From beachside vows to clifftop ceremonies, it’s no wonder so many of us dream of tying the knot overseas. We catch up with Sonya Yeung, Creative Director of luxury wedding planning company, Bliss Creations, which specialises in destination weddings across Asia Pacific, for some top tips on how to pull it off.
After the initial excitement of getting engaged has settled, prepare yourself for the bombardment of questions which will be coming your way as you begin to plan your destination wedding. Where will you have it? How many people will you invite? What kind of dress will you wear? Will you have a band? Who will be your photographer? It may seem overbearing, but don’t panic – with my ten tips, you’ll be able to stay calm and plan the perfect getaway.
1. Pick the perfect location
Your wedding should have meaning, and reflect your dreams or desires. Choosing the locations could be as simple as where you first met, or something more practical such as the number of guests. Have you always envisioned a beach wedding? Or perhaps in a beautiful church? Would you like to get married in a garden? Or in your parents’ barn? If it’s an outdoor location, what time of year is the best? Don’t forget to make sure that time of year works for your friends and family too. All of these questions should be considered as the first step to choosing your ideal destination.
2. Invite your nearest and dearest
Once you’ve either chosen or narrowed down your destination choices, it’s time to think about your guest list. Getting married usually means you would like your closest friends and family to attend, regardless of where it takes place. By sending out preliminary ‘save the date’ memos well in advance, you can ensure your closest friends and family have ample time to plan, take leave from work, and save up the necessary funds. Getting feedback from your A-listers will give you some indication of how well-attended your wedding will be and also allow you to see whether you have the space or budget to allow for B and C-list guests to be included.
3. Hire an experienced wedding planner
It takes an average of 250 hours to plan a wedding – so if you don’t have people you can trust to help you at your chosen destination, you are likely going to need help! Even though there are a significant amount of online resources available these days, a professional planner with a host of experience dealing with couples in a different location, and with an in-depth knowledge of the area, will ensure everything runs smoothly. From sourcing the best florists, photographers, and celebrants for you, to taking care of the details, a wedding planner will prove invaluable for your peace of mind while planning your faraway occasion.
4. Personalise it
Remembering to include elements of your personality into your wedding will make it more memorable for your guests. Are you a sugar addict? Consider a candy or dessert bar. Do you love music? An eclectic playlist of your favourite tunes is a great way to put your mark on the occasion. Perhaps you love games? There are so many fun games that could be incorporated into the occasion, I don’t even know where to start! Whatever your passion, hobby, or interest, just remember to let your personalities shine through on your big day.
5. Choose your attire wisely
Ladies, those 5 inch stilettos may be everything you have ever wanted – but will you be able to walk down the aisle in them at your beach wedding? It doesn’t mean you need to forego your dream dress. It may, however, mean that you opt for a lighter material. Guys, if you’re planning on donning a tux in 38 degree heat – then think again. In addition to a lighter weight option, men should consider a change of shirt to make sure they stay feeling – and looking – fresh. Finally, a dress code for your guests is a great idea, to take the guesswork out of their forward planning.
6. Make your guests feel special
By providing some helpful information in the lead up to the big trip, you can prepare your guests for what to expect with regards to currency conversions, hotel options, transfer details, planned activities, and the weather – among other things. Upon arrival, some guests may feel a little disoriented, and they may not be able to connect to the internet straight away. Finding a welcome note and an itinerary for the next few days upon their arrival will not only make your guests feel special, but also answer any questions they may have.
7. Perform regular reality checks
With the abundance of apps and planning sites available nowadays, it’s easy to get inundated with ideas for the ‘big day’, and to get carried away thinking you want everything you see. Keep a note of your favourite styles and ideas, but stop, breath, and stay true to what is really important to you and your fiancée. Elaborate and dramatic decor often comes at a price, and the practicalities of such plans can be a challenge for your destination. Allocate your budget to your ‘must haves’ and then decide which of your ‘wants’ you can afford to include.
8. Take some extra time off
This is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion to enjoy, so make the most of it! Schedule your wedding at least three or four days after your arrival to accommodate for jet lag, pre-wedding meetings, and some well-earned pampering. Staying on for a few days after will allow you to decompress and savour the memories. This also gives your guests the perfect excuse to extend their holidays and spend some extra time with you. After all, it’s not everyday you can enjoy a holiday with your closest friends and family alongside a big celebration.
9. Be flexible
Planning a destination wedding can require a substantial amount of patience from couples. Working styles and communication are often different from what you are used to, and there may be limitations on the services or products available. Being flexible will allow you to enjoy the planning process much more while still feeling confident that you’ll have a great event – even if you can’t source that horse-drawn carriage!
10. Embrace it
This is a very special moment for you and your fiancée! Remember to take a step back and soak it all in. This is a celebration of love – it should be a fun and exciting experience which you and your guests can remember forever!
Are you planning your big day? Get in touch with Sonya to find out more about how Bliss Creations can help you and your fiancée plan the getaway you’ve always dreamed of.