Bruce Russell, our partner and London’s leading wedding planner, gives his tops tips on organising a destination wedding.
My work as a wedding planner has given me ringside seats to see how the bridal industry has evolved over the years. And one of the most exciting developments has been the rise in popularity of the destination wedding.
Gone are the days when the honeymoon was the couple’s only foray abroad. Today, my work takes me to all four corners of the globe – from Bali to Barbados – as I’m called upon to plan nuptials for both British and international couples looking to jet away for their special day.
These occasions are magnificent celebrations, but there are some additional factors to consider when it comes to planning a wedding overseas. With Scott Dunn offering an increasing number of properties for the ultimate destination weddings, I’m delighted to share with you a few top tips that – combined with their portfolio – will set you on the path to success.
It may seem like the Brits are obsessed with the weather, but it really is the most important thing to consider when choosing the date and destination for your wedding. Research each of your options carefully and make your decision taking stock of the time of year, general weather conditions and temperature. This will prove paramount when it comes to choosing the dress code for the day, not to mention the bridal party’s attire. The timeline of events can also be affected – nobody wants to be sitting outside in the glare of the midday sun for a lunchtime ceremony if it means they’re going to be uncomfortable for the rest of the day. Scott Dunn have done the legwork for you here, with a month-by-month breakdown and weather overview accompanying each of their featured destinations. It’s also worth having a contingency plan in place lest the weather does play up unpredictably.
Another element which can often become a little lost in the wedding planning process are the needs of your guests, after all, their attendance will make your day all the more special. Early communication is key – depending on the destination you’ve chosen, they may need to source vaccinations or long-haul flights and it is a courtesy to offer as much early-warning as you can so the appropriate travel and accommodation arrangements can be made. Some properties will be able to accommodate the majority of the guests on-site – the 12th Century Palazzo Avino on Italy’s Amalfi coast boasts 43 rooms, for example – whilst others are smaller and guests may need to seek out their own rooms nearby.
Be fulsome when it comes to sharing information about the destination, too – offer plenty of details about the best things to see and do, what to bring with and where to stay – as many guests will be turning your wedding into a longer vacation. For example, the stunning portfolio of Singita Safari lodges across Southern Africa will make a jaw-droppingly beautiful backdrop for a wedding, but also allow guests to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime safari.
Celebrating the local culture is another cornerstone of the destination wedding – for what greater motivation is there to marry abroad if not to make the most of the local environs? Take time to plan an itinerary for your guests, many of whom will be arriving in the preceding days, to incorporate local traditions. Some properties will be able to look after the arrangements for this for you, for example the stunning Esencia hotel on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula offers excursions to nearby ancient Mayan ruins and boasts a spa that uses exclusively organic and indigenous fruits and plants, whilst Morocco’s Kasbah Tamadot can organize traditional cookery classes for guests staying in this exquisite Atlas Mountain retreat. Day trips, masterclasses and specific activities aside, spend some time planning a welcome night dinner, or incorporating the culture into part of the wedding ceremony (or indeed any wedding favours you may choose to offer) to share a real flavor of the destination and create magical moments that live long in the memory.
By Bruce Russell for Scott Dunn combines the very best expertise on luxury weddings and travel to help you craft the perfect honeymoon, pre-wedding weekend, or to select the perfect location for a destination wedding. For more information visit our website scottdunn.com or call us on 020 8682 5000