With the return of travel, destination weddings have also been charting a massive comeback. This style of wedding is not only one of the most personal, luxurious and unique but can be one of the easiest parties to plan.
“By choosing a destination wedding you are essentially taking the worry out of planning from start to finish,” says Marsha-Ann Donaldson-Brown director of weddings and romance for Sandals Resorts International. “It gives engaged couples more time to focus on what’s really important—each other—and have more time to enjoy the moment.”
With a destination wedding, a large part of the planning is done up front well before you arrive on location, and once you’re there, it’s easy to switch into wedding vacation mode because everything has been so meticulously curated and pre-arranged. Donaldson-Brown says she loves to see couples relaxing on the morning of their wedding day in a way that would never happen if they were having a wedding at home.
“A groom golfing on the morning of his wedding, or a bride relaxing poolside with her squad is just something that would not be happening if you are getting married at home in a familiar environment. The excitement of being somewhere new and different is one of the main reasons to choose a destination wedding, which is also a major bonus for wedding guests, too. The celebration becomes an experience for your guests who can unplug form the everyday and be in the moment with you to celebrate. They will leave your wedding event with highly personal and impactful memories.”
A groom golfing on the morning of his wedding, or a bride relaxing poolside with her squad is just something that would not be happening if you are getting married at home in a familiar environment.
The Kit‘s own collab specialist, Madeline Sarracini, was engaged this summer and is currently in the midst of planning a 2024 destination wedding in Rome. An intimate and special celebration experienced with close friends and family set against a stunning, historic backdrop was the inspiration for choosing a wedding on location. “Spending a few days celebrating with the closest people to us will fill our hearts with memories that will last forever,” says Sarracini. “We are just beginning to think about the wedding and hope to have an event planner on board soon to act on the ground as our contact as we begin our remote planning journey.”
Sarracini says she and fiancé Jens feel they have the luxury of time on their side to get organized and inspired about their day. Her advice for other newly engaged couples just starting to map out their destination wedding is to really take the time to enjoy the process. “Don’t lose sight of your intentions for your celebration, but also stay organized and do your due diligence to ensure you nail down all the special details you want for your day.”
Brown-Donaldson reports she’s already seeing lots of couples booking well into 2024 for destination weddings. A longer lead timeline is always a bonus—she recommends booking nine to 12 months out, if possible, especially if you have a specific date you want to lock down. To help you get the details of your destination wedding in order, Brown-Donaldson offers these four savvy destination wedding planning tips.
Decide what’s important
“Make a checklist of what your perfect wedding day looks like,” says Brown-Donaldson. “Do you want a small or large wedding? Will all your important guests be able to travel to the location? What types of features and amenities are you looking for at the destination or resort property you choose? Having a checklist helps you clearly map out what’s important to you and will help you narrow down the best location for your celebration.
Think of your wedding guests
“Consider what your destination wedding will look like as an experience for your guests because you want everyone to walk away from the day and the location feeling they had an experience,” shares Brown-Donaldson. “Being able to immerse themselves in an entirely new culture and setting is an amazing thing. Guests who attend a destination wedding are making the commitment to travel near or far to celebrate with you on your special day so make it an unforgettable event for them as well as you.”
Sign on for remote wedding planning
One of the best things to happen in pandemic times and destination weddings is the level of wedding planning you can now do for your day without leaving home. The virtual world has stepped up and made anything possible, from wedding dress appointments to choosing the perfect floral installation and reception tablescapes. Donaldson-Brown says at Sandals, technology has made it possible for couples to have 360 tours of resorts and for couples to meet with their planners as much as required to finesse all the fine details of their day. “Remote planning is essential in this day and age; it makes planning a destination wedding so much less stressful!”
Prepare to save money
Yes, you read that right. In many cases with a destination wedding, you will actually get more wedding goodness for less cash. “When it comes to cost, many couples are surprised to see how a destination wedding can actually be more economical than a traditional wedding closer to home,” says Donaldson-Brown. The size of your wedding will likely be smaller, which means fewer guests and more wedding budget to splash out on extras. If you choose an all-inclusive resort property, many of the on-site expenses are already taken care of, which will also put money back into your party details fund. You’ll also save on honeymoon costs because you’re already in your ultimate romantic location.