Lorraine Simpson: Planning a Destination Wedding During a Pandemic

Lorraine Simpson: Planning a Destination Wedding During a Pandemic

A big congratulations on your engagement! That’s fantastic!

But now what?

Once you know you are tying the knot, then it’s time to start attending bridal shows and meeting all the people who can help plan your wedding.

No, wait, all those shows have all been cancelled.

Okay then, you can check out all the individual stores and have consultations about your wedding plans.

No, wait, you can’t do that either. Well, at least not easily with your entire bridal party.

Better yet, why not go out and try on wedding dresses and be wedding-ready for your big day.

Ugh, no, you can do that either.

That’s right – COVID-19 has thrown us all lemons, but there are solutions for getting married in our new era of travel.

Getting married is supposed to be the happiest day of your life, but many couples are hesitant to say “I do” with all this uncertainty and instability in the wake of a global pandemic.

Say yes to the dress, the shoes, the party, and honeymoon – but no one knows how to plan amid all the confusion with travel slowly reopening.

Don’t despair “love bugs,” I have planned over 1500 destination weddings since I started my specialist company in 2005. That’s right, I have arranged weddings locally, and to far away places, like Thailand, and even Vietnam.

Destination weddings are still popular as it is not only an excellent way to save money, but also a great way to get friends and family together for some quality time.

Many couples had their wedding dreams blown apart by this pandemic as their weddings were cancelled and some of my clients even had their wedding postponed twice! It has been a difficult time and the uncertainty doesn’t help.

So, here are my top tips when you are planning a destination wedding in a pandemic.

Find a great planner

The only way to do this is to make sure you hire someone who not only knows what they are doing, but who is also connected within the industry with some “skin in the game.” This means that if the wedding needs postponing again, then they are in a good position to help you navigate any changes.

Book and plan at least a year out

Try to start looking over a year out. You need to give people enough time to save and to plan vacation time. As we are currently in a pandemic, there are other things to think about too: How has the country handled the virus? How is the economy in a post pandemic? How are the entry requirements? What are the cancellation terms in case of a second or third wave? What kinds of international travel insurance do you need with COVID-19 protection?

Choose the right location

I say choose for you, but many couples choose a location based on what they believe their guests want. Some have chosen a really inexpensive resort based on the budget of 6 potential guests, but they did not come at all even at any price, so they are stuck with a resort they probably would not have chosen for themselves. Think of what suits you! If you have to potentially subsidize a few key guests in order to get what you want, then build that into the budget.

Imagine you have 6 children and you ask them who wants what for dinner. Well, you will most likely get 6 different answers. Then when you choose one, the other 5 are upset you didn’t pick their idea. Don’t make it personal, and this is why it’s always best to consider your guests and what you think would work but make the decision yourselves. Then announce it, just like you would for dinner: “Hey everyone, we are having chicken with salad tonight.” The children, in this scenario, will all like it and no one feels put out.

Can I get a free wedding?

Many resorts offer a free basic wedding package for the bride and groom. They may also offer credits for groups too, so let’s say for example that you have 38 guests booked at a resort offering a free basic wedding package, you could get the following:

  • 1:12 free: this equates to 3 people free. Bride and groom and money left over for extras and this comes directly to you. You choose what you do with it. You get a free basic wedding package and use the left over for the extras you want to add.

This means a destination wedding can be an excellent way to get married, while having a great time, and saving money too!

Myths and facts: What you need to know

Myth: Guests will be against the idea of a destination wedding and refuse to come.

Fact: Most destination couples are surprised by the high turnout.

In most cases, friends and family will be thrilled to make a mini vacation out of your wedding holiday. We often see 70% to 80% of guests RSVP to a destination invitation. Of course, many things are a factor, like where it is and how much it will cost, but if you choose well then you will find more guests will attend. How much notice and how safe the location is will also be something to consider now more than ever. Give plenty of advance notice so that guests can save up and make travel plans and be gracious to loved ones who get upset anyway; they’re not obligated to attend.

Also be straightforward about what group expenses you’re covering, and pass along any info about discounts — a preferred room rate at your chosen hotel is an extra incentive for guests to make the trip. Weddings away are typically held in beautiful spots like Hawaii and Greece — places people will want to travel to. The couple can host a welcome party or a rehearsal dinner, a morning-after brunch and maybe a group activity; plus, if they’ve picked out the hotel and suggested local attractions, it’s an easy, ready-made vacation package with people who have a common thread: they all care about you!”

Myth: Marrying away is too complicated from a legal standpoint.

Fact: Planners are available to help guide couples through the process.

Tying the knot in another state or country is not as complicated as you may think. From a legal standpoint, choosing to have a destination wedding may require a few extra steps. However, obtaining a marriage license still follows the same basic process. If you’re getting married in another country, then it is important that you abide by particular rules. If you are legally married in another country, then that legal marriage is recognized as legal in any country. It is a complete myth and rumour started usually by wedding officiants trying to scam couples out of more money to “legalize documents” after the marriage. This is absolutely not necessary.

I could talk about this subject for days as it is very dear to my heart, but it will take far too much of your time.

Planning a destination wedding is all about you and I am here for you as the expert to help you from start to finish. I match you with the right kind of place that you will love to get married in, and will work like a realtor asking you all the important questions to really get a true understanding of what will work for you.

I will meet with you either in person or remotely and really walk you through every step of the process. I will make you a personalized E-invitation and booking link, and I plan weddings anywhere in the world, legal or symbolic, even cultural weddings lasting for days.

There is no fee for the initial consultation, and I am here to make your wedding day nothing short of perfection!

Contact me today. I never disappoint!

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