How to plan a DIY destination wedding

By Kimberly Leung on December 01, 2016

A do-it-yourself wedding sounds like fun. You may think that this is the only way you will get exactly what you want. However, it can be a challenge that ends in stress.

A recent bride, Amanda Lazaro, says, “For us, it was all about planning a destination wedding that would be an amazing vacation for 80 of our closest family and friends. Thank goodness, we finally made a decision to accept some professional help.”

The on-site wedding planners at her hotel helped bring Amanda’s vision to life. She gave up the idea of making her own decor and guest gifts, thereby avoiding having to transport DIY crafts across international borders.

It may seem exciting as you browse Pinterest and find hundreds of home-made projects. You may even experiment with making one, but then imagine having to push ahead and make, say, 80! You may also expect to rely on volunteers but, frankly, your friends have a life!

Often your main motivation in DIY is to save money. You may not like crafting, but you do know the value of a dollar. When big dreams meet up with a small budget, it might be tempting to think you can recreate a designer look on your own.

Surprise! You almost always save money by buying crafts as gifts after you arrive at your destination. Don’t forget to get some local colour in items you buy for yourself.

You want to be calm and relaxed at your wedding. The last thing you should be thinking about are matching fabric swatches and fancy fonts! So outsource what you can. Rely on a wedding planner to pre-select some items for you, so the number of choices you have to make upon arrival are less overwhelming.

All of this is especially true if you book your wedding at a resort that specializes in destination nuptials. It can all be surprisingly affordable.

“A destination wedding site may offer couples a complimentary package, such as a partially paid-for trip or other price reductions, depending on the size of the party,” says Melitta Hannon, a travel advisor at Vision Travel. “Resorts with on-site wedding planning staff are perfect for busy couples because these experienced professionals can handle events as simple or elaborate as the couple has envisioned.”

With exclusive offers and optional add-ons, even services like photography, makeup and music can be easily arranged. The experts will plan the rehearsal dinner, as well as special extras like a welcome reception with drinks, a  re show or a snorkel excursion while coordinating everything from table linens to decorations with you.

Having a destination wedding doesn’t mean you have to give up on the details – only the headaches.

A final note: If you are an experienced crafter and plan to prepare a few DIY details, remember that restrictions at customs and additional baggage costs translate to limited flexibility in any hand-crafted items you do choose to bring. Flat and compact items like programs or place cards are the easiest to transport. Think twice about bringing anything heavy or that contains liquids.

So use the professional help available and add on whatever won’t add to your stress. Having your special event at a beautiful location will be the real icing on the (wedding) cake!

Originally published in Destination Wedding magazine, Fall/Winter 2016.

By Kimberly Leung| December 01, 2016

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