Do you hear wedding bells chiming? We sure do — it’s time to plan a wedding for you!
As exciting as planning a wedding is, it’s also extremely stressful. This is especially true if you’re one of the 340,000 destination weddings happening this year.
We want you to enjoy your engagement and be as stress-free as possible, which is why we’ve put together the ultimate guide on how to plan a destination wedding in London. Sit back, relax, and get reading below!
Pick a Budget
Before you do anything, you’ll want to sit down with your fiance and pick a budget. This number is usually the max they’d like to spend on their big day. If they can make it happen under budget, even better.
Some couples find it easier to break down their budget into sections. How much do you want to spend on the venue or the dress? How about flowers?
Keep in mind many destination weddings offer all-inclusive packages which we’ll go over in more depth later. Having a solid budget in mind before you start looking and planning will help keep things under control, realistic, and affordable.
Start Planning Early
It looks like you’ve already started planning, which is great since that’s the first step in this guide. Since you’ve picked your lovely wedding destination in London you’re already halfway there!
The earlier you begin to plan destination weddings, the better. You’ll want to begin planning and budgeting at least 12 months in advance, if not more. Planning with this much time beforehand ensures you get the venue you want but everything else in between.
You likely won’t be able to take multiple trips to your dream location, so begin your planning online. Scout out potential wedding planners in the area, venues you want to consider, and possible hotels for your guests.
Consider Your Guests
Speaking of guests, you’ll have to keep in mind not your entire guest list might not be able to make it, especially if they don’t live locally to your destination. If you have guests from all over you should research to see if airports near them offer direct flights and how often they are.
Because you’ll be planning a destination wedding, you might have to budget travel expenses not just for you and your honey, but for anyone you absolutely have to have there. If they can’t cover the travel expenses, see how many guests you can afford to bring.
If it isn’t in your budget to pay for your guests to travel and neither can they, accept their rejection graciously and promise to celebrate as soon as you come home.
Send out Invites Early
Since you want as many guests to attend your special day as possible you’ll want to send out your save-the-dates and invitations early. Your save-the-dates should go out 8-10 months before your wedding, with the invitations going out 6-8 weeks in advance at the latest.
This gives your guests time to take off from work, save up for the travel expenses, and make arrangements to get there in time for your vows. Don’t forget to include all the important information like what venue and where, and the day and time.
Hire a Wedding Planner
Now that you’ve picked your destination and the date, it’s time to get down to the good stuff. Since you’ll be planning from out of state or even out of the country, it’s easier to hire a wedding planner to help you plan. A wedding planner takes your vision and makes it a dream come true.
As you begin to search for the perfect planner, you’ll come across many. Make sure not to hire the first one you like, but one who specializes in destination weddings. Some resorts even offer wedding planners on site, so check out your top picks — you might get lucky.
As we mentioned above, some venues offer all-inclusive wedding options. Most of the time, the package includes the resort wedding planner. This will not only save you money but the hassle of finding a wedding planner at the same time. Plus, the planner will already know details about the resort and what your wedding package includes.
Most packages include the venue, flowers, decor, food, and music. If for some reason your package doesn’t include music or you’d prefer to bring someone in from outside the venue, you can see more here to make that possible.
While your wedding package will include the basics, anything you’d like personalized or extra will fall on you to pay additionally.
What to Do in Person
Although your wedding planning is doing most of the work and planning, you should still take a trip to your destination at least once before the wedding to ensure everything is coming together correctly. You can make this trip 3-4 months before the big day.
If you really can’t afford to visit a few months beforehand, plan to arrive five days early to check on everything and do a makeup and hair trial.
What to Avoid
There are so many things to do when planning a destination wedding, but there are also many things not to do. One of them is basing your destination off friends and family.
Some people might be disappointed to hear about a destination wedding taking place further than they can travel. This doesn’t mean you should change your plans and choose somewhere closer.
How to Plan a Destination Wedding
We hope this guide on how to plan a destination wedding has given you some insight and calmed your stresses while planning your London wedding. The most important things to remember is choosing a wedding planner — preferably one who specializes in destination weddings — and sticking to your budget.
Check out some of our beauty tips to help you look beautiful and perfect for your wedding day!