Published on Wedding Vacations, summer 2015.
By April A. Potter
When disaster strikes, it’s like an unwanted guest crashing your wedding. Avoiding the most common destination wedding mishaps is essential to keeping these unwanted party guests away! Preparing well for your trip, and having contingency plans for unexpected events, is almost like a dress rehearsal at each stage of the process leading up to the main event. First, planning the event itself will require the assistance of a seasoned professional; start with a dedicated destination wedding consultant to ensure your big day runs smoothly. Once your destination is fixed and you are ready to pack your bags, the following list will help you to keep everything else on track and as it should be for the special day that you will cherish for the rest of your lives.
What’s in your suitcase? Packing can be a challenge but a simple checklist will help you (and your guests) to remember all of the trip essentials and a pre-vacation check of essential documents (such as your passport’s validity) will ensure that no one gets left behind. Following a general guide of “packing tips” is a good way to banish the pesky wedding crasher of a disappointed guest who has forgotten something essential. Bonus points to the bride and groom who appoint a member of the bridal party to keep some extra essentials on hand just in case a guest is desperate for a toothbrush or some other personal hygiene product required to look sharp for the big day.
Sometimes it rains in paradise, too – and turning up the heat can also present a few challenges for your perfect look. The weather should always be a consideration, rain, sunshine, it doesn’t matter because both conditions require a little pre-planning and forethought. Given that most brides will wage the beauty versus weather war, choosing a look that will stand the test of time (and heat) is the way to avoid a hair or makeup mishap. A hairstyle that keeps the hair in place and away from the neck and face may be the best way to ensure longevity for all of those photo ops. Makeup should be light but durable, primer products and setting powders will go a long way in keeping the look all day.
Have you ever danced on the beach in heels? Pack a second set of shoes! The ceremony is the time to show off your perfectly pedicured toes in that special pair of shoes you’ve selected – but that doesn’t mean they are the shoes that will last the entire party – if you move to the beach or gardens you may find that flats or beach sandals would be more comfortable. Given the gorgeous selection of shoes in these categories found at most major retailers, you should be able to find a second pair that still feels special and sexy, while sparing your ankles.
Flowers come in all shapes and sizes – one of the challenges an adventurous destination wedding bride will face, is relinquishing a little bit of the control that she would have over wedding details accessible to her in the months preceding the ceremony if her wedding were held closer to home, such as visiting the venue, florist, hairdresser, etc. Be prepared to accept the adventure that you are on, without sweating every detail. Flowers, for example, are a fragile aspect of any wedding, given that they are a living thing that must grow (and thrive) to be available for your ceremony! Sometimes a floral choice may not be available because enough flowers did not grow, or did not grow fast enough to be in bloom and fit for use – a closed bud arrangement would not be the pretty wedding bouquet that you deserve! For these reasons your exact specifications may not be available for your wedding, but something equally as beautiful will!
Know the important stuff before you arrive – ask all of the questions you need answered about the rules of the resort, laws and customs that you should be aware of, pertinent to your destination and fill your guests in on anything they should know before arriving.
Drama doesn’t always take a vacation – sometimes family drama will follow the party to your wedding destination from home. To avoid any opportunity for old feuds to ignite, be sure to keep your guests entertained, keeping the mood fun, a positive experience for everyone, and reminding guests that this day is about celebrating lifelong vows and the love you share!
Nature likes to steal the scene – if a bird or some other wild, beautiful creature, crashes your ceremony, embrace the unique opportunity this presents! If a little plant-life washes ashore during your beachfront vows, think of it as nature directing the set for your photographs by bringing a little extra décor into the frame.
Finally, actual wedding crashers – be prepared for a little fanfare! Your wedding is the one day in your lives together where you will literally be “on display” – the joy and love you feel will be infectious and there will be other guests at the resort who may stop to watch or even congratulate the happy couple. Your ceremony will not only live on in your memory and the memories of your guests, but also form a part of the adventurous vacation stories of others; making your experience legendary and unique among weddings! Pretend you are William and Kate for a day and have fun with it; your love deserves nothing less than a little celebrity!
With your very own dedicated destination wedding consultant and all of these tips, your wedding should go off without any unexpected hitches! Remember to always maintain an adventurous mindset and remind yourself that the benefits of a destination wedding are tempered by your ability to adjust your plans and expectations to fit your adventure. If you are faced with any obstacles, or challenges to your original wedding vision, solve these roadblocks creatively and think of the unique memories these spontaneous moments will leave you with.