Destination weddings are super popular these days as they allow couples to tie the knot in a place that is truly special to them, whether they’ve been there before or are visiting for the first time.
Since most couples choose to have their destination weddings in places with beautiful backdrops and plenty to do, many opt to stick around after the ceremony to get their honeymoons started in style immediately. Combining a destination wedding with an on-site honeymoon is a great idea, but only if couples do it right.
Read on to find out about six of the most important do’s and don’ts of combining a destination wedding with a honeymoon to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
Do: Hire a Wedding Planner with First-Hand Knowledge
The best way to ensure that everything goes smoothly while planning a wedding abroad is to hire a wedding planner who has first-hand knowledge of the location. That means not just knowing what places will offer the most beautiful backdrops but also having an intimate familiarity with local and national regulations concerning legal requirements, documentation, and timeframes for submitting documentation. These factors vary by country, and sometimes even by city, so get started planning that stunning destination wedding online at visualitineraries.com as early as possible.
Don’t: Expect Guests to Spend a Small Fortune
Many family members and friends will love the opportunity to go overseas and take in the sights, but only if they can afford to do it without breaking the bank. When planning destination weddings, the couple has to keep not just their own financial situation but also that of their guests in mind. It’s perfectly possible to find a location that offers beautiful scenery, luxurious accommodations, and a fun but relaxing atmosphere for the honeymoon without asking guests to spend years of their savings.
Do: Plan Activities Before the Ceremony
Guests don’t want to pay for plane tickets and spend many hours travelling just to attend a ceremony, spend one night, then leave. Invitees usually spend several days on-site and couples who plan to combine their destination weddings with their honeymoons usually spend upwards of a week relaxing and enjoying their new lives together, so make sure there are things to do. Provide structured but optional entertainment for guests so they’ll get to have a fulfilling experience that they’ll remember for a lifetime.
Some couples find it easier to plan destination weddings at resorts that offer full accommodations and plenty of activities for their guests. The right wedding planner will be able to recommend local restaurants, tourist attractions, beaches, and more, so don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations. It’s also fine to offer the planner plenty of information about what the couple and their guests like to do, and let this professional handle the rest of the planning process.
Don’t: Stay Far From the Guests
To reiterate, a destination wedding is about more than just the ceremony. That means couples should plan to spend plenty of time with their guests and should choose accommodations that make this easier. It’s perfectly fine to stay in a different resort after the guests leave. In fact, many destination wedding planners recommend it since moving to a different hotel lets couples leave all the stress of wedding planning behind when they start their honeymoons but try to find one that can accommodate everyone before the ceremony.
Couples planning destination weddings on a budget should keep this in mind when booking hotels, especially if they plan to pay for their guests’ rooms. There should be a range of options when it comes to resorts and lodgings, each of which will offer a different set of amenities and advantages. Choose one that allows couples and their guests a good balance of luxury and affordability.
Do: Create a Realistic Bucket List
There’s no need to include the guests in every activity, but try to get an idea of what they might want to do while they’re there. If all the guests love spending time on the beach, but few of them enjoy rigorous physical activity, adventurous couples don’t have to cross strenuous hikes, free diving, and horseback rides off their to-do lists completely. They should just save them for their private time after the guests leave.
Even if couples plan to take advantage of destination wedding packages, they should still look into local options. Honeymoons are supposed to create memories that last a lifetime, so find activities that both newlyweds enjoy, even if they’re a little off the beaten path. A good wedding planner will be able to help the couple find fun honeymoon activities, as well.
Don’t: Invite Best Friends to Stay for Weeks
A honeymoon is supposed to give newlywed couples the time to appreciate each other’s company. While it’s fine to schedule a few post-wedding events and invite best friends or cherished family members to stick around for a day or two, it’s never a good idea to invite them along for the entire ride. After days of hosting family and friends before and during the wedding, couples usually want time to unwind and enjoy each other’s company. If there is ever a time that three (or more) is a crowd, it’s during a honeymoon, so make sure everyone invited knows when the fun will be over and it’s time to either head home or to make independent plans for their own, separate vacations.
The Bottom Line
Planning a combination wedding and honeymoon can be immensely fulfilling. Couples and their guests will have new experiences in beautiful locations and create memories together that will last a lifetime, and once all the festivities are done, newlyweds will already be in a perfect place to relax, unwind, and enjoy each other’s company. The keys to ensuring that everything goes off without a hitch are to start planning early, to find a wedding planner with firsthand knowledge of the location, to ensure that guests will feel that the trip was worth their money, and to set clear expectations about when the festivities will end and the guests should leave.