The Dos and Don’ts of Destination Weddings

If you’ve been dreaming of a gorgeous destination wedding but are unsure about some of the logistics, look no further! Event planner Michelle Rago, the queen of chic far-flung weddings, shares her tips on making your big day run like clockwork — even if it’s in a different time zone.

Do Know Thyself: A destination wedding is great if you love to travel and your crowd does too. But if you’re a micromanager or unsure that your pregnant MOH will be able to make the trek, save your wanderlust for the honeymoon and get married at home.

Don’t Procrastinate: Unless you’re inviting only a small crew, start planning at least a year out to make sure guests have time to make travel plans.

Do Visit Your Venue: Budget for one to three site inspections. You won’t understand how the spaces flow together until you’ve walked through them yourself with your planner or catering manager.

Don’t Play the Numbers Game: Assume that if you invite them, they will come, and keep the guest list down to the number you can actually afford to entertain.

See More: The Nitty-Gritty Legalities of Marrying in Another Country

Do Know Your Curfew: Even if you buy out a resort, you may not be allowed to play music late into the night — or even past 10. Find out about any noise restrictions before you sign that contract.

Don’t Use Greenbacks: Since you’ll be spending big sums in local currency, a bad exchange rate will set you back. Find a good one at a U.S. bank and arrive with cash in hand, or use a credit card with foreign-transaction frees, like Chase Sapphire Preferred or Capital One Quicksilver.

Do Deal Locally: Planning on bringing flowers, favors, or décor into another country? You’ll need to declare everything — and if it exceeds the customs limit, you could get hit with taxes. Buying locally is often cheaper — though not always.

Don’t Bankrupt Your Guests: Negotiate deals at hotels of different price points so guests can have fun instead of stressing out about the cost of their stay. And have your mom and bridesmaids spread the word that guests’ presence is the only present you need.

Do Pick a Do-it-All Location: Keep your bottom line in check by choosing a resort that has ideal spots for all of your events. It will eliminate transfer costs, and hotels are more likely to negotiate if they get the whole food and beverage budget.

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