Destination wedding checklist

Destination wedding checklist

Want to jet off to a tropical island for your ceremony? Or do you have your heart set on the big-city lights? No matter the location, your destination wedding can go as smoothly as checking off this list.


The legal side of getting married abroad can be quite lengthy and tedious, with many couples opting to get married legally in South Africa before heading overseas to exchange rings and vows. South Africans who want to get married abroad will need a Certificate of No Impediment from Home Affairs to prove that neither partner is registered as married, a divorce order if one of you was previously married and a Residency Certificate to prove where you currently live. Basically, the government of the country you’re visiting needs to be notified of the marriage in their country before you can get married there. Not all countries will have the same requirements, so it’s best to get in touch with your local Home Affairs branch and contact the foreign country’s South African embassy ahead of the time.


Unfortunately, most popular wedding destinations are also popular vacation spots, which means more tourists and higher prices. Read up on the best time to visit your venue without sacrificing on great weather. It will also make the experience less stressful if you’ve already spent time planning and meeting with your vendors. Hire a local coordinator instead of bringing one from home. You will feel much more at ease knowing they are familiar with the environment, and they’ll also be able to recommend suitable suppliers.


If the destination you plan to get married at is a resort or offers accommodation, scour the internet for TripAdvisor reviews. This will give you an overall impression of the establishment and you’ll have the added bonus of being able to see photos that aren’t on their official site.


Try and keep the venue central. Make sure it’s convenient for your guests and organise transport for them to the venue to ensure they get there safe and sound. You can also use a free website builder to help keep your guests in the loop every step of the way – without the hassle of back-and-forth texts, emails and calls. Create a page where people can find helpful answers for accommodation options, budgets and travel time. If you have a relatively small wedding party, you can also create a WhatsApp group in the days leading up to the wedding.


Add a couple of planned events around the wedding day so your guests can mingle with each other more and explore the destination. This is a great way to show people places they might not have chosen to go and will help them make a holiday from the trip – they are there to celebrate your union but also want to make their trip worthwhile.


Ensure your dress, groom’s suit and bridesmaids outfits have been taken care of before you leave home. The last thing you want to do is last-minute sewing! Stay on the safe side and pack your dress and his suit in your carry-on luggage, and ask your bridesmaids and groomsmen to do the same. If your luggage does get lost or arrives late, you can rest assured you have the important bits with you.


Make appointments for any beauty treatments you plan on getting before you get there. To ensure you look amazing for your photographs, skip the make-up while flying and make sure you drink a lot of water during the flight. It’s also a good idea to have all your wedding stationery– menus, seating charts and place settings –printed beforehand. Be prepared to add an extra suitcase of decor items you think you may need, as you won’t always find everything you want in a foreign place.


Since you are more than likely only going to invite a small crowd of close family and friends to your destination wedding, you’ll know these are the people who you can rely on. They willwant to help where they can, so instead of taking things into your own hands, delegate certain tasks to those who are keen to lend a hand.

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