ONE | Choosing the right venue
- Budget – work out how much you can afford to save between now and the wedding day, and how much you wish to spend on the wedding/honeymoon. It’s important you’re honest so paying for the wedding doesn’t become a burden.
- Style – what type of wedding do you both imagine? A small intimate affair with just the two of you & few close friends or a large gala style extravaganza. Make sure your budget matches your desire.
- Accessibility – do you have any guests with walking difficulties or that need special considerations. Remember not all remote islands or destinations are adapted for accessibility.
- Food – are you adventurous or do you play it safe with food? Do you prefer a buffet style dinner or do you want everyone served at their seats? Do you want a light dinner or a 6 course dinner with full champagne reception? Some venues only offer one style of dining so make sure your venue offers menus that suit.
- Restrictions – when you research venues make sure you check details like minimum or maximum guest numbers. Some venues can charge high fees if you don’t meet their minimum guest numbers or a smaller venue may have restricted guest numbers due to size. Make sure you’re aware before you start working on your guest lists.
- Weather, High V Low season – Do you prefer warm spring days, sweltering hot summers or even snow capped mountains in winter. Although you may be familiar with the Mediterranean climate if you’re going further afield make sure you check the climate. Check for things like hurricane or monsoon season – we have enough rain in the UK, I’m pretty sure the one thing you won’t want on your wedding day, is a ‘high chance’ of rain.
TWO | Guest List
- Don’t panic if your guest list is too high, you either need to compromise and find a way to lower it or find a cost effective venue that offer more casual styles of dining to keep a costs under control.
- Another idea for larger guests lists is to have 3 lists and send invites in stages. 1. VIP’s – people you absolutely can’t get married without them being there. 2. The B LIST – friends and family that are next closest. 3. The C LIST – other family and friends that you’d like to have but wont be overly upset if they can’t join you.
As soon as you’ve had RSVP’s from your VIP’s and your The B LIST you know how many you can afford to invite from the C LIST. Simple.
- If this all seems too much then go small. We plan lots of weddings with only 10/15 guests and they are perfectly intimate and beautiful and probably a little easier to plan.
THREE | When
- Make sure you check with your VIP list about key dates such as exams, work holidays and any commitments they can’t get out of, so you can work your wedding date around these.
- School holidays for some are absolutely necessary, however if you can avoid them (no kids or pre schoolers) then outside of school holiday there are savings to be made. Holidays in June and September are typically cheaper for this reason and if you’re heading to the Med the weather is fab in these months too.
FOUR | Booking Your Venue
- Checking contracts. Once you’ve narrowed your list and you’re ready to book it’s time to ask and see the contract, make sure you read this carefully and understand payments terms, any venue or activity restrictions, minimum spends, start and end times etc. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or negotiate possible contract amendments if you think you have a case.
- If you’ve negotiated a special offer then make sure this is noted on the contract/paperwork – such as a discounted hire fee.
FIVE | Hiring A Wedding Planner
- How organised are you? Do you have the time needed to do all the research, reference checking and quality control needed to secure the best suppliers for your wedding abroad? If you can’t then it’s worth considering hiring a wedding planner, after all it’s not like you can take multiple trips abroad to check on suppliers and plans.
- As weddings become bigger & plans more complex it’s not uncommon for venues to require you hire an independent wedding planner so it’s worth checking your contract.
- Make sure if you plan on working independently that you have a good command of the local language and strong competent negotiating skills. Not only to get the best price but to make sure you get the exact service you require.
SIX | Booking key suppliers
- With weddings being booked more in advance than ever before it’s important to book your key suppliers as soon as your date is confirmed. By key Supplier I mean, Caterer (if not inhouse) Photographer, Videographer, Entertainment and hair and makeup. Some Destinations can be short of certain suppliers so to get the best suppliers it’s important to give yourself as much choice as possible by booking early.
- Put together a rough schedule of your day to ensure you book suppliers for the correct times and durations.
- Check all contracts carefully, paying special attention to certain details such as durations of hire, start/end times, prices and any annual increases.
SEVEN | Pre wedding visit
- If it’s in your budget then I’d always suggest a pre wedding visit to get to know your venue and the area. There’s nothing quite like walking around a venue to truly understand the space what you will OR wont need and to get an idea for decoration and set up.
- Also try to visit the hotel you’re considering for your honeymoon and organise a viewing of your a room if one is available.
- Arrange a tasting of your wedding menu, if you need to make any changes then this is the time to do it.
- Also use this time to find restaurants that will be big enough to meet up in or for get togethers for guests, also for any pre /post get togethers.
EIGHT | Legal work
- First you need to see what’s necessary for you to get legally married so contact the relevant embassy to request the legal requirements.
- Make sure you have originals of all the necessary documents, passports in date, full versions of your marriage certificates, divorce decrees, change of name etc.
- Put key dates in your diary and if necessary find a translator.
NINE | Finalising
- Make sure you know when final orders/payments are due and put these notes in your diary
- Arrange couriering items to the venue, such as decoration, seating plan etc. To save having to take too many items over on the plane with you.
- Finalise set up times on the day, what time will you have access to the venue, who will help? Hire a decorator if needed. On this note find out if the venue will store items on the night of the wedding or if you’ll be responsible for collecting items on the night.
- Set up a wedding Whatsapp group to use for communication when you arrive at your destination, will be much easier and possibly cheaper than calling/texting everyone.
TEN | When you arrive
It’s important to put plans in place before you arrive at your destination so you can relax as much as possible once celebrations start, I suggest organising the following
- Making a schedule of the wedding day and any pre/post wedding events and then emailing a copy to all guests and suppliers so everyone is fully aware of what’s going on. Be sure to include addresses and contact numbers of any key contacts.
- Have a final check with all suppliers to confirm plans and timings and set up any face to face meetings – photographer/videographer etc
- Arrange a final visit to the venue to go over final plans and one last walk through.
- Arrange a time to unpack and prep any decorations you have bought, I always think it’s nice to do this with a group of friends and turn it into a mini hen party with a bit of fizz.
That’s it folks…
Our Top 10 Tips(or categories) on how to plan a wedding abroad.
We understand this is a long list but being prepared beforehand will ensure you have a dream wedding day without any mishaps!