Ask The Experts – Destination Wedding Planning.

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Morning lovelies, are any of you not choosing to get wed in the UK?

Dreaming of sunshine on your chiffon layers and the sand underneath your (perfectly pedicured) bridal toes?

Well if you are then I’m sure you must have some queries on how to go about it, which is ever so handy as Love Lust List member and Caribbean Wedding Designer, Michelle Pierre-Carr from Pierre Carr Wedding & Event Design is sharing her top tips on creating an immense destination wedding.

Michelle will also be on hand all morning to offer all sorts of tips and tricks so please do drop your destination W-day related questions in the comments box below.

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Michelle Pierre-Carr: With a large majority of couples now paying for their own weddings, the decision to get married somewhere exotic with a smaller gathering of close friends and family now means that destination weddings have become increasingly popular in recent years. According to Mintel, one in six (that’s 16% of British weddings) now take place abroad. That equates to an estimated 51,300 overseas weddings, a massive 43% increase since 2003.

By combining great weather with high standards of service, a destination wedding has become increasingly more appealing for many UK couples. However, whilst many brides dream of a wedding abroad, there are a number of reasons why many back out. So if you are a bride (or groom for that matter) who loves the idea of an overseas wedding but is concerned about possible limitations, here’s my top tips on how to not only make a destination wedding possible, but turn it into a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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Cost

With the average wedding in the UK costing £20,000, weddings overseas are pretty much guaranteed to be more cost effective as favourable exchange rates means that your money goes a lot further. For example, as most Caribbean islands work in dollars, £10,000 pounds = $30,000 Barbados dollars which means you can have all the extras without busting your budget. Look out for special offers and incentives at hotels. If you book a hotel for a certain number of nights, many hotels may offer certain elements of the wedding day for free such as the minister and legal documentation fees and flowers – it’s always best to establish these extras before you go ahead with your booking. Other offers include the option for you to get your accommodation on a complimentary basis if your guests stay for at least three nights. So check the possibilities at your chosen venue to find the best deals available.

One of the obvious ways of saving on cost with a destination wedding is to combine the wedding and honeymoon – the chances are your overseas wedding will be somewhere hot and exotic so you’re ready to relax on honeymoon the very next day, without the need to book additional flights and accommodation in addition to your wedding day costs. And your friends and family can share in the first magical days of married life too!

Keep travel costs down by avoiding having your wedding during peak periods such as Christmas, Easter or school holidays as these are the most expensive times to travel. If you want amazing flowers at your wedding, there’s an abundance of beautiful locally grown exotic blooms which will be far more reasonable in price than imported flowers such as roses.

Guests Budget

Deciding on having a wedding abroad is always exciting for the couple but a lot of consideration has to be made for guests as they are investing more to attend your wedding. It’s important for guests to see this as an opportunity for a holiday and not just one day – your wedding. Give guests as much notice as possible so that they are able to save and book flights and hotels as early as possible, ensuring costs are kept to a minimum and they can tie it in with their annual holiday.

Give guests a choice of accommodation within the nearby area to fit their various budgets and requirements. Make the most of their time in the destination by hosting pre-wedding drinks or arranging a variety of optional excursions. It’s the ideal way for guests to get to know one another and have a great time in the lead up to your wedding day.

Keep guests well informed of all the plans so that they’re aware of the wedding itinerary. Put a gift bag in your guests rooms with details of the area, things to do, with little touches such as fans, mosquito spray and sun lotion so they know how much you appreciate them making the journey.

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Invitations

With a destination wedding, invitations need to be sent out a lot earlier than the standard 8-12 weeks in the UK. Send out invitations as early as possible – as much as eight months prior to the wedding is advisable – which will give guests enough time to budget for your wedding, put it in their schedule and organise flights.

Choosing A Destination

When deciding on your wedding destination, choose a country you both love as a couple. Whether your wedding is in the UK or overseas, it’s important that the occasion is reflective of you as a couple and meaningful so choosing the right destination is fundamental to the success of the wedding.

Pick a team/wedding planner who knows the destination inside out. A specialist wedding planner will have insider knowledge of the area, as well as the best suppliers to use and any cultural considerations that need to be made. There are often local traditions and legalities that need to be considered when organising a destination wedding that an expert wedding planner will be aware of. The investment will be well worth it to ensure the whole experience runs seamlessly and stress-free.

