Planning a destination wedding

MY GREEK WEDDING

When I met Alberto, I knew from the very beginning that he was the person I wanted to spend my life with. As everyone, we had our fair share of ups and downs. We learned to stay strong when life throws us against a wall, and stay grounded when things are good.

Last year today we finally got married.

He proposed on a rainy night at the most unexpected moment. Didn't took us long after that to decide that we wanted to get married in Greece. When we started dating, we spent a wonderful summer between Santorini, Lefkada, and my mother's hometown.

Alberto fell in love with me, and Greece, and the local food, in this order (or maybe not). 😆

Getting and being married has been one of the most exceptional experiences of my life. But I won't lie, planning a destination wedding it's not all fun and games, it can also be an exhausting and frustrating process.
Today I would love to share what I learned during those crazy months!

DESTINATION

When picking the perfect destination for your wedding, keep in mind these four factors:

WEATHER
You can't predict the weather but you can play the odds by picking a date and a destination that work on your favor. Check out AccuWeather extended forecasts to get a better idea.


TRAVEL CONVENIENCE
 Is your destination conveniently located nearby an international/local airport? How will your guests get there? Don't forget to check flight tickets costs on Skyscanner, remote destinations tend to be more expensive.

$
If you're picking a popular destination check if there are affordable accomodation options for your guests. We initially wanted to get married in Mykonos, but after checking hotel and flight prices we quickly changed our minds. Our guests were already paying lots to fly to Greece; we couldn't ask them to spend 100$ a night for accommodation. 

VACATION SPOT
Most of your guests will try to combine your wedding with their vacations since they're already taking days off and flying out. Try to find a place that can be enjoyable and offers activities and cultural sites.

BUDGET

PRIORITIZE. When you start planning your budget, sit and write down a list of things you would like to have on your big day, once you visualize the big picture, underline all of the items that are an absolute must. Choose what it is most important to you and always remember this is your wedding, you don't have to spend on things only because this is what other people do. Choose on things that make you happy and are meaningful to you and your story.

COMPROMISE. Learn to compromise on things that you really want but are over-budget. Will it be cheaper if you choose another date or destination? Can you DIY it? Can you cut budget on something else?
Hello lateral thinking!

LET GO. Ultimately cut off things that won't make any huge impact on the overall experience.

WEDDING PLANNER

I will never stress this enough: for your mental sanity, please get a local wedding planner!
Having worked in the event industry for a good amount of years, I thought I could easily handle this myself. Three months and endless emails later I had concluded nothing. Everything felt so unnecessarily complicated and overwhelming.

That's when we contacted Lorraine and ever since I kept asking myself why I didn't do this before! It is important that you find someone that you go along with, someone who makes you feel heard and understood and that you can truly trust. Don't be afraid to look for someone else if it doesn't feel right.

If yours is a budget concern, you'll be surprised at how much money you'll save if you hire someone who has good connections and can suggest vendors they have already worked with.

THE BORING STUFF

Marriage laws vary upon locations. Check them in advance and decide if you want to get married abroad or just have a symbolic ceremony.
Paperwork can be daunting. Stuff has to be continuously translated. Notarized. Chopped. Transferred. Communicated between consulates. If you're taking this path, you might want to do some homework and figure out what you're getting yourself into.

INVITATIONS

Inform your guests in advance, they need as well some time for planning. Send them save the dates at least six months prior your big day, followed by a formal invitation a few months later.

Some people won't be able to make it, try not to be too disappointed or take it personally, you don't know what's going on in everyone's life.

Be prepared for surprises! Chances are that some of your guests will not stick to your RSVP deadlines, leave a bit of margin for last-minute crashers and bailers.

(See 'accept that đŸ’© happens' )

PLANNING THE DETAILS

CHOOSE YOUR VENUE
All in one venues can be great if you're looking for a  hassle-free type of wedding. They usually offer many services such as catering and planning, plus your guests can all stay at the same location.
If you want something more charming, you can pick different places for ceremony and reception, but consider that you might need to provide transportation for your guests.

FOOD AND DRINKS
Don't be stingy on food and drinks! Make sure the quality is good and the quantity just enough. Go for a local menu!

DECOR
Let the destination be the theme of your decor. You don't need to go over the top to give that wedding feeling, explore ways to keep it minimal and classy, that will help cut costs too!

TRADITIONS
Add your personal touch and forget old wedding traditions. This is your wedding why not create new ones that are meaningful to you? Adding local customs can be a fun and surprising perk.

TIMING
Good timing is key to any successful event. Sit down and plan the wedding rundown carefully. Don't leave your guests hanging, especially when taking couple pictures (we took ours prior the ceremony). Try to cut speeches down to size.
Make sure that at some point of the day, you and your spouse get 15 minutes alone to step back and enjoy what is happening.

ACCEPT THAT đŸ’© HAPPENS

You can plan everything down to the tiniest detail, but eventually, some things will not go as expected.

