding?
EA: Actually, a destination wedding can be more affordable than having a wedding at home. You can have a beachfront reception for as little as $30 per plate (including open bar) at some locations. There are destination wedding packages for all budgets.
In addition, Ever After couples can qualify for upgrades, free rooms and other perks based on the number of guests they have attending, how many rooms have been booked, etc. Destination weddings tend to be richer, more intimate experiences since you get to celebrate with your guests for several days, not just a few hours.
ILS: Is there a popular season for wedding destinations? What time of year would you recommend for budget-conscious or off-season destination weddings?
EA: Mexico and the Caribbean tend to be the most popular locations to consider when planning a destination wedding. Typically, the off season is the summer months (end of June through August), which would be the perfect time for budget-conscious couples. The summer months are also good if a lot of kids will be attending the wedding or you have a lot of guests that are teachers.
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ILS: What is Ever After’s most popular type of venue when couples start planning a destination wedding? Beach? Mansion? What about your most popular venue, specifically? Las Vegas?
EA: Typically, for an exotic location destination wedding, most couples get married on the beach. Lots of our couples dream of that “toes in sand” experience, and we know the best locations to make your beach wedding dreams come true.
However, our Ever After venue experts know the best of all types of wedding venues, from mansions to gardens to more traditional ballrooms. We have vetted the very best wedding locations in the markets that we serve.
Looking to get married in Las Vegas? We are based in Vegas, and we know the absolute best wedding locations in and around Vegas. There are many hidden gems that will make your Vegas wedding fabulous!
ILS: Do you ever find yourself mediating for couples who want two different venues, say a vineyard and a golf country club? Ever find yourselves filling the role of wedding counselor?
EA: Every now and then a bride and groom will have different visions when they start planning a destination wedding, which is when we have to play pre-wedding counselor! It is important to truly understand the vision of both the bride and the groom (and sometimes the parents). We somehow always find a way to create the best wedding experience for the couple and their guests.
ILS: Finally, what’s the number one piece of advice you give to couples on how to start planning a destination wedding?
EA: Couples tend to get caught up in focusing on the tiniest details when it comes to wedding planning and they tend to forget the bigger picture.
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Think about what you hope your friends and family will say after the event, what memories your wedding event will create. You’re not just planning a wedding, you’re planning the celebration for the beginning of your marriage (and a wonderful multi-day celebration with your dearest friends and family).
Working with an expert, and counting on their expertise to simplify the planning details, helps you step back and focus on the bigger picture and create a memorable wedding event.
Editor’s Note: As we've mentioned, using heart sparklers for weddings or having a sparkler wedding exit may not be possible at every venue. However, it’s important to get accurate information. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure to contact your wedding venue, wedding sparkler provider, and wedding planner for help.
Do you have some ideas about how to plan a destination wedding? What about a destination wedding with sparklers? Share your thoughts & destination wedding ideas with us or tell your story in the comments.