So you're thinking about a destination wedding, Congratulations! Here are some tips to get started. As you have more questions, check out our FAQ or visit our forum to ask questions of other brides in the planning stages.
Location: The first thing you must do is pick a location. There are many things you need to think about when picking the perfect location. Expense may be the first thing on your mind. Hawaii will be more expensive than Mexico. But Mexico may be more expensive than the California coast. Expense is important for you as well as your guests. The more expensive, the fewer guests you will have. A second thing to consider is what activities and amenities are available for you and your guests. Are you choosing an all-inclusive resort? Or will there be plenty of shopping, restaurants, spa services and sports and recreation for your guests? Check out our locations page to begin your planning. If you don't have any idea where you might go it can be overwhelming. Our suggestion is to narrow it down to 3-4 locations and then start to dig into the details.
Picking the Date: There are many factors in picking the date for your wedding. In choosing the best date for a beach wedding you must think about the weather. Check www.weather.com to get historical information on weather patterns in locations you are thinking about. You want to try to avoid rainy season or times when the outside temperature are too hot or too cool. You must also think about price when choosing a date. Contact a travel agent to see when it's 'high season'. You may choose to travel when it's off season to save money for you and your guests. Traveling right before or right after the 'high season' may allow you take advantage of why its high season (better weather) but also the cheaper price.
Coordinating with Family: If its important to you that certain members of your family attend the wedding, meaning you won't have the wedding without them, you will want to coordinate dates, locations, costs with those family members. It may take a little bit of back and forth between what you want and what would works best for those family members (which did get frustrating at times) but it will be 100% worth it in the end. Advice: Be patient but be firm about what is most important to you.
Legal Requirements: In most cases all the states in the United States will recognize a legal wedding from anther state or anther country. As long as it's a legally recognized wedding. You must check with local authorities in the states or country where you are getting married to make sure you understand the local requirements for you marriage to be legal. You may need a local marriage license, birth certificate, or blood tests. And you may have to pay for those documents to translated into a different language than then back again. Most wedding planners or resort wedding coordinators in other states or countries will have this information. Some brides and grooms choose to get legally married before or after their beach wedding to avoid some of the additional paperwork and requirements.
The Ceremony: There are many factors in determining your beach wedding ceremony. How many people will be attending, what's your budget, what time of day will it be, do you want a religious ceremony, and how traditional do you want to be. Your options may more or less be limited if you hire a local wedding coordinator versus getting married at a resort. Click here to read more about planning your ceremony.
Choosing a Coordinator: If you are planning a wedding in location you are not, you will need help! But you have choices just like you would at home. You can hire a professional to help. Most beach wedding locations will have multiple wedding professionals that specialize in coordinating beach and destination weddings. Click here for our extensive list of wedding coordinators and other vendors in each of our featured beach wedding locations. Local wedding coordinators can often help with logistics around travel, helping plan activities, arranging the ceremony, the officiate and planning the reception. You will most likely have more flexibility in panning going this route. Or you can choose to get married at a resort that offers wedding packages and has onsite coordinators. You options may be somewhat limited in terms of the ceremony and reception but the stress (and cost) of planning will be greatly reduced. If money and time are non issues, you can always plan the wedding yourself. You can pick the site, the florist, the officiate, the ceremony the baker and the music yourself. This is the toughest way to do it and probably a very expensive option if your beach wedding is located in another state or another country.