Dos and Don’ts of Planning and Traveling
Imagine this: you are on a white sand beach; the wind blows gently, lightly pushing the palm fronds that frame you and your partner. You hold hands, face to face, the waves crash musically as an acoustic guitar player adds to the melody.
Now imagine another photo: half of your wedding party is missing, along with the wedding dress that was to make its stunning debut today. The in-laws’ credit card is declined when you try to pay the final bill, and the celebrant who came from your hometown has been in a car accident.
Which image do you prefer? We think we can guess! Destination weddings can be the most magical memory for the couple and the attendees, but with big trips, there can be big snafus. So follow these tips and make your destination wedding a little less crying over a glass of champagne and a little more relaxing in the spa after the wedding.
Things to do for your destination wedding
We’ll start with the positives! These are the things you want to do to make your wedding and your trip to your destination easy and relatively stress-free. Some of this stuff can be crazy, but it can definitely be worth it at the end of it all.
DO: Hire a local wedding planner ($$$)
This one is one of those potential splurges, but it will be well worth the money at the end of it all. A local wedding planner can do everything you would normally do if you were getting married near you: food tasting, wine tasting, venue tours, vendor recruitment, and more. This person will be your backup in planning and executing a destination wedding.
They can provide you with a selection of people, places and things to choose from, rather than descending into that Google black hole of things you can’t see in person – unless you plan to visit A LOT before the wedding .
DO: Wear your wedding dress and/or tuxedos if traveling ($)
There are far too many horror stories of lost wedding dresses and tuxedos due to shipping issues or lost checked baggage. Do yourself a favor and take your important clothes with you!
Call the airline in advance and explain that you must wear dresses or tuxedos. They can walk you through the size dimensions the clothes will need to fit in, and from there you can find a wheeled garment bag to take on board. Also, depending on the plane you’re flying, there may be closets big enough for the dress or tuxedo to hang on, so in that case you can bring the dress in a regular hanging garment bag.
If you absolutely need to ship, make sure you have a reliable address to send it to, and make sure that address has someone to physically receive it and/or sign for it! This is again where a wedding planner can come in handy because you can ship to their office!
And if you absolutely must check in the dress or tuxedo, find out which airlines are better (or worse) for handling checked baggage.
DO: Take out travel insurance, even if the destination is domestic ($-$$)
These days, canceled flights and illnesses are more common than we would like when traveling. To alleviate some of these travel issues, purchase travel insurance that includes health insurance, even if your destination wedding is domestic to your home.
At a destination wedding, you’re at the mercy of rental cars, thefts, and accidents that happen far from your local doctor. Travel insurance gives you peace of mind that if something goes wrong, the original trip is refundable. So booking a last-minute replacement plane ticket will sting a little less. Moreover, if someone falls ill, he will not hesitate to consult a doctor!
Don’ts for your destination wedding
Not all planning is foolproof, but there are some that will make traveling and planning much easier. Heed our warnings!
DON’T: Assume your bank knows you’re traveling
Although your finances are the main concern when it comes to how much you spend on the wedding, put a travel notice on credit cards, debit cards and bank accounts (for checks!) n may not be so obvious. Especially if you still have a balance to pay after arriving at your destination or if you plan to foot the bill for any meals or activities outside of the wedding, make sure there are no salary barriers!
DON’T: Ignore your guests
Now, you don’t have to spend the whole day with your guests, but you should have some kind of itinerary for pre- and post-wedding activities. After all, they’ve come all this way for you!
If you’re worried about hogging your guests’ time, assure them that these activities are optional, but confirm them so you can count the activities. Doodle polls are fantastic ways to get people to respond easily. Do a Doodle poll for each activity and see who weighs in!
DON’T: Forget your routine cosmetics
You’ll want your tried-and-true routine cosmetics for everything—hair, makeup, deodorant, and bath products—for your big day. The last thing you want to worry about is trying to find the things you use right after you land at your destination wedding venue.
You also don’t want to upset the balance of your routine by introducing a new product into your rotation; keep it easy, keep it clean and don’t worry!