You want your wedding to be original, unforgettable and maybe a little exotic. So you decide to hold a destination wedding, inviting a small group of your closest friends and/or relatives to enjoy a vacation while they witness your milestone.
It doesn’t have to be complicated, so instead of a laundry-list of do’s and don’ts before you say “I do,” here are three basic principles to remember as you ride off into a tropical or mountain sunset with your betrothed:
Make your peace with the numbers.
Instead of spending $24,000 (the average wedding cost) on a big party that culminates in wedding gifts from friends, family, co-workers and their dates, you’re spending much less on a memorable time with those nearest and dearest. (You can always invite the hordes of others to your place afterwards for an affordable, informal celebration when you’ve returned bearing that honeymoon glow.)
Ask for discounts, discounts, discounts. Many airlines will offer deals when you purchase 10 tickets or more. Negotiate with hotels for a block of rooms, and make sure vendors customize their services to your specifications—be sure to research and negotiate deals from them, too!
And of course, make sure you give your loved ones plenty of time to plan and budget for the trip!
Remember: if you’re expecting your guests to shell out money for airfare, and hotel accommodations, their mere presence at your nuptials is enough of a wedding gift. So don’t expect to recoup the money you’re spending on this event. With the way air travel is becoming these days, your invitees will deserve a vacation by the time they get there!
Do your homework.
If you had held your important day in your hometown, you’d want to be aware of every minute detail, right? That goes double for when you’re tying the knot abroad. No bride or groom wants to leave anything up to chance, so a well-prepared couple will make sure they speak a bit of the local language.
If not, the bride- and groom-to-be may end up like this couple, whose vow renewal disaster garnered sympathy worldwide. Even if they get justice, they’re still remembered as that couple whose Maldivian minister gave them a nasty tongue-lashing in front of friends, family and the Vilu Reef resort staff as they stood, smiling and happily ignorant of their abject humiliation.
And, as obvious as this may seem, make sure you’re aware of the local weather patterns. Rain on your wedding day isn’t a big deal, but a hurricane, blizzard or monsoon may put a damper on the event.
Leave Bridezilla (or Groomzilla) at home.
You’ve got fewer people to host, a relaxed, vacation-like atmosphere, and the company of those who know you at your best and your worst. No first impressions to forge here! So chill out. You arranged for this to be nothing like your typical watch-checking “oh-my-god-where-is-the (blank)” wedding. If you’ve planned accordingly, you’ve planned for island-time, and things will happen as they should, but perhaps not at the breakneck speed we’ve come to expect in the United States. Relax, sip a fruity umbrella-drink with your guests, and look around you. You’re on vacation, and you’ll return home refreshed and with the ultimate travel souvenir: the best husband or wife you could imagine.
This article was written exclusively for STL Weddings by Sarah Russell. Sarah is a language learning expert at Pimsleur Approach, who loves to travel in addition to helping people learn a language with the Pimsleur method.