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We had a semi-destination wedding. There were certainly some important tips we learned along the way. While we would do this all over again in a heartbeat, there are certain things we would do a bit differently had we known. Today, we are here talking about some top things you need to know when planning a destination wedding.
- You will be flying with your wedding dress, so heed this advice: call the airline ahead before you book your flight. Some airlines have various rules and regulations about traveling with your wedding dress and you need to be aware of these before you fly with it. We flew Southwest. Since Southwest does not have an extra compartment to hang items that meant the dress had to go somewhere. On the phone, they suggested I could stick my dress in an overhead bin, but there was no way I was going to put my precious dress up there. They recommended I purchase an extra seat (my dress had its own ticket) and that if there ended up being an extra seat on the plane (there was not in my case) that the airline would reimburse me for the price of the seat I bought for my dress. It was money well spent, and I was so glad I called ahead of time. I have had friends fly other airlines (American and United) and those let you store your dress in the front compartment if they have space. Again, it is recommended you place a call to your airline ahead of schedule so you can fly stress-free to your wedding.pro-tip: travel with a mini steamer. You will want this steamer after traveling with your precious cargo.
- Ship non-essential items to the hotel (see tip 5) or designate someone to travel with a suitcase filled with these items. I’m talking items that it will not be the end of the world if your luggage gets delayed or if they don’t actually make it to your destination. We gave our guests gift bags upon arrival to the hotel. We could easily have stuffed the bags at the hotel if we shipped our gift bag items there earlier. Our hotel would have been okay with that scenario as well and would have saved me the trip of trying to shove that stuff into limited space in my suitcase.
- Research local marriage license and certificate requirements – and what that means after the wedding: If you are getting married in a different state, you need to see when and where you obtain your marriage license. We recommended giving yourself adequate time to get this done, as it will require a trip in-person and you must have all the proper identification and documents. If you are able to do this in advance (i.e. 60 days prior to the wedding), try to do it if you will be making an extra trip to your destination before your big day. You will need to go the website of the state or county you are getting married in.Check to see if your ceremony location will actually send the paperwork in for you to obtain the hard copy of your marriage certificate. Or is this something you will need to do yourself? We had to send ours in ourselves. You will need the official document for all important purposes moving forward (health care insurance, changing your name, etc…).
- Plan on taking at least one extra trip to the destination before your actual wedding. You will need this time to vet or visit vendors, get an overview of your ceremony and reception location, choose your menu and possibly squeeze in a hair and makeup trial. Note: This can all certainly get done – so don’t panic. We took some time to fly in for a long weekend and had back to back visits for hair and makeup, florist, reception site, photographer, etc… It was jam packed, but I’m so glad I had the chance to visit in-person with my vendors since most of our communication had been over the phone to date. Note: this is also a great time to get your marriage license.
- Plan for some extras for your guests: Make and prep some guest bags for those who are also traveling. Provide them with a map of nearby places to eat or sites to see. Invite out-of-town guests to the rehearsal dinner. Remember, they are making this commitment to fly all that way to celebrate you. Make it enjoyable for them as well.