Overseas Wedding Planning Checklist!
Posted in Destination Weddings on February 23, 2015
1. Choose Your Weddings Abroad Destination
Some brides and grooms know exactly where they want to get married, while others need to mull over ideas before deciding. First, ask yourself why you want a destination wedding.
• Are you an adventurous couple who needs their wedding to reflect your wanderlust attitude?
• Do you want a wedding abroad to avoid certain friends who might attend a wedding you plan back home?
• Did you and your fiancé meet in an exotic location or on vacation?
No matter what your reasons are for planning a destination wedding, just try to pick a place that fits you and your fiancé’s personalities.
2. Find out the Legal Requirements
Once you’ve decided where to get married, call the embassy or consulate to the country you wish to get married in, and find out what they legal requirements are to get married in that country.
• Do a little research on what forms you need to fill out and the deadlines for submitting these forms.
• Fill out the forms by their deadlines.
• Say your vows in your home country and have your wedding ceremony in your destination country if you do not want to deal with the hassles of foreign marriage requirements
3. Choose the Date
Decide when you want to get married. Do a little research on the country before you set a date. Unless you’re getting married on the anniversary of the day you met your fiancé or have time-sensitive reasons to get married sooner rather than later (like an illness in the family or a work restriction), find out when the best time to get married in your desired country is.
• Do some research to find out what the weather is like during the year in your destination.
• Find out when tourist season falls in your destination country. You might want to avoid these months as it might be difficult to make large group bookings.
4. Get a Preliminary Headcount
You’ll need to get a better idea of the number of people attending your wedding than if you’d gotten married at home. When coming up with a budget, consider the wedding venue hire and tell your suppliers how many people you need to feed or house.
• Ask around to find out how many people are going to be attending your wedding. You’ll need these numbers later when you consider booking the wedding venues abroad or hotel arrangements.
• Send out your invitations with a shorter RSVP time frame than if you were getting married at home.
5. Set Your Budget
Once you know how many people will be attending your wedding, start planning your budget. Do some research to find out weddings abroad prices. If you’ve gotten a lot of “yes” RSVPs, you might want to figure out weddings abroad cost efficient food and rental hall options.
• Decide if you want an expensive or cheap weddings abroad.
• Ask your guests what their accommodation budgets are before choosing a hotel to book a block of rooms. If most of your guests are on a tight budget, don’t book an extremely expensive swanky hotel.
• Do research to find a hotel that has a large range of room prices or book two hotels (one pricier hotel and one budget hotel.
• Call vendors and ask for estimates.
• Make an Excel spreadsheet of costs that include:
o Hair and makeup
o Wedding venues rentals
o Flower arrangements
o Equipment/table rentals
If you have your heart set on an expensive hotel, you can always book a bridal suite at your hotel of choice and a block of rooms for your guests at a hotel nearby. You might not even decide to book rooms for your guests.
6. Choose your Celebration Activities
If you’re planning on having a reception, a rehearsal dinner, a wedding day brunch or other activities, you’ll need to book locations in advance.
• Book a restaurant for the rehearsal dinner
• Book a restaurant for the wedding day brunch
• Ask guests if they want to take part in group outing or sightseeing activities
• Decide how much of your trip you want to spend with your guests before the wedding and let them know your expectations before you make any bookings.
If you planned on spending a few nights alone with your new spouse, you won’t be dealing with Aunt Mildred’s complaints that she stayed a few extra nights to spend time with you.
7. Find Your Vendors/Planners
• Start calling and emailing vendors to find out who in your budget is available to help you out on your big day.
• Hire an overseas wedding planner to help make arrangements.
• Hire a translator if necessary to help facilitate foreign vendors.
• Hire a tour coordinator to help keep your guests together and on schedule.
• Find a wedding officiate or priest.
• Book the reception venue.
• Book the wedding venue.
• Put down a deposit on a caterer.
• Order a cake.
• Hire a photographer.
• Send your hairstylist pictures of your up-do ideas.
• Find travel for your guests to and from the venues.
• Buy wedding insurance.
8. Plan your Wedding and Your Reception
Just like at home, you’ll need to decide where you want your ceremony and reception to take place.
• Find out if your desired location is legal (for beach weddings abroad, find out if your favourite beach is legal for weddings).
• Call the church to ask what religious requirements you’ll need to abide by in your ceremony.
• Coordinate with the priest or officiate to decide the structure of your ceremony.
Once you’ve found a venue for your reception, you’ll need to plan it. Find out the cultural customs of your destination to find out what kind of food service is available.
9. Find Accommodations for Your Wedding Party and Guests
If your guests want you to book a block of rooms for them, find out what hotel you’d like to stay at. This is where your budget research comes in handy.
• Book a block of rooms in a variety of price ranges.
• Ask hotels about special rates for large parties and price shop for the best rate.
• Do research to find other hotels in the area for guests who do not want to stay with the wedding party.
• Book airport transfers for your guests, to and from their hotels.
Booking a hotel with free (or paid) airport transfers could save you a lot of hassle later, so try to find out which hotels offer this service.
10. Plan travel arrangements
Decide if you want to book airplane or train travel for your guests or if you want to let your guests book their own travel.
• Call around to different airlines and find out if you can get a group rate on your tickets.
• Call the airline and ask them if you can bring your wedding dress on the plane or if you’ll need to check it before boarding.
• Find out how much luggage you’ll need to bring and ensure it follows the airlines luggage limits.
• Make sure you’re not bringing items that are not safe for air travel.
11. Don’t Forget to Pack
Use this checklist to make sure you have all the items you’ll need with you. Double check to make sure you have your:
• Marriage documents
• Wedding insurance papers
• Travel insurance papers
• Dress and tux
• Photo for your hairstylist
• Guest book
• Other wedding day items you’ve purchased before heading to your destination.
Also, don’t forget to schedule a practice up-do to make sure you like the style your hairstyle creates for you.
12. Create a Wedding Day Itinerary
Just like you would for a wedding at home, plan your wedding day itinerary.
• Make copies of your wedding itinerary; pass them around to guests or ask the hotel to leave them in the guest rooms.
• Give your wedding planner, tour guide and translator a copy of this itinerary. Give a copy to your limo or town car driver.
• Double check with all your guests to make sure they know how they’re getting to and from the wedding if you haven’t booked transportation for everyone.
13. After Your Big Day
Your wedding and reception might be over, but your duties are far from finished. If you haven’t hired someone for clean-up, you’ll need to do everything yourself.
• Clean the venue.
• Return all your rental equipment.
Once everything you borrowed from vendors in your destination country is back in its homes, you can relax for the rest of your vacation.
After you get back to home, you’ll want to:
• Record your marriage, so your government knows it’s legitimate.
• Send thank you notes.
• Fill out forms for name changes.
• Return any equipment you rented at home.
• Get your dress cleaned, pressed and packed, so it doesn’t wrinkle or get damaged.
• Return rented tuxes or other apparel.
• Contact your photographer to buy wedding photos.
• Set up a website where your guests can view professional wedding photos and post photos they took with their digital cameras and smartphones.
• Make a list of deposits you need to get back from vendors.