I always suggest couples pick venues that only have one wedding a day – you want your day to special and I don’t believe it should be shared with anyone else, no matter where you are in the world!

No Limits

When you decide to marry abroad be aware that you don’t have to limit your hearts desires. Most venues will be happy to accommodate you regardless of the design or theme you are after so don’t let this put you off marrying abroad.

For further information on Pierre Carr visit www.pierrecarr.com

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Stylist – Pierre Carr, Wedding & Event Design
Photographer – Mark Anthony Chen
Hair – Hair by Chellz
Make up – Loni Jones
Dresses by the Couture Gallery and Charlotte Casadejus
Groom Attire – Room 10
Jewellery – Luella’s Boudoir
Florist – Grande Garden
Props- Flower Studio
Venues: Round Hill, Montego Bay and Bellefield Great House

Yes, I too would like a hammock in the sunshine please.

So you gorgeous lot what are you waiting for? get asking!

Big Fly Away Love

Charlotte xxx

Author: Charlotte O’Shea
Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.

9 thoughts on “Ask The Experts – Destination Wedding Planning.

  1. Good Morning Lovely Ladies (and Adam, if he’s around)

    We are getting married in a small, quiet Italian village. The reason we have decided to get married here is because basically we LOVE IT! I can’t count the number of times we have been here on holiday and eaten fantastico food and drunk bellissima wine.

    I am worried that my guests (some of which are coming for two weeks) aren’t going to love it like we do. Do you think I need to organize some group activities to the well known attractions close by. My fiance keeps telling me no, that it’s our holiday too and we don’t want to be carrying an umbrella in the air for our entire holiday. I just want our guests to love the area as much as we do! Any Ideas??

    Grazie
    Charlie

  2. Hello, thanks for all the useful information!

    My fiancé and are I plan to marry abroad next March. We’re hoping to go to the Caribbean and maybe combine it with a short trip to the US if funds allow (hopefully NYC). We’re on a small budget of £6k maximum, to include everything! I’m not the type of person who needs an expensive dress and all the extras though. I was wondering if there’s a part of the Caribbean that you would recommend? We’d like it to be quite luxurious, but at the same time relatively casual (e.g. no shirt and trouser dinner combo required!) and also available for our budget. We’re going away just the two of us due to budget restrictions, so want to make it as perfect as possible to make up for lack of family. Thanks for your help! :)

    Nas

  3. Dear Charlie,

    I am so glad you are choosing a destination that you love to get married.

    For a destination wedding we would always suggest doing a group excursion before the wedding as it will always give your guests a chance to get to know each other before your big day and help to make your wedding day even more memorable for them. You could also provide them with a welcome bag which will include a guide and you could note all the great places they could see once your wedding day has finished and their holiday starts.

  4. Hi RMW!!

    I am after a piece of advise from you guys.

    I am getting married in Greece this September and I have nearly booked everything now, even have quite a few quests booked and ready for the big day!

    Can you suggest what insurance I need for the wedding day, I am getting a bit bamboozled about all the different types on offer and could really do with you guys advising me further.

    Also, on another note……navy bridesmaids with pink flowers or yellow – what do you think?

    Many thanks Natalie x

  5. Hi Nas,

    This is a great time for you to find some really good deals for your wedding in March and some of the hotels offer free weddings if you stay with them for a period of time.

    I suggest looking at the islands that have a long history of tourism that can offer a wide variety of deals like Jamaica, Antigua and Barbados. These usually have something for everyone.

  6. Hi Natalie,

    Your right to think about insurance, with all the natural disasters happening recently hoping that your home or contents insurance will cover it just won’t do.

    There are a few specific wedding insurance companies out there but we like using e&l as they are quite comprehensive

  7. Hi my fiance and I are getting married in Florida this October. Do we need to apply for a wedding license here or do anything to make it official before we go? I’ve been trying to find some information for this but as far as I can tell we just apply for our license in person at the local clerks office when we get to Florida? Can it really be that easy? Thanks

    Emma

  8. A lot of great tips.. When selecting a destination wedding location you should also check that county’s wedding requirements. For example, if you want to get legally married in Cancun, Mexico you would need to submit a blood test. However not for symbolic weddings. Cheers from Toronto, Canada.

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