7 Tips for Planning a Destination Wedding from Rachel Rose Weddings
August 6, 2013
A destination wedding is probably the most romantic kind of wedding. Whisking away to a far off land with your love and your nearest and dearest to tie the knot. But as some of you may have realized, a destination wedding is not all bikinis and mai tais. Rachel Rose Weddings, Wedding Venues in Spain is here with seven fab tips to make your destination wedding absolutely perfect. (And a stunning bit of wedding inspiration to boot!)
From Rachel of Wedding Venues in Spain... To say we were excited when we discovered this beautiful riverside villa would be an understatement.  It is a picture perfect wedding venue set within a stunning valley in southern Spain.  We decided we just had to do a styled wedding shoot at the villa at our earliest opportunity so that we could show this romantic beauty off in its best light and with the andalucian sunshine that is some pretty good light!  We wanted the shoot to have a slightly whimsical feel so opted for a floating seating plan suspended by balloons (the child models had a lot of fun with this!) and vintage ceremony styling with lots of lace and pretty florals in pale pinks and greys.  The tablescapes were pure vintage chic with mercury glass centrepieces, silver chargers and elegant glassware.  We used some of our vintage furniture range for the cake table to ensure that these fabulous cakes were displayed at their absolute best.  
1. Give yourself plenty of planning time.

Destination weddings are usually booked well in advance with our own venues booking up around 18 months before the wedding date. So start planning early if you don’t want your choices limited!  Send out ‘Save the Date’ cards as soon as you can so that you can allow your guests the chance to incorporate your wedding into their annual leave.  You don’t want to leave it too late where all your guests have already booked their holidays and cannot make it to your big day.
2. Location, location, location.

With your guests needing to travel abroad for your wedding it is important to factor in the travel time and likely costs involved as there is no point in inviting all your friends and family to your fabulous event if it is going to be too difficult for them to get to or too expensive.  So check that there are good flight connections for your guests and that there is a wide range of local accommodations to suit all budgets.  You should also factor in the travel time from the airport to your wedding location and ensure that there are good transfer companies available as not everyone wants to drive abroad.
3. Remember to get help!

Planning a wedding at home can be stressful enough so please don’t think planning a wedding abroad will be any easier.  Language barriers and lack of knowledge of the area can be a real stumbling block so hire a professional wedding planner who will have a vast knowledge of the area and will provide the very best team of vendors.  I would recommend hiring a planner who also offers a décor and  styling service as you don’t want to be filling your cases up with decorations, leaving no room for your beautiful dress.  You shouldn’t have to be worrying about the logistics of your event and whether or not you have chosen a good vendor or if they will even turn up so leave this to the professionals, sit back, relax and enjoy!
4. Look after your guests.

Your wedding guests will have gone to a lot of effort and expense travelling to your wedding so it is important to make sure they feel this is appreciated and that they are well looked after but you also don’t want to end up being their personal travel agent!  We offer a dedicated Concierge Service who is the point of contact for your guests and our concierge will assist them with all their travel arrangements including airport transfers, car hire, accommodation and activities.  If your wedding planner doesn’t include this service then there are some very good free templates for building your own wedding website where you can include all necessary information for your guests and include this as a point of reference within your wedding invitations. It is also nice to provide additional events for your guests as they will usually have travelled for a long weekend or even a week so booking a good restaurant for a welcome meal before the wedding and arranging something the day after such as a relaxed brunch or pool party with a BBQ are always a good idea.  We also like the idea of having a welcome pack or welcome letter for your guests on their arrival to add a personal touch from the Bride & Groom.
5. Plan for all kinds of weather.

Weddings in Spain can be hot, very hot! So it is a good idea to make sure that your dream venue can offer some areas of shade for you and your guests to ensure that you are not all fading in the heat before the fun has even begun.  We love to offer a cooling station for our clients which includes iced water and fresh lemonade, fans and parasols, cold towels and refreshing facial mists as well as sun screens and shades.  You have decided upon a destination wedding and most likely for the weather, but this is not always as reliable as it once was.  So plan for sun but if there could be a chance of rain then you need to ensure that your venue has a contingency for inclement weather and that this would not impact your planned day too much!
6. Don't forget to pace yourself.

If you think a destination wedding means a more relaxing time for you, think again.  You will be surrounded by your nearest and dearest for a week and they will want to spend lots of time with you having fun!  This can be quite overwhelming and exhausting and it is important to make sure you allow yourself some downtime as you don’t want to look like a zombie by the time your big day arrives.  I never advise arranging any big events for the night before the wedding and I also advise a little alone time with hubby to be.  Maybe a relaxing afternoon at the local beach club or spa and if this is not possible then try to arrange a night or two together in a lovely hotel once all your guests have left.
7. Make sure you know what's legal!

Marrying abroad is not always straight forward so it is important to check the laws of the country you wish to marry in before booking your wedding.  In Spain, for example, you cannot legally marry unless you have been resident in the country for 2 years or you are Catholic and marry in the church. Therefore most of our couples choose to do the legal bit back home before they fly out to Spain and then have their personal wedding ceremony here performed by a minister within the grounds of our venues.

Thank you so much for these fabulous tips Rachel! Do we have any brides planning a destination wedding? What kinds of tips are you picking up along the way? Or, if you've already had your destination wedding, what do you wish you would have thought about? We want to hear from you! And don't forget to visit the gallery for the rest of this stunning shoot

Styling & Decor: Rachel Rose Weddings | Photography: Anna Gazda | Cake: Sweet Things by Fi | Stationery: Nulki Nulks | Tableware Hire: Tucco | Flowers: Virginia Florista | Vidographer: Evergreen Productions | Venue: Casa Del Rio | Dress: Pronovias | Hair & Makeup: Lyndsey Cavanagh and Alex Harrocks