If you recently got engaged, congratulations! Planning a wedding during these unprecedented times can feel challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. You may have had an idea for a destination wedding in your head, but with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic at play, you might want to alter those plans and host a “destination wedding” closer to home.
Depending on where you are in the country and where your guests live, travel restrictions may still apply. Here’s how you can host the destination wedding of your dreams without traveling to another country.
1. Incorporate nods to your dream destination in your decor. When you decorate your reception space with elements related to the location you initially wanted to have your wedding, it can help you feel like you’re really there. For instance, if you originally wanted to get married in Disney World, use colors, themes, and figures from your favorite Disney movies in your table numbers or welcome sign. Hide Mickeys throughout your decor to make your guests feel like they’ve been transported to the most magical place on Earth.
2. Notify your guests in advance. You may not be leaving the country, but some of your guests might still have to travel to attend your wedding. Pandemic or not, it’s best to give your guests as much notice of your wedding as possible so that they can plan a safe trip. Advanced notice also gives your guests time to think about quarantining, getting the vaccine, or getting tested before your big day.
3. Budget for your vendors. Creating a “destination wedding” at home might require some wiggle room in your budget. If you wanted to get married in another country, it could be costly to