Charlotte Ricard-Quesada, founder & creative director of La Fete, a bespoke events planning company, is also a well-versed expert in the topic of destination weddings. If you're considering getting married abroad then you're in luck - BAZAAR sat down with the brains behind all your bridal needs to find out how to plan the perfect wedding...
"When it comes to picking your locations, we're not just talking about the venue, but the country, too," says Charlotte. "There are a few considerations when choosing where you want to get hitched..."
Is this a special place to you and your partner? You of course don't have to pick somewhere with a meaning, but it makes it that much more special, whether it's a family tie or your favourite holiday location, or even where you've dreamed of tying the knot your whole life.
Is it easily accessible for your guests? If you want to get married in the Maldives, that's great. However, can your guests get there? Will they make the trip? Would you like your elderly family members at your wedding? Be sensitive to your guests needs and average budget.
Are there enough facilities on site? As well as the actual trip, will your guests have sufficient
accommodation options on-site? If you're having a 300 person extravaganza in a remote location, you need to be able to house your guests to a decent standard. Take this into consideration when choosing your venue.
We can't stress the importance of pre-booking time to visit the venue before making your final decision, as well as during your planning process. So be prepared to invest in travel.
As well as taking into account your guests' budgets (if you even want guests there, you might want to plan a beautiful elopement!), there are things you will need to consider for your destination wedding...
Edit, edit, edit! Your final guestlist is of paramount importance. Pick your guests carefully and consider how they will mesh as a group, particularly when all of your guests will be travelling over, and nobody has a link to the location. Do create groups that you think will work well, generally by language is a safe bet and work from there for table plans, etc.
Plan events around the wedding. Guests might be travelling from far away and you want
to be able to spend time with them: consider a brunch, dinner or activity for your guests to join you in.
Also, be prepared for a lower turnout than expected: destination weddings can be tricky for guests to attend sometimes, whether it's for budget reasons, fear of flying, difficulty in obtaining a visa.
We'd always recommend the maximum amount of time to plan a wedding, and this is no exception for a destination wedding, which sometimes can take even longer. Do consider the following when estimating the time needed to plan your ceremony:
Which season do you want to get married? I might seem like an obvious question but think about the kind of weather you want to tie the knot in. Be mindful of monsoons, stormy months, excessive snowfall, etc. You'll have enough on your plate and don't want to be panicking about the weather patterns of your chosen location.
Booking lead times. This goes for the venue, but also the hotels around the venue for yourself
and your guests. Make sure to enforce this and fix booking deadlines, or book out hotels yourself for guests to stay in.
Don't hesitate to chase people, or if you have a planner, entrust them with keeping everyone and everything under control.
HIRE A PLANNER
Hiring a planner for your destination wedding is super important, particularly a planner who speaks the local language and is used to working abroad.
Your planner also needs to have an understanding of what is possible for your budget in your chosen location, as well as a solid network of suppliers, knowledge of local legislation (particularly useful if you're getting legally married abroad) and a cultural understanding of you, your partner and your chosen country/city.