My husband and I got married in Italy in June 2016. Upon hearing that, most people seem really surprised that we opted for a destination wedding–especially after I tell them that we had never before visited the villa where we ended up having our ceremony. I know, crazy right? We’re weird like that.
Having a destination wedding isn’t as tricky as it sounds though. There are just a few special things you have to consider.
First, is there a language barrier?
If you’re getting married in an English-speaking country, you get to cross one big concern off your list. If you decide to get married in a country where the majority of the citizens don’t speak a language you’re fluent in, however, you need to figure out how to bridge the language gap.
Thankfully, you can find English-speakers in nearly every country. Around half a billion people speak English as a secondary language. Once you get to your destination, you have a good shot of finding at least one person who can speak to you and understand you. You’ll want to find someone fluent in the native tongue to help you plan your wedding though, so that he or she can communicate your vision to everyone involved–even those who don’t speak English.
Second, a wedding planner is key.
A good (English-speaking) wedding planner in your chosen locale will make all the difference. After a (several day) Google search, I picked out Romeo and Juliet Weddings in Italy to help me plan. The price was right, they seemed knowledgeable and experienced, and they specialize in helping plan destination weddings.
I contacted plenty of planners overseas who wanted to charge me an outrageous fee. However, there are plenty of planners who are more reasonable. Just keep looking until you find an option that works for you and your budget.
Once you have your wedding planner locked in, everything else becomes easier. My planner helped me choose a venue, schedule our reception meal, find a florist, photographer, videographer, cellist for the ceremony, an officiant, gave me options for extra wedding events (we went on a wine tasting and tour at a nearby castello) and all the details in between. He contacted my venue to make sure everything would be set up correctly, and offered me advice and tips for planning. Trust me, a planner is absolutely worth the expense!
Third, underestimate your guest list.
When planning a destination wedding, it goes without saying that you won’t have as many attendees as if you were planning a ceremony at home. However, the number you imagine may be much smaller than you anticipate. When talking about a destination wedding, it’s natural for family and friends to become excited and say they’ll attend. When it comes time to actually book flights, however, it’s likely that many of them will realize they’re actually not able to take off of work or actually don’t have enough money to come.
That’s okay. In fact, I think having a smaller, more intimate wedding is actually more special than a huge affair. You’re only surrounded by people who really care and love you, and you can focus more on what the wedding is really about–your marriage to the love of your life.
If you want to celebrate with people who are unable to attend your ceremony, consider having a stateside reception or just a big party when you get home from your honeymoon. After my husband and I returned from Europe, we had a big, fancy brunch (because we love brunch!) reception at a gorgeous venue in our hometown. We were well-rested, stress-free, and got to just celebrate our marriage with our family and friends in a fun environment. Plus, no one felt left out, even if they couldn’t attend our actual wedding in Italy.
Planning a destination wedding certainly takes a little extra thought, but it’s absolutely worth it. It’ll leave you with a wedding as beautiful, meaningful, and unique as the love you and your fiance share.