Today’s couples are choosing a destination wedding in lieu of the traditional church wedding. Who wouldn’t want to get married with the French Alps, a beautiful Caribbean beach, or the Grand Canyon as the backdrop?  Before you book your travel itinerary, there are some important things you need to think about. Here is a list of 10 things that you and your intended need to be aware of before making your destination wedding plans.

  1. A Destination Wedding May Cost You More – Having a wedding locally can save you on costs. However according to an article couples who decide on a destination wedding tend to do lots of research beforehand. Brides and grooms can inform would-be guests of these costs well in advance so that they can plan for who will be there.
  2. Passports will likely be required – In today’s present travel climate, even domestic travel is not without its challenges. If you travel outside of the borders of the United States, even to destinations such as Canada and Mexico, you may be required to have a passport. When planning your wedding, be sure to let potential guests know about the documents that are required for travel and also allow them adequate time to get a passport. Check with your local post office or by applying at the USPS website . Be aware that some countries require a passport to have been validly issued at least 6 months prior to entry.
  3. Marriage requirements may be different – Along with a passport, there could be marriage license requirements in place that will have to be considered. For example, if you are planning on getting married in the UK, it can be a minimum wait of 7 days before getting married. Other countries have a shorter wait period such as 24 or 48 hours. Check with your travel agent or do your research well in advance.
  4. Group Rates May Apply – It is possible to get good deals on airfare and hotels when you travel as a group. A travel agent or your professional wedding planner will likely be to help you get the group rate in order to bring the costs of travel and accommodations down considerably. If you don’t have a wedding planner, there are sites on the Internet such as at Hotel Planner that can help.
  5. Timing is Everything! If you are thinking about a holiday weekend for your destination wedding, be prepared for sticker shock. Hotels and airlines will often raise their rates during these busy travel times. Try to arrange your flights and hotel stays for Tuesdays and Thursdays in order to save the most money and to ensure that you can get the block or rooms or venue that you wish for your wedding day.
  6. You most likely won’t be traveling light! – No matter how much you plan or pare down your clothes and ‘just in case’ items, when you’re heading out for your destination wedding, be prepared to have extra bags to check. You are likely to have even more baggage for your trip home, so pack an expandable bag to take along. Other options include purchasing extra luggage once you get to your destination or sending some items back home by freight. And the most important don’t forget your wedding bands.
  7. Airbnb might be your best option – In addition to booking a block of hotel rooms for your wedding guests, consider renting a large home through a home-sharing site such as Airbnb There are homes that their owners rent out around the world to choose from. Staying at a home instead of a hotel can also make your destination wedding even more memorable!
  8. Your guest list is likely to be smaller – Having a destination wedding can mean that family and friends may not be able to travel to enjoy the day with you. Be prepared for some of your guests to cite either not being able to get time off or the cost of travel, accommodations and meals to be a factor. Having a small guest list can actually make a destination wedding more intimate and enjoyable.
  9. Finding vendors can be difficult – Even when you are able to find the perfect venue at your destination, finding other service providers such as bakers to make the cake, florists, and even hairdressers can provide an entirely new set of challenges. Be sure that someone in your party, preferably you, your fiancé, family member, or close friend speaks the local language. It might also be a good idea to scout your chosen locale ahead of the wedding.
  10. A destination wedding can be more stressful – Planning a wedding is already stressful. Having it in a locale that is away from your community will make it even more so. Destination weddings can be truly memorable for the two people getting married and for those lucky enough to be in attendance. Planning well in advance can help to eliminate some of that stress so you can relax in while at your dream wedding destination!