Destination weddings are more popular than ever before, offering couples the chance to celebrate their union in a romantic and exotic locale. Fancy yourself a barefoot bride, taking your vows at sunset next to gently lapping waves? A beachside wedding in Hawaii, Costa Rica or the Caribbean has its allure, but what sorts of challenges will you be facing? From navigating language barriers to arranging guest activities, here are a few tips to make your planning a bit smoother.
Location, location, location!
What bride-to-be wouldn’t want to celebrate her wedding day in a postcard-perfect locale known for its white sand beaches, sparkling blue water and coconut palms…Before booking some far-flung resort in the South Pacific, think about the travel time and cost involved for your guests. Did you know that Costa Rica is less than three hours from Miami and has numerous non-stop flights to major cities throughout the U.S.? Keep your loved ones happy with an exotic location that’s easily accessible – and jet-lag free.
Consider wedding insurance
Whether you’ve decided on a Costa Rica wedding or getting married in another destination, stack the odds in your favor by purchasing wedding insurance. It may sound strange, but it’s actually a smart choice to help cover any losses associated with no-show vendors, emergency illness, inclement weather or even a bankrupt venue. If by some stroke of bad luck, a typhoon blows in or a guest spills wine all over your gorgeous white dress, you’ll be covered.
Hire some help for your wedding planning
From pre-nuptial preparations through day-of coordination, having an expert wedding planner is key. Not only are you dealing with a foreign land and potentially foreign language, you need help sourcing reputable local vendors from professionals who know the industry inside-out. With the assistance of experienced planners, you can relax and truly enjoy precious time with your dearest family and friends.
Familiarize yourself with the legal details
A destination wedding abroad doesn’t have to be complicated, but depending on where you exchange vows, the legal paperwork can be exceedingly frustrating and time-consuming (think notarized birth certificates date stamped within 30 days!) Unless you’re willing to have another civil ceremony at home, be sure you know what’s needed. Costa Rica makes the whole affair relatively easy, as only your passports are needed for first-time brides and grooms. The rest of the paperwork is drawn up by a lawyer, including a simple questionnaire and certificate of marital status.
Timing is everything – research the local weather
A massive thunderstorm or unannounced hurricane can really put a damper on your wedding day bliss. Be smart and research the weather before planning your tropical beach wedding on some remote Caribbean isle or Central American venue. While Costa Rica is void of hurricanes thanks to its geographical location, afternoon showers are normal from late May through the end of November. Plan your ceremony accordingly if 24-hour sunshine is important to you and the happiness of your guests!