When you want to know how to do something right, you head straight for the experts. And when that something is a destination wedding, there’s no better expert to ask than the brides who have lived it!

From long-distance logistics to guest accommodations, they have been through it all. Here are 5 simple steps former brides give on how to plan the destination wedding of your dreams.

1. Pick a Location That Has Meaning

Did the love of your life pop the question in Paris? Do you share a love of Napa Valley wine?

Your wedding destination should hold a special meaning for the two of you. And it should reflect who you are as a couple and the mood you’d like your wedding to center around.

Don’t forget it must also be a place that can accommodate you and all your guests. It might seem like a great idea to get married at the remote cottage in Italy you love, but not if there’s no hotel nearby.

2. Give Your Guests Plenty of Time to Plan

Destination weddings not only take planning on your part, but for your guests as well. That’s why giving them as much noticeĀ as possible is so important… not to mention polite!

Friends and family will need to crunch numbers and get time off work. Plus, booking hotels and airfare in advance gives the best money-saving deals.

But don’t get hurt feelings if someone is unable to go. Money may be tight or other circumstances might make it impossible to get away. And that’s ok!

3. Have at Least One Planning Trip

Take at least one trip to your destination wedding location to plan things in person. But if you can swing it, two or three trips are ideal.

Walk through your venue. Solidify wedding catering details and set up a tasting. Have a meeting with your florist and photographer.

Why? Trying to narrow down your selections over the computer can be daunting. And, if you feel like you still need feet on the ground when you’re gone, hire a local wedding coordinator.

4. Research the Local Marriage Requirements

If you’re getting married in a different country, see what the local requirements are. It may be completely different than you realize, and you’ll need to plan ahead!

Some countries want you to be in the area for days, or even weeks, before you can get married. Others won’t let you get married as a visitor, you’ll need to apply for a special visa.

You don’t want to run into any unwelcome legal surprises. If it’s not possible to get a legal marriage in the location you want, tie up the legal part at home. Then have the ceremony of your dreams at your preferred destination.

5. Dress for Your Destination

You may want a long, flowing train on your dress… but not if you’re planning to get married on a sandy beach. Some things don’t go together.

Center your dress, and the attire of the rest of your bridal party, around your destination. The clothes should reflect the style of the location and be comfortable in the climate.

It’s also a good idea to give your guests a heads up on the ideal attire as well. You don’t want them to wear the wrong footwear if they’ll be walking through the sand.

Knowing How to Plan a Destination Wedding Will Make Your Dream Day a Reality

Now all that’s left is marrying the love of your life in the destination of your dreams. Thanks to the advice of former brides who know exactly how to plan a destination wedding to remember.

Now it’s time to plan the honeymoon! Check out these 10 most beautiful and unique honeymoon destinations to head to next.

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