When couples set out to plan a destination wedding, it can be challenging to navigate all the components that go into getting married in a different country.
Not only is there the wedding side of things, but there is also the travel side of things and if you are bringing guests with you, there are logistics that need to be planned.
I’ve seen couples make several mistakes when planning their destination wedding without the help of an expert, and I wanted to point out the 5 MOST COMMON MISTAKES and how you can AVOID them when planning your destination wedding.
Here are the top 5 most common mistakes couples make when planning a destination wedding:
Not Choosing a Resort That is a Good Fit For All The Guest’s Needs
When hosting a destination wedding group, you have to remember that your guests are going to be at the resort venue for more than just one day, You’ll need to know the needs of your guests to make sure that the location & resort you selected will fulfill those needs.
For example, You’ll want to Find out any special dietary needs or food allergies your guests have like a vegan or gluten-free diet. You’ll also want to ask if anyone has any physical limitations. Some resorts are set on a cliffside and have a lot of stairs and hills, or don’t offer elevators
Determine the needs of guests with children. Most resorts offer kids programs for ages 4-12, but not all will have services for children younger than that. You’ll want to find out if there are nanny services available and if those are done at a space at the resort or if they can be offered in the guest’s room.
2. Not Pre-Arranging Airport Transfers (Shuttle Service)
As a destination wedding specialist, one of the services I offer is setting up the roundtrip airport shuttle service for the guests. A mistake I see couples make is not considering this and/or leaving it up to the guests. This can result in families being stuck at the airport overpaying for help to get to the resort or getting suckered into a timeshare promo just to get a ride! This can really start your wedding celebration off on a sour note!
3. Not Asking Your Guests to Arrive Two Days in Advance
There are so many little things that make destination wedding travel go smoothly and one of those is having your guests arrive two days prior to the wedding date. If guests arrive the day before the wedding, they risk missing the wedding. How? Well, if a guest misses a connection or there are mechanical issues with their plane, and they can’t get on a flight until the next day, they will be put on whatever flight is available and that may get them to the destination too late to be a part of your celebration.
4. Not Holding a Block of Rooms
When hosting a group of people at a resort, if at all possible, you SHOULD hold a block of rooms. If you leave it up to chance, the resort could sell out, guests could book inaccurate dates, and guests can possibly book themselves at the incorrect property.
Beyond this, there are great perks for hosting a group at a resort, and if not set up right, couples can easily miss out on the opportunity to earn things like free rooms, free upgrades, free events like a cocktail reception, and more.
These extras can save a wedding couple thousands of dollars on their destination wedding!
As you might imagine, mistake number 4 is one of the main reasons that couples choose to hire a destination wedding specialist like myself to assist them with planning a wedding away.
This leads me to mistake #5…
5. Not working with a destination wedding specialist.
Many couples will choose to work with either a traditional wedding planner or a travel planner, but the best option for couples planning a destination wedding is to work with a destination wedding specialist.
This way you get the best of both worlds – a travel planner who can handle the logistics and nuances of setting up and managing group travel, as well as an expert who understands the ins and outs of planning a destination wedding abroad.
A destination wedding specialist has connections and first-hand knowledge that will not only help couples save thousands of dollars, but will save them a ton of time, and have venue recommendations that a couple may not find on their own.
BONUS: MISTAKE ALERT: Booking Your Wedding Directly With the Resort
As I was putting this list together, I thought of one more REALLY IMPORTANT mistake I see couples make, that is just too IMPORTANT to leave out.. Many couples will try to book their destination wedding directly with a resort, the problem is these resort & wedding staff agents are MAXED OUT and even more so right now during this new travel boom after COVID! This leads to poor response times, frustrated guests, and bad contracts that can leave you owing penalties and fees!
It’s better to let a destination wedding professional help you put everything together, set up a favorable contract, set up a room block, and ask your guests about any special needs they have.
As you can see, there are many things to consider when planning your destination wedding. if you ignore these key points, plan on the possibility of facing some pretty significant issues down the road. Of course, the good news is that a lot of problems are preventable if you just plan effectively from the outset.
Always remember, if you want an AMAZING destination wedding, but don’t want ALL the stress of putting it all together, there are destination wedding professionals, like me and others who can take the logistics off of your shoulders! We will set up a favorable contract, hold a block of rooms, handle all of the bookings for your guests, check on any of their specific needs, as well as provide prompt customer service!
I personally offer a complimentary 30-minute strategy session to help wedding couples, just like you, figure out the best plan to bring your destination wedding to life! If you are stuck or feel like you’re hitting a wall in your planning, just use the link here to schedule with me today, and we can get you moving forward in your wedding planning.