Hey There Destination Brides!
I have been working so hard on my new ebook: 9 Steps for Canadians Planning a Destination Wedding.
It is almost 20 pages so I can’t post the whole thing but here is the summary. If you want the whole book (and I think you do), I will email it to you instantly if you sign up using this form: www.loveatfirsttravel.com/271-2 . Don’t like using automated forms? Send me a quick line on my contact form and I will send it within 24 hours (sooner if I have had my coffee)
Even though I strongly recommend you download the whole ebook, I wouldn’t drag you to this page without giving your the 9 steps would I?
So here they are:
- DREAM BIG – the world is big so whatever you want in a destination wedding, you will be able to find it. It is so much easier to find a perfect match when you know exactly what you are looking for trust me. Start thinking about your guest list at this point too. Nobody expects you to know the exact amount of guests but you should have an idea whether it will be ten people or one hundred.
- BUDGET – the ebook breaks it down into specific budgets but basically you need to decide on a wedding budget and a travel budget. Two separate budgets!! And you thought destination wedding planning was easy ;). The average travel budget from Edmonton is close to $1800 per person for a week abroad. Most wedding couples spend under $5000 on the actual wedding package. These numbers are meant to give you a jumping off point at least 🙂
- BRING IN THE EXPERTS – Maybe me? You will need a travel agent to arrange everything for you and your guests. It doesn’t cost you any extra to have this help with your plans so don’t punish yourself by trying to DIY. You also need a wedding planner although if you are choosing a wedding package at a resort, a wedding planner is usually included in your package. However, if you do want something really personalized or are not planning on choosing an all inclusive package, you should also hire a wedding planner. Don’t worry, I can help you find one or provide a list of verified wedding planners depending on your location.
- CHOOSE A LOCATION – Mexico or Paris? All-inclusive or planning every detail? What is your wedding style? Think about where you are flying from and which destinations offer direct flights or only one layover. If you need some destination information check out my destinations page here. Different places have different requirements for legal ceremonies so depending how important that is to you will be a major factor as well.
- SAVE THE DATE – As soon as you have decided on a location, you need to save the date. Usually locations abroad book a year in advance and many venues or resorts cap a certain amount of weddings per week. The farther in advance you plan the more notice you can give your guests as well. Throughout the planning process, his is probably the first step where you actually part with some of your hard-earned cash. Expect to pay a deposit of $100-$500 per person for travel and $250-$1000 to save the date with the venue/resort. YOU SHOULD ALSO BE PREPARED TO BUY WEDDING INSURANCE AND TRAVEL INSURANCE (yes, two different kinds of insurance!).
- SEND SAVE THE DATES – Obviously this should happen as soon as you save the date. In my opinion you should also have a wedding website that you can update as time goes on. There is no way you can fit all the information into a save the date email or invitation so a website is a good resource and their are lots of websites that provide free websites with their slug (.wordpress.com, .weebly.com, .weddingwire.com to name a few). Email is a popular choice for destination wedding brides as it you are instantly getting in touch with your guests but ultimately you need to decide what works best for your guests.
- ENJOY (& BE AS BUSY AS YOU WANT TO BE) – I truly believe that part of the beauty of a destination wedding is that you can do almost nothing to plan and still have a beautiful wedding. Although, some brides and grooms love planning details and personalizing their wedding and that works too! Take some time to enjoy being engaged and enjoy the wedding planning process. During this time, if you and your fiance are planning bachelor/bachelorette parties away be sure to put them in touch with your travel agent as early as possible to ensure maximum attendance. I admit Steps 7 & 8 are a little vague with their titles but basically I consider Step 7 to be before the three months away point and Step 8 to be the final three months since usually you aren’t finalizing any details until Step 8, you are just planning.
- FINISHING TOUCHES – This is where you finalize everything you dreamt about in Step 7. the venue will be in contact and will finalize all the details for you. Final payment for you and your guests travel will likely fall around the 45-60 day before mark but it might be sooner for additional discounts. At this point I think it is nice to send out information to your guests as well especially if you don’t have a wedding website. You may have a few different events like welcome cocktails, thank you catamaran excursion, etc that you want to let them know about. You may not have known the time of the wedding ceremony when you sent your save the dates but you do now.
- HAVE AN AMAZING WEDDING – enough said. Don’t forget to send thank you cards to everyone who attended as well. You can set up a photo sharing site so all of your guests can upload their photos from the week to share as well.
So there is a summary for you! Any questions at all regarding destination wedding planning please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. If you haven’t downloaded the whole book yet click here and get a copy sent your way!