Over the last year and a half I planned a destination wedding in Scotland for one of my couples and I picked up so much knowledge along the way that I think needs to be shared with all of you! I have too much to say on this topic so I am breaking it up into a series. I want to start with WHY you should or should not plan a destination wedding. I know that for most couples this is a bit of a hard decision to make. Ok, here we go!
1. Are you ok with letting go of the little details?
You can try to plan out every tiny detail but without being there physically you may not be able to measure that windowsill, get a photo of that bathroom and decide what shade of ivory the linens are. You will have to be ok with trusting the vendors you have hired to make your vision come together.
2. Can you afford it?
Once you find a venue and location that you like, reach out to potential vendors and get quotes for their services so that you have a clear picture of all of the costs involved! Decide if you are paying for all of your guests to attend a welcome reception, a rehearsal dinner and a post wedding brunch. With all of your guests traveling so far, you will want to make the most of your time there! Don't forget to factor in all of your travel costs as well! Always ask if tax is included in your quote and consider what tips you expect to pay in that country.
3. Are you ok with close friends or family not being able to attend and how many people will come?
Your head count will effect your budget and of course effect your choice of venue. Our numbers for Scotland fluctuated so drastically that we had to book another location for the reception because the original location could not hold everyone. Destination weddings are hard to estimate because it's such a big commitment for your guests but also an exciting adventure so they want to come! If you want to get pretty accurate, go ahead an ask your close friends and family if they think they can make it. Requesting a very early RSVP date on your invites is helpful as well (5 months is reasonable for an international wedding).
4. Are there vendors in the area you are considering that share your aesthetic?
Finding the rentals and decor that we wanted in Scotland proved to be very difficult. Even the big cities did not have the linen for rent that my bride wanted. She wanted a natural linen, something easily found here in LA. After exhausting every company and every option we finally compromised (and saved some money) by going with simple white cotton. We purchased and shipped the gold chargers because the rental companies in the area just didn't have exactly what we wanted. We also were in an extremely remote area so delivery fees from the big cities were sky high. If the aesthetic is even somewhat important to you then make sure you take a look at the vendors in the area you are considering, otherwise just know that you may need to compromise on some things or get super creative.
Weather of course can effect you no matter where you are but really investigate the weather in your destination wedding spot. It may sway your decision if they are having a particularly humid or rainy year.
- Sarah Coplen