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Hi, I'm Michaela, the heart behind Lovely & Planned. This blog is all about elopements and destination weddings, but you'll also find general tips and advice on wedding planning. I'm so happy to have you here! Grab a cup of coffee and stay a while!

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How to Plan a Destination Wedding with Ease

Destination Wedding in Abu Dhabi | UAE | Dubai | Desert Elopement | Arabian Nights | Photo by Weddingday by the Loftstudio #desertelopement #lovelyandplanned

Planning a wedding is already so much work but just imagine how much more effort it takes to plan a destination wedding! But the benefits of having your dream wedding at the place that means the world to you, are worthwhile all the extra work! So, before you jump right into the planning, read and follow these 9 destination wedding planning tips! They will help you stay organized and sane throughout the planning and ensure you have the fairy tale wedding you have been dreaming of!

Tip 1: Choose a meaningful location

The first thing you need to decide on is your wedding destination. When deciding on your destination, consider your budget, the season in which you want to get married in but above all, your personal style and favorite travel spots! No matter how beautiful a beach wedding is, if you are more the country type, the Italian Tuscany might be a much better fit for you than the Caribbean. Maybe you have family roots in a specific part of the world, or you love the place you visited on your first vacation together. Either way, make sure the destination means something to you.

[Related: Top 5 of the Most Common Elopement Questions Answered]

Tip 2: Set your date carefully

The next step when you plan a destination wedding is to get as much information as possible about the climate before setting your date! For example, getting married in the Arabian Desert is sooo magical! Endless dunes, riding on the back of a camel, mouthwatering delicacies. But if you don’t time it right, you may end up with an unbearable heat way over 40°C (104°F)!

Tip 3: Know how to tie the knot

When you make your decision for getting married in a foreign country, you need to be aware that it’s most likely not easy to get legally married. In some countries, it is not possible at all unless you are a resident there. But no worries! A symbolic ceremony or blessing is just as romantic and soul unifying than a legal marriage! Which you, by the way, can do before or after you travel!

Tip 4: Invite your guests well in advance

Once you have decided on your date and destination, invite your guests as soon as possible! This way they can get the best deals on flights and accommodation. Send out save-the-dates at least 8 months in advance. But don’t be disappointed if some of your friends and family can’t attend. After all, no matter how beautiful your destination, and how much your friends and family love you, not everyone can afford the travel costs.

Tip 5: Hire a local wedding planner

You want to save money, I get that! But believe me, a local wedding planner can help you save a fortune AND your sanity! They know the best local vendors and venues. A lot of times wedding planners get special rates that you otherwise would never get. A local wedding planner also knows where you are safe to cut costs, and where you really shouldn’t. They speak the language, know the local customs and traditions and can advise you accordingly. If that still doesn’t convince you, just think how much money and time you safe when you don’t need to spend hours on the phone trying to overcome a language barrier while negotiating, coordinating and making important decisions!

Tip 6: Create a wedding website

Another important step when you plan your destination wedding is to consider how to get all the information out to your guests. After all, there is a lot of communication involved in planning a destination wedding! A wedding website can make your life much easier as it is an effortless way to communicate all the important information beautifully. Remember to include the following information on your site:

  • Date and Time of your wedding and any pre-or post-wedding festivities and activities.
  • Advice on accommodation. If you have already arranged a hotel let your guests know what they need to do to book a room.
  • Useful tips about the destination. For example, include information about the weather, required vaccinations, or any cultural customs or dress codes your guests need to be aware of.
  • Fun tips about your location. Where are the best restaurants, shopping malls or other fun activities?
  • Flight and transport advice. If you already know an airline with good prices let your guests know about it. Also, make sure you mention how they can get from the airport to the hotel. Equally important, inform your guests how they will get to your wedding location on the day-of.

Tip 7: Save money

You can save a fortune if you follow this one tip when you plan your destination wedding: Go local! Serve local dishes at the reception such as grilled saffron prawns in the UAE or herring in Amsterdam. For dessert serve local fruits. For the decoration use local and seasonal flowers! And remember, destination weddings are, by nature, in beautiful, exotic places! So, there is no need to spend a lot of money on decorating the venue which can truly save a fortune!!

[Related: How to Save Money Planning a Stunning Elopement]⠀⠀⠀⠀

Tip 8: Dress to impress

Choose your wedding dress and wedding suit according to your destination. For example, for a beach wedding wear a light and airy wedding dress and neutral-colored linen suits. For a wedding at a chateau in France choose a ballgown with embellishments and a three-piece suit. If you fly to your destination, always carry your wedding attire and all other important accessories on board with you. You really don’t want to take the risk that your wedding dress or suit gets lost!!

[Related: 10 Easy Tips How to Prepare for Your Wedding Dress Shopping]

Tip 9: Show your appreciation

Finally, my last tip when you plan your destination wedding is to show your appreciation for your guests!! One way to do that is to make your guests feel welcome from the very beginning. For example, create meaningful welcome bags! You could include a wedding schedule, location map, restaurant advice, public transport information, and important contact numbers. Add useful things like an insect repellent, sunscreen, or for colder weather a hand cream and gloves. Other ideas to include are local gifts like fruits, sweets or tea.
During the wedding, toast on your guest and let them know how grateful you are that they came all the way to see you get married.
After the wedding, make sure you send out thank-you notes to each and every guest to show once more your appreciation for them being a part of your dream day!

So hopefully, these tips on how to plan a destination wedding will help you plan your wedding with ease and confidence!

Are you thinking about a destination wedding in Amsterdam or Dubai? Then get in touch with me to set up a complimentary consultation to find out how I can help you plan your dream wedding!

Love, Michaela

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Header image by Weddingday by the Loftstudio.

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