Siddiqha Naseem | Jan 28th 2017

A wedding signifies the beginning of a sacred bond between a man and woman. But if this happens in an exotic destination it would be a dream come true. Siddiqha Naseem has a step-by-step guide to plan your perfect destination wedding

Do you remember the big fat castle wedding from the movie ‘Shaandaar’? The movie depicts the goals of every couple’s dream destination wedding. Who would not want to have a ‘Shaandaar' wedding? However planning for such a wedding is no piece of cake and can get overwhelming without guidance. Keeping note of the arrangements for tickets, menus, accommodation, customs, venue, guest lists and décor is not as easy as it sounds. Here is a list of tips that will help you plan your dream destination wedding.

Decide on the theme

The first step to plan your destination wedding is to decide what kind of wedding you want. There are enough options in beach weddings, rustic weddings, palace weddings, traditional weddings or vintage weddings. Picturing your big day is the first step to plan the wedding

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Draw a clear budget

Destination weddings can easily get expensive. Therefore it is essential to plan for a clear budget. It is essential to involve your partner and family for a discussion as this is going to be a huge deal. List down all the possible costs you can think of, including the venue, accommodation, catering, tickets, jewellery, outfits and decor. Then compare the expense list with your budget. Cut down your expenses based on your priorities if the estimation crosses your budget. It is important that you follow this budget list throughout the wedding to keep your expenses in line with your budget.

Hire a helping hand

Destination wedding planning is quite a hectic. It is impossible to plan a whole wedding all by your own, especially when you are not aware of the destination and the local vendors. It is always a good idea to hire a wedding planner to take care of the particulars. Look for wedding planners who have expertise in destination weddings, and go through their portfolios and testimonials. Choose the best planner and organize a meeting at least eight months prior the wedding date to ensure all the arrangements are in place, well in advance.

Plan your guest list

Destination weddings often feature smaller ceremonies so it may not be applicable for couples who want a grand ceremony (unless they can afford it). Always keep the list short with your closest friends and family members. Don’t be disappointed when some guests don’t show up as it is not possible for everyone to afford the travel or take time off work. However, take a look at your budget and invite guests accordingly

Your dream destination

When all the paper work is done, it’s time for some practical business. List down the possible venues for your wedding. Bring in several options and check their pros and cons. Talk to your wedding planner and choose the perfect venue. Make sure you find local vendors for catering, photography and décor, as they know the venue better. Keep in mind that apart from hosting the ceremony, the venue should have proper accommodation for you and your guests, must be easily accessible. With a little help from the internet, you can look up the reviews and pictures of previous weddings held in the same place.

The perfect date

Once you have decided on the venue, it is always recommended that you do some research. Learn about the climate and weather conditions and choose your wedding date accordingly. You would not want to pick the monsoon season which would have high probabilities of rain. Make sure you have an alternate plan in place in case the weather plays havoc. Do not select festive seasons as your guests might choose to spend time with their family

Duration of your stay

Go through your rough plan and decide on how many days you will stay there. Count in a day prior your ceremonies and a day or two after the wedding. This will avoid the confusion of settling in and checking out before and after the wedding

Getting your wedding license

If the wedding is taking place in some other country, it is important to comply with all the laws and regulations, especially with respect to public places, labour contracts and marriage licenses

Booking tickets

Your tickets must be booked at least three months prior to the wedding date. This helps you get a reasonable price for the tickets.Hotel booking must also be in place well in advance so there is no chaos at the last minute

Send out invites

Once you have planned everything, send out your wedding invites to friends and family. Make sure you send invites at least three to six months prior the wedding, so that they can plan for the trip accordingly