Wedding planning advice: I’m considering a destination wedding – where do I start?

Planning a destination wedding can be very overwhelming and many couples decide not to follow their dreams of a wedding abroad purely because of the amount of work it may take to organise. But let’s remember you can delegate most of this work and enjoy a fun elopement or wedding in our dream place. That is what wedding planners are for! Author of our advice article today is Claire – a UK based wedding planner behind Wed in Central Park, who specialises in organising weddings and elopements in New York City’s iconic park.

For the past five years I have been planning weddings for couples who want to get married in New York’s Central Park. When couples make first contact with me, they can be anywhere in the range between knowing exactly what they want, and when and how, and really only being in the very first stages of considering a destination wedding. Many couples are just looking for advice on where to start. I have planned around one hundred and eighty destination weddings or elopements to date. Here is a brief overview of how I would guide a couple who were in the early stages of considering a destination wedding. Whether you think a Central Park wedding would suit you, or you are interested in marrying in another great city of the world, or you are considering getting married on a beach, or somewhere else outdoors I hope this will be of use to get you thinking.

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There are a few really big questions that need to be answered early on. Firstly, is this a destination wedding with a group of friends and family, or is this an elopement for just the two of you? Either way, you should discuss your tentative plans or ideas with your loved ones. They may have been assuming you would get married at home, or they might not want to travel, or they may not be able to travel for various reasons. Also, they might have some great ideas themselves, and they might be able to help.

Another huge question to answer is where do you want to get married? Couples tend to have two main reasons for considering a destination wedding; either they know they do not want the big, traditional wedding at home and they are looking for other options, or they know they want to get married somewhere in particular and they have an exact location in mind. If you are in the first set of people, and your mind is open, you just know that you want to be somewhere other than at home; either to save money, to avoid the fuss and hassle of planning a big wedding, or just to make the day as unique and special to you as a couple as you can, then the world is your oyster! Tied up in this question will be the related issue of when you should go. If you want a beach wedding in Europe, then you will not want to go during the winter months! Couples should check the legalities around marrying in their country of choice. Some will require couples to arrive a certain amount of time before their wedding, and language may be an issue for some countries.

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Once a couple has decided where and when and with whom then they are in a good position to estimate the big one: how much is this going to cost us? This one all depends on how much you want it to cost, in my opinion. Depending on where you have chosen to get married there are a variety of ways you can cut costs. From what I have been told, I believe that weddings in beach resorts can be very expensive without much room for cost saving without compromise on the experience. I can tell you for sure that if you are traveling to a big city such as New York then there is a huge range of accommodation options from the swanky Midtown hotel to the Airbnb in Brooklyn, and the same goes for restaurants and tourist attractions.

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If you can broadly answer the questions above then I think you will have done the bulk of the discussing and decision-making. Well done! Now it’s time to call in the experts. If you know the basics of what you want from your destination wedding then now is the time to involve someone like me; a wedding planner. I can do all the things you need to do to make a wedding ceremony happen in Central Park. There are plenty of other people just like me who can help you to get married in various other incredible destinations. Or, of course, you can do all the research yourselves. But now is the time to find out what you need to do and when to make it all happen. Then you can commit to your date and get the flights and accommodation booked! In the case of a wedding in Central Park, a couple will need a license and an event permit, a celebrant and probably a photographer, perhaps flowers, a videographer, and various other things needed to make a wedding day go with a bang.

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My wedding planning process tends to be to start with the big stuff and work through to the small stuff as we get closer to the date. This is pretty much what I am suggesting above. Start big; where do you want to be and who do you want to be there? The rest will follow on from there. Do a quick scope on what things will cost at the beginning and keep that in mind as you go through the planning process. It is important to remember what you are doing as a couple; you are planning the first day of your married lives. This will be the official and legal joining of the two of you as a couple. It is an opportunity to celebrate your relationship and your union. It is about you, and you should be making choices together that reflect you as a couple, keep that in mind at all times. And try to relax and enjoy it!

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If the idea of getting married in legendary Central Park speaks to you, check out the Wed in Central Park website and chat to Claire about the details.

All pictures provided by Wed in Central Park

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