Gorgeous weather, beautiful scenery and the opportunity to turn your big day into a holiday with your nearest and dearest, it's easy to see why so many couples consider getting married abroad. Celebrity brides-to-be Katy Perry and Jennifer Lopez are both said to be planning destination weddings, with the Hustlers actress' fiancé previously saying that their nuptials will be a "long flight" away from home. However, while there are many perks to destination weddings, there can also be several complications, and lots of extra things to consider. We asked some experts from the wedding industry to share some of their top tips when planning a destination wedding…
WATCH: Go behind-the-scenes of Leona Lewis' destination wedding in Tuscany
1. Give your guests lots of notice
"Once you know the date of the wedding, you can start sending out save the date cards – best to give more notice if you're planning a destination wedding. At this stage you can give as much or as little information as you like: the key is to share date and location, and of course if you already know it will be a certain type of celebration (for example, multiple-day) that’s something you can let guests know now." (Vaishali Shah, Creative Director, ANANYA cards).
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2. Style your wedding to suit the venue and location
"There are so many options nowadays for destination weddings and each location gives the opportunity for different styling and wedding design (and for J.Lo everything is sure to be luxurious no matter what!). An opulent villa on the Italian lakes leads to dining alfresco at dusk amongst the olive trees lit by chandeliers that seem to float magically above the long tables. Go to a tropical destination and you'll want plenty of bright pops of colour, exotic native flowers and luxurious white orchids in abundance. Whereas a French chateau or palace brings more a classic fairy tale look - the ornate detailing of the interiors is the perfect backdrop for plenty of gold, opulent table details and antique candelabra. When styling a destination wedding, always work with the location rather than imposing a style into an unsuitable setting. That way you guarantee the venue and styling are the scenery, not the star of the show. " (Sarah Shuttle, Creative Director, Sarah Shuttle Creative)
3. Tailor your beauty look accordingly
"I predict that J-Lo will have a sleek, elegant hairstyle. Such as a pulled back ponytail. Or slick pinned sides with volume at the crown, straight or lightly waved hair cascading down her back giving a slight 60s vibe with the volume. This trend is in keeping of her signature style but adds a touch of sophisticated glam. Let your hairstylist know how your hair reacts to the climate (humidity) and different water. This will enable the morning to run smoothly. Nobody wants to have a Monica whilst walking down the aisle!" (Sally-Kate Duboux, Bridal Hair Stylist, Hair By Duboux.)
4. Research the legal implications
"Do your research into that country first to ensure you are aware of legal implications. Not checking the legalities can mean you may not be legally married! Some countries have a residency period of 7 days before you can legally marry. In France for example it is 40 continuous days." (Bernadette Chapman, Director of The UK Alliance of Wedding Planners).
5. Ensure you have the correct documentation
"Contact the UK-based embassy of the country you want to marry in, just to clarify what documentation you need for a wedding in that country. The embassy can give you the most up-to-date information regarding the legal requirements. If you are unable to meet legal requirements and/or residency requirements you may wish to have a symbolic ceremony abroad and a legal one in the UK." (Bernadette Chapman, Director of The UK Alliance of Wedding Planners)
6. Consider your guests
"Destination weddings are often more cost-effective for the wedding couple (you get more for your money). BUT they are way more costly for your guests due to travel and accommodation. If possible, offer alternative hotels, that maybe a little more cost effective nearby." (Kelly Mortimer, International Wedding Venue Consultant, Kelly Mortimer)
7. Choose your stationery to suit your destination
"Commissioning a bespoke illustration (of the wedding venue or the country you are getting married in) for your invitation suite is a lovely touch. This also makes a wonderful keepsake for you after the wedding! If there are colours native to the location, country, or season when you’re getting married, you can incorporate these too." (Vaishali Shah, Creative Director, ANANYA cards)
SHOP: Tropical floral wedding invitations, from £24 for 10, Papier
8. Re-think the traditional wedding cake
"Try not to replicate a UK wedding cake in a foreign country. The weather conditions may mean that it is too hot for a buttercream or fully iced cake and you will need to think about how the cake will be displayed. You will also need to consider what kind of designs the local bakeries can actually make (unless you have your cake flown over especially). My advice would be to embrace the local cake traditions as they will be suitable for that climate and will be the speciality of that area. It will also give your guests the opportunity to experience the local flavours and wedding traditions." (Debbie Gillespie, Cake Designer, Debbie Gillespie Cake Design.)
9. Choose your wedding venue carefully
"Ensure you have absolute trust in your wedding venue coordinator. The person you’ll be dealing with at the venue is always important but even more so with a destination wedding. As they’ll be your point of contact through planning and likely on the day. Be sure you feel comfortable with them and check how much support they can actually give. For example, will there be a video call each month and will they be coordinating on the day?" (Kelly Mortimer, International Wedding Venue Consultant, Kelly Mortimer)
10. Ask for help
Ask family. Asking a grandparent or parent about what inspires them from their culture could assist you with injecting any cultural elements into your stationery. And it’s a great way to include them in the wedding planning.
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