A Destination Wedding – What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

If you’re envisioning that fantasy wedding on a tropical beach, or in some historic cathedral in a European capital, you need to keep your feet on the ground and consider some very real challenges that await you. Here are some things that can go wrong — and HAVE gone wrong — on destination weddings.

Inviting guests on time. A destination wedding requires a much longer planning timeline, especially if you hope to be surrounded by lots of friends. If you’re going to ask people to take an expensive trip to be by your side on your special day, they’ll need lots of time to save up enough money for the trip, and to make reliable travel reservations.

Making it legal. Too many couples assume that getting a marriage license in a foreign land is as simple as getting one in their home town. It’s not. Some countries require you to apply for your certificate months ahead of time. Some even require you to spend a week or more, living in the country of the wedding before you can qualify. Make sure you’re aware of any government holidays or cultural holidays in the host country, so you don’t show up for your license and find the office closed.

Avoiding misunderstandings. Be sure your agreements with photographers, videographers, florists, your ceremony venue, your decorator and all of your other vendors are in writing, with as much detail as possible. You may need to create agreements in two languages, depending upon the host country. The more you put in writing, the less likely a vendor will tell you, “I never agreed to that.”

Beating the weather. If you think rain is your biggest risk at a domestic wedding, consider that a destination wedding can bring anything from sweltering heat to high winds to high tides. If your ceremony will be outdoors, make sure everything is securely tied down. And choose a hairstyle that won’t be completely undone by the first gust of wind.

Traveling with your wedding gown. Imagine arriving at your dream destination, to discover that the gown you checked at your airport is now four countries away, because it got mistakenly placed on the wrong plane. Choose a simple gown that can fit into a carry-on bag; and include all of your vital travel papers, jewelry and accessories in that bag. Keep it close to you at all times.

You’re the outsider, not your hosts. The host country, or island, has its own customs, rules, pace of life, and quality of service. Your menu may be a lot different that what you like back home. Do some research to find out what’s available, so you and your guests won’t find yourselves starving because everything on the menu is too exotic for you.

Finally, plan another full wedding ceremony back home, even if it’s with a justice of the peace. That way, if anything goes wrong with your destination wedding, you’ll still be legally married. And if you’re planning a reception back home for the guests who couldn’t travel with you, be sure to shoot lots of video of your destination ceremony, and show it at your reception. Enjoy!   

© Fourth Estate Audio, 2017 – Jay Congdon is president of Fourth Estate Audio, a professional Chicago DJ and Chicago Wedding DJ company. 

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