How to Ensure Success for Your Destination Wedding

Big thanks to Samantha Alexander, contributor to the blog, for this guest post!

Do you dream of getting married in a picturesque, exotic location? Destination weddings can be a romantic and memorable alternative to a traditional ceremony and location. In fact, many couples are ditching the church ceremony and banquet hall reception for breathtaking backdrops in the Caribbean, Europe and even Asia.

Planning a destination wedding comes with its own unique set of obstacles and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Check out these helpful tips to ensure – and insure – that your journey down the aisle will go a lot smoother.

Insure your big day

First off, wedding insurance for a destination wedding is a must. Between the wedding itself and traveling to another country, there are a lot of variables, which means more things that can go wrong.

In case you haven’t priced your nuptials yet, Brides magazine reported in 2012 that the average cost of a destination wedding was $23,800. Believe it or not, that’s sort of a bargain: reported cost of the average domestic wedding at $28,400. A major reason for the difference, Brides says, is that fewer people typically attend destination weddings.

So what if your wedding gown gets lost at the airport or the groom gets a bad stomach bug the day of the wedding? Or what if one of your wedding vendors goes out of business or just doesn’t show up? A wedding insurance policy protects you financially in the event one of these scenarios causes cancellation of the ceremony.

You also can get another layer of protection with a standard wedding or special events policy – personal liability. This would help pay legal expenses and any award should someone get injured at the ceremony or reception. It also would kick in if you or a guest damages the venue; most large-scale reception sites require you to have some liability coverage.

Yes, it may seem over-the-top and unnecessary to buy coverage you hope never to use. But considering what a big investment a wedding is, it’s actually very smart. Typical wedding insurance policies can range from $125 to $400, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Do your research

This increases your chance of having more guests at the wedding and ties directly into insuring your big day. Once you choose your dreamy destination, you’ll want to do some research before nailing down a date.

First, consider your family and friends. Will the trip be manageable for family and friends? Make sure there are reasonably priced flights without a lot of stops. For instance, if you have your heart set on your 85-year-old grandmother attending, you might want to make sure she won’t have to change planes three times. Yes, it’s your day, but if you want others to share it with you, you’ll need to take their needs into consideration.

Another important item to check before ordering your ‘Save the Date’ cards – the weather. Many tropical islands have lower rates in the late summer and fall because it’s hurricane season (probably not an ideal time to schedule a wedding). Otherwise, the chance you’ll need the wedding insurance multiplies, as does the chance that guests who plan to attend will need to buy travel insurance to protect their finances.

Focus instead on the best times to visit your destination. Make sure you check the local calendar for festivals or holidays that may conflict with your date. Lots of tourists and inflated prices? No thanks.

Some other must-do’s

Other tips to help make sure that the day goes as planned:

Hire a local wedding planner. While you may want to contract with a wedding planner stateside or plan the whole thing yourself, it’s a good idea also to also hire some local help. Talk to the resort or wedding venue and see whether personnel there can recommend a local wedding planner. This planner will be an invaluable resource because he or she knows the area, the language and best – and most reliable – vendors.

Stay organized. When planning a destination wedding, organization is key. Create a binder with travel information, itineraries, your guest list and other key information. Create a packing checklist well ahead of time. Otherwise, in all the excitement, you could find yourself in paradise without your dress.

Get your paperwork in order. Talk to your wedding planner about what paperwork you may need to make your wedding official. Countries often have different requirements when it comes to tourist weddings. Take care of your passport well ahead of time.

Your wedding should be one of the happiest days of your life. Don’t let the little things stress you out. Insurance, research, and planning will make sure the big day goes off with a hitch – yours.

This article was contributed by Samantha Alexander, contributor to the blog. The blog serves as a resource center for insurance consumers and homebuyers across the country.

Do you have any questions or comments for Samantha? Add them to the comments below!