Anyone who has planned or attended a wedding knows that there is one very important issue that must be addressed for out-of-town guests: where to stay. More often than not families or wedding planners will contact a local hotel to reserve room blocks at a special rate for wedding guests, taking the guesswork and worry out of what could be an unnecessarily stressful situation. This system works pretty well for the most part, but things get a little more complicated when the wedding in question is a destination wedding.
Why’s that? Well, in a destination wedding, not only do guests require out-of-town accommodation, the same goes for the bride and groom, their families and the wedding party. Expenses can be through the roof not only because of the extra bookings involved, but also because space considerations usually demand booking superior rooms and suites. Will the entire bridal party be comfortable getting ready in a tiny twin room? Not likely.
Renting an apartment or house for a destination wedding is a great solution to the dilemmas of space and cost. If a large rental is available – perhaps a multi-room beach villa – most of the family can be accommodated together so that they can truly celebrate the occasion (don’t worry bride and groom, there surely is a private bungalow nearby to rent for some peace and quiet). A rental is a great staging area for the bridal party to get together. Instead of trekking out to a salon to do hair and makeup, the professionals can come to you. And depending on what kind of ceremony is planned, many rentals have their own private gardens or beaches, so everything can be done on site! Most catering companies have worked parties at private residences, so food should not be an issue.
Even if the wedding itself is held elsewhere, a rental will still come in handy. For the budget conscious, a rental is the perfect place to host brunch the day after the wedding. Many rentals in the Caribbean or as far away as Bali come with private chef perks. Or you can DIY! Renting an apartment or house saves the need to book venues for the welcome gathering, rehearsal dinner, brunches and more, thus cutting down considerably on expenses.
Before you leave for your big day, here’s a checklist to help with some common destination wedding issues:
- Do you have your officiant in place? It’s easy to find registered officiants in the popular destination wedding locales – a quick google search should do it.
- Do you need to bring birth certificates, divorce certificates or any other supporting documentation from your home country? What documents do you need after the ceremony to make sure the wedding is legal back home? Do you need them translated?
- Does your bridal fashion pack well? Do you know a highly recommended local dry cleaner for last minute wedding dress/suit pressing?
- Have you contacted a local florist for decor?
- Which are the trusted caterers in the area? Do any local restaurants offer catering services?
- If you plan on cooking your own meals at the rental, where are the closest supermarkets and food shops?
- Have you booked beauty and grooming appointments? Can the stylists come to you?
Mary-Elizabeth O’Neill is a New York based event designer who has lived in Paris and London. She travels frequently, loves writing about her adventures and appreciates your comments! You can find Mary-Elizabeth on Twitter as @m_oneill_nyc.