Choosing A Destination Wedding Location

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Help! My Bride Wants a Destination Wedding!
special series by guest expert Larissa Banting

More and more brides are choosing to marry abroad for a variety of reasons, from needing a 'neutral' territory for feuding families to wanting a unique and exotic location to just wanting to save some money. Since 2001, spending on destination weddings rose 318% and 8% of U.S. brides surveyed in April 2007 said they were planning on marrying abroad. With stats like this, you're likely to find yourself working with a destination bride at some point in the near future.

Great, you say to yourself, then what do I do?! Where do I start?! I've never been to Bora Bora and I'm supposed to plan a wedding weekend there? I don't even know where Anguilla is!

Before you run for the nearest Scotch bottle, relax. Over the next twoweeks, I'll lay out the steps necessary for planning a successful destination wedding. Planning a wedding in San Jose, California or San Jose, Costa Rica isn't all the different and as long as you know up front what you need, what is possible and what isn't, you'll be just fine.

OK, so first things first. Your bride announces she wants to have a destination wedding and your first question is - where? If she's not 100% sure, help her narrow it down to three possibilities. And if she's still not clear beyond 'somewhere', the following questions will  help her focus:

A)  When she closes her eyes, her perfect wedding location looks like . . . ?  Beach? Volcano? Overlooking an ocean? A Medieval stone Church? A flat plain with kangaroos bounding about?

This one question can narrow the field of possibilities down considerably.  If she has visions of Renaissance splendor, then you can strike off pretty much everywhere except Europe, for example.

B) How many people is she expecting?

The larger the wedding, the more difficult it's going to be to transport and house them. To get to an island like St. Croix requires a couple of plane changes and flights on very small aircraft - not ideal for a large group. There are some areas where a large wedding is not a possibility due to lack of infrastructure. Here in Costa Rica, for example, there are only a handful of beach hotels that can adequately accommodate weddings of 100+ people.

C) Does she want a formal or less formal wedding?

If she wants a formal wedding, with black ties and tails, a beachside affair probably isn't the way to go.  A stone church in Italy, however, may just be the ticket.

D) A religious or civil ceremony?

A bride wanting a Greek Orthodox wedding in Belize may find herself out of luck. Not all churches are found in all countries and rules for each church often vary. For example, Catholic ceremonies al fresco seem to be quite popular in Mexico but the Church in Costa Rica will not allow any wedding mass outside.

After answering these four questions, you and your client should have a clearer idea of where in the world to have the wedding and you can move onto the next steps of narrowing down the precise location and hotel. Tune in tomorrow as we go in search of your new best friend . . . the travel agent.

© 2008 Larissa Banting for The Smart Planner™

You May Also Like


Speaking + Training


Press + Accolades