Steps to Planning a Successful Destination Wedding

breezy-mountaintop-destination-weddingSpring is here, and many of you are looking forward to summer beach weddings in Florida, and more far flung locales.  I know we sure are, and for a lot of couples out there the fun is just beginning! The team at Invitations by R Squared are all very excited about the beautiful weddings we’ll be seeing before the end of the year. But what next for those of you that just got engaged? We’re here to help you out of course!

One of our team members was engaged for two years, and she had been with her fiancé for ages before that.  Even so, she was really touched by all of the excitement exhibited by her family and friends once they made the engagement official.  It made an already special time that much more special.  So, our first words of advice are to bask in that joy and excitement for acaribbean-beach-destination-wedding little while before you start your planning.  Oh, and be prepared for everyone you know to make suggestions for your wedding.  Whatever you do, don’t take anyone’s advice until you’ve sat down with your fiancé and figured out what your combined vision is for this most special of events.

Before you start making any actual decisions about the wedding, while you’re still enjoying being newly engaged, talk to your fiancé. Discuss what you both want and expect from your wedding. Obviously important people in your life such as your parents may be considered, but we would urge you to put your own expectations and desires above anyone else’s.  Depending upon who is paying for the wedding, you may expect some input from the parents who may be footing some or all of the expense.  Some couples are challenged with difficult guest lists – and some may have family that is not particularly supportive of the wedding. gay-marriage-beach-destination-wedding-hawaiiThose are details that should be discussed with your fiancé first, then the parents on that side of the family.  Ultimately, you want the people sharing your day to be loving and supportive of your union.

How much you have to spend does not necessarily determine how big the wedding will be, if you want a big wedding but are constricted in this area there are options to consider such as a buffet, or a large informal garden party. To be honest, a lot of people have seen the same sort of wedding over and over again and will welcome something a little different! Oh and while you are looking at finances, it is a good idea to look into getting your engagement ring insured if it needs to be.

Some brides or grooms already have an idea of what their ideal wedding would be.  If this is not you, it might help to make a list: do you want something traditional, less traditional or something completely out there? Are you getting married in a church or will you have a civil ceremony? How big will the wedding party be:lesbian-destination-wedding-in-sedona-arizona nuclear and/or extended family, friends, work colleagues? Do you want it at home or have you always had a destination wedding in mind? There are so many options today that it can actually make it a little more difficult to decide on one, therefore it’s important to both be on the same page about what you want. When you have an idea of roughly how many guests you will be expecting it will make it easier to pick a venue.

Once you’ve decided on the basics, determining when you can have the wedding will be your next step.  For instance, a destination wedding might take longer to plan than a wedding at home if you have to take time off work to travel to view venues. Then again you may be happy to book online.  A good wedding planner that you trust will make things a lot easier and you lovely-couple-at-their-destination-weddingmight not even need to visit the venue. Once you have a date in mind you can start booking your reception venue, photographer, caterers and florist.  And, of course, there are the Save the Date cards, wedding invitations, and the other critical elements of your wedding stationery suite, whether or not you’re having a hometown event, or a destination wedding.  You can take a look at some excellent choices here.

It’s good to do this as early as you can not only to let the people you want involved know, but also so they can help you out with the actual planning. Think about what you will expect from the members of your wedding party, and let them know so everyone is on the same page. Don’t forget that you can have a man of honor or groom’s maids. It is completely up to you how many of each you have, and it doesn’t have to be an equal number of each!

So you have a general idea now of the type of wedding you want, where it will be, pacific-northwest-beach-destination-weddingwhat time of year it will be when you get married, and how much you have to spend. These will all be relevant to your dress and suit selection. Many brides already have an idea of the type of dress they want.  Look at as much material online as you can before you physically go into a shop. Learn the lingo before you go – shapes, materials, designers. Visit our inspiration boards, here, at Pinterest, and then set up your own board for dresses that appeal to you. You can also read about the hottest wedding dress trends for 2017 right here.  Find out in advance if certain bridal stores stock designers or types of dresses you are looking for. Make a booking to view dresses at a time when you will not be under pressure and don’t go to more than two shops per day. It’s good to have an idea of what hairstyle you want to wear as this will affect your dress choice as well. Do take the bridal shop assistant’s advice and try on at least one or two things out of same-sex-destination-wedding-overlooking-lake-tahoeyour comfort zone as you might be surprised. Most bridal shops recommend starting your dress search at least six months prior to your wedding date to accommodate ordering in your size and as many fittings and alterations as might be needed. Make sure at the end of the fittings that you are totally comfortable in the dress and happy with how it looks.

Not every wedding has to have an actual ‘theme’ but it’s good to have an idea of what sort of atmosphere you want. For instance, there is a lot of difference between a glamourous white-tie ballroom affair and an outdoor garden wedding where you specifically warn guests not to wear high heels! It’s important for your guests’ comfort that they have the right idea.  When you have decided on the general feel of the day (and you’ll probably already have an idea from the type of venue you’ve chosen) start thinking about stationery and décor in keeping with your ideas.

Once you have decided on your plan, stick to it. It might be a good idea to set up a seaside-destination-weddingwedding website to keep guests up to date with details and info on your day (this is especially helpful for destination weddings, or for guests who may be coming from abroad). Setting up a group page on Facebook also works well. You still should send out Save the Date cards and actual wedding invitations as not everyone uses the internet, and this way you can make sure everyone you wish to be there has received actual, versus virtual, notification of your event.

Set a realistic budget for your wedding invitations by evaluating how important first impressions are to you both and prioritize them on your wedding list accordingly. The more of a wedding stationery suite you want, the more expensive it is going to be and be aware that certain printing and invitation styles are going to be more expensive than others. If it looks expensive, it probably is.  If you’re having difficulty choosing, or you’re not entirely sure about what you want or need for your wedding stationery, get in touch; we’re here to help!

Get a handle on your wedding guest numbers before you start researching the perfect wedding invitation. Remember that it’s not going to work out at one invitation per head as you will most likely be inviting families and couple, not guests sunset-on-a-beautiful-waterside-destination-weddingindividually. When you know the number of invitations you need, add another 10-15% to make up your final number. This will cover mistakes and having to send out additional invites at the last minute. Ordering more invitations than you need at the start is far more cost effective than having to order a handful more at the end.

Don’t forget the pretty envelope, and possibly envelope liners. If you are going to make a splash on a beautiful wedding invitation suite, make sure it is delivered in a matching / complimentary envelope. Think color and a good font.

In closing, we can’t stress enough how important it is at the beginning to talk to each other- BEFORE you talk (or at least listen to) anyone else, and make a little plan that you can both stick to when you tell everyone.

Congratulations again to all the happy couples that have recently gotten engaged, and we look forward to sharing in lots of future weddings.