When we arrived in Corfu the weather was seriously playing with my nerves. I was hysterically checking the weather app, I bought 120 umbrellas, guess what? It was sunny all day đŸ™đŸ». One of my bridesmaids had an unexpected work issue and couldn't make it. There was a national port strike and dozen of my guests couldn't make it either. My husband had a minor surgery the morning of our wedding. This list could go on for days and I was beyond stressed!

You can't be prepared for everything, but you can be mentally prepared. No matter what happens, that day will be perfect and your attitude plays a big role, not only for you as a couple but for your guests too.

YOU CAN'T PLEASE THEM ALL

This was a tough lesson to learn. For as hard as I tried to plan everything to perfection and make everyone happy I still found myself in tears on multiple occasions.
The majority of friends and family will be there for you, but you will inevitably stumble onto unsolicited advice, nasty comments, and people that will feel entitled to make your day about themselves.

It can be truly hurtful, take a deep breath and try to analyze where they are coming from. Can you turn these comments into helpful advice? Is there something you missed?
If not, just take it as is. Don't feel like you have to do something just to please someone else. Ultimately check-in with yourself and do what you feel it is right.

HAVE FUN!

This might sound obvious, but you'll be surprised at how easy is to get caught in the hectic spiral of that day.
Remember what is really important: you are getting married to the person you love and celebrating with your favorite people. All the rest are things and you shouldn't stress too much about it.
So relax, have fun, don't overthink and don't forget to eat!
Everything is going to be perfect as it is!

Photo Credits: Les Anagnou

comments (16)

Carol M.
October 1, 2017 Reply

My husband and I also wanted to have destination wedding but we really thought of the budget through, so opted to have our wedding in our hometown and it was amazing, too. These photos are amazing and you look gorgeous, best wishes! Thanks for sharing!

    Valentina | ForeignRooftops
    October 2, 2017 Reply

    Thank you so much Carol! We didn't have much choice, our guests were flying in from a lot of different countries and our hometown is pretty remote so a destination wedding was the easiest solution!

Jeuelle
October 1, 2017 Reply

Congratulations! Your wedding looked like it was a magical event. I loved your photos and the practical information you shared for planning destination wedding.

Danielle Thomson
October 1, 2017 Reply

First of all, your wedding was absolutely gorgeous! It's nice hearing about all of the different things that come in to play - getting married in a different place will definitely make things more difficult and there's a lot to think about. Hiring a wedding planner sounds like the smartest decision you can make!

    Valentina | ForeignRooftops
    October 2, 2017 Reply

    Thank you Danielle! Hiring our wedding planner was indeed one of the best decisions we made!

Star harford
October 1, 2017 Reply

I thibk your advice is great, especially the bits about compromising and its good that you changed the place thinking of cost to others. I would love to get married in disney world but I dont think thats very affordable!

Lavanda Michelle
October 1, 2017 Reply

This is a great article and very informative. I’m sharing with my friend who is planning her parent 50 wedding anniversary and vow renewal.

    Valentina | ForeignRooftops
    October 2, 2017 Reply

    Thank you so much Lavanda! I'm glad you found it helpful!

Tatiana Sieff
October 1, 2017 Reply

I found it difficult to read this post because I was distracted by all those STUNNING wedding photos. This really seems like you had the wedding of your dreams. I'd love to get married abroad one day too!

shannon
October 2, 2017 Reply

You wedding photos are stunning. I love your dress. We were hoping for a destination wedding but my Dad isn't well so it will be a local event.

lexieanimetravel
October 2, 2017 Reply

This is so helpful, my brother is getting married next year and they are planning like crazy (luckily I'm not there) well let's see, you got a point enganging a local wedding planner would be the very first wise choice, and I do agree about what to prioritize first "the Budget" since everybody wants an outgrageous wedding, luxury, fine dining and etc (just for image) but I say it's not the importance, know where to stand with your budget and compromise.

bethanyymac
October 2, 2017 Reply

Wow those are some amazing photos! And a very informative post as well. Great work and happy anniversary!

dawnwairimu
October 2, 2017 Reply

goodness, the photographs are amazing! what a beautiful wedding. we had a destination wedding too - we got married in kenya and honeymoon'd in Singapore. lots of fun, but required a ton of preparation beforehand! thankfully my parents were able to help a lot since they live in kenya :)

lucicoo
October 3, 2017 Reply

Really pretty wedding and very well done photography. If I ever get married I want to do a destination wedding as well but I'm not sure where.

Stella Evans | The Smoothie Vegetarians
October 4, 2017 Reply

I got married in my home town, but we want to have a destination vow renewal. These photos are beautiful, I can't wait!!

Elizabeth O
October 5, 2017 Reply

Wow!! Congratulation to your wedding. The wedding location is so beautifully perfect. and Those picture looks so stunning,

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