Let me tell you, destination weddings are a blast! I joke about how I have a dorky fascination with airplanes (I mean come on, you get to eat up at 36,000ft!) so of course I was more than excited to get on an airplane to PHOTOGRAPH A WEDDING in the Dominican Republic! This tropical beauty was the perfect place for Gretchen and Chris to elope. They wanted something unique and intimate as they celebrated with their closest family members and a few friends. If you’re starting research about having a destination wedding, check out the following on how to properly prepare for your elopement!
- Your destination should represent you and your fiance’s interests! The Knot brings up a good point: “Did he propose on vacation in Paris? Then why not host a swank wedding in the City of Lights? Are you foodies? Think about gathering your crew in a place like Tuscany or California wine country. Or if you love outdoor adventures, consider Costa Rica, where guests can zipline through the treetops before the rehearsal dinner.” Although both Gretchen and Chris currently live in tropical California, they wanted to experience the tropical land on the other side of the country while having a vacation simultaneously – winner winner chicken
- Visiting your venue. Although there should be an on-site coordinator to help you with everything, visiting your venue at least one time in advance will help you get a little more control on how you want things to be/look. Gretchen and Chris weren’t able to make a trip to their venue (the Riu Palace) before their big elopement but they were able to arrive a few days early, in case they needed to change anything. Luckily no changes needed to be made!
- Accommodate wedding guests/party. Make sure you give enough notice to those that are graciously attending your wedding or those that are in your wedding party. As the magazine Brides advises: “Try to put everyone in one reasonably affordable hotel. If price is an issue, find a less expensive spot 10 minutes away — 15 tops. Don’t set your date until you’re sure there’s room availability for everyone.” If you are blocking off hotel rooms, Brides also writes a helpful article HERE that you should read about.
While accommodating your guests, make sure to supply all the information necessary for them to book their trip. They need to know addresses, timelines, and routes in case they need to go about town. The awesome thing about The Riu Palace in Punta Cana is that they have everything at the resort that you could think of, including clothing shops, spas and multiple restaurants! The only routes that we had to worry about was getting to and from the airport, score!
- Booking vendors. If you decide to bring vendors from home (photographer or makeup, etc.), make sure you leave room in your budget to cover their expenses for food, traveling and lodging. It will most likely be in their contracts that you must cover those expenses.
- Check marriage certificates. Do research about the marriage regulations far in advance – they vary from each state/country. An alternative is getting officially married in your city hall and then having the big party at your travel destination with friends and family. No worries about regulations and foreign certificates!
- DO NOT CHECK YOUR DRESS! The flight attendants will be so excited to hear about your destination wedding and will take the time to find a spot that is nice and safe for your beautiful dress!
- Have fun and enjoy your wedding vacation!