Chris and Sofia, wedding planners at LAH-CAL Agency, share some tips on planning your destination wedding, from timing it right to picking the perfect spot.
- Experiences and Planning
Weddings are a personalised experience all about the couple, family and friends. Lock yourself away and take a trip down memory lane, looking back at your romance, the highlights, memorable things you did together, the friends you met along the way — all possible things to share with your guests on your big day. Do not forget: a destination wedding is a pre to post experience, from the moment the invites go out, to your webpage where family and friends can help you build up to the day, to when you return home, to thanking your guests.
As it is with any event, planning is key to a wedding. There is no need for fancy software. All you need is good, old-fashioned Microsoft Excel. List all the things to be done in preparation for the wedding, as well as after the event. This would include venue sourcing, sending invites, finding a caterer, and preparing a playlist, among other things. Allocate tasks to the people helping you, assign deadlines and make sure you buffer a few extra days. This will give you a clear timeline and serve as your checklist. Remember to update it regularly so you can keep track of what has been accomplished and act swiftly in case of delays.
- LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION…
Getting the location of your destination wedding is a tricky one. Do you go for an unknown destination or somewhere you have been on holiday before? The location of your wedding determines not only the mood (rustic, sophisticated, beachy), but also the travel time and budget required to pull it off. The location should reflect your personality as a couple, and should also have something to offer to your guests as well.
Here are few locations and venues we recommend:
Bawah Private Island – Located off the coast of Singapore, an intimate location for weddings for up to 70 guests in sheer luxury.
Voyager Estate – Thinking of a wedding in Perth, Australia? Voyager Estate in Margaret River is recognised for its magnificent gardens, impressive restaurant and elegant wines, which combine to create a stunning setting.
Alila Villas Uluwatu – Built on the cliffs of Uluwatu, it offers an endless ocean horizon. This, coupled with one of the best architecture in Bali, makes a stunning venue for a wedding.
Paco Park Garden – Exchange your wedding vows at the St. Pancratius Chapel in Manila, Philippines and hold an intimate wedding reception in the park. Remember to leave enough time to get the altar. Traffic is a nightmare in Manila!
Eventloft – Have a European city wedding in style at Eventloft. Located in the heart of Berlin, Germany, this space is underscored by the unique view of the Oberbaum Bridge from the spacious Spree terrace.
Obonjan Island – Imagine crystal blue waters and star–filled skies. This is a truly one-of-a-kind wedding location off the Croatian Coast that combines wellness and style.
The Byre at Inchyra – Situated in the heart of Perthshire, Scotland is the Byre at Inchyra. It’s infinitely more than a relaxed wedding barn venue, being hi-tech and fully equipped, giving you everything you need for an unforgettable celebration.
Consider the time of the year you are going to get married, factor in the weather and consider getting married out of the tourist season to avoid the higher rates.
- Venue Visit
Even if you have been to the destination of your wedding, take at least one planning trip. On the first trip, you’ll need to scout and secure your key venues — ceremony and reception spaces, hotels for guests, a rehearsal dinner venue — and local suppliers such as caterers, florists and photographers. Our advice is to come up with a “number one” preferred venue & suppliers, and a “number two” as back-up.
If done right, a destination wedding can cost no more — and maybe even less — than hosting the same party at home (depending on where you live, of course). So sit down and list all your expenses and include a contingency for unexpected expenses of between five to ten percent.
From the legal side of tying the knot, to local customs, to the speed at which things get done, do your research, harness the knowledge of the internet. From google search to Facebook groups to in-country bloggers, read-up, ask questions from experts and couples who have gotten married in your chosen destination. The insights shared will help you in making your big day go smoothly.
While planning a wedding in your own country may be easy, a destination wedding comes with its pitfalls including language and time zone. Plan early by all means, but do consider a local coordinator to manage the last mile of your wedding. LAH-CAL offers a number of services from venue finding through to end-to-end planning or just a same-day coordinator to help deliver your big day.
Don’t forget about your guests flying into your destination wedding. Create a personalised experience for your guests from ice-breakers to accommodation to transfers. Remember, the place may be totally new to some of your guests, so it would be great if you can make their experience a truly memorable one. LAH-CAL takes away the hassle of these preparations by providing end-to-end guest wedding experience management services.
Make sure you have a legal contract with each of your suppliers. Before signing any legal contract, read through the fine print and negotiate the terms, including payment.
- Thank you
Two weeks before your big-day, have a call with your venue manager and key suppliers to run through what is expected of them. Create a list of pending items, agree on timelines, an make sure you follow up. Most importantly, thank them and their teams in advance for helping your destination wedding a success.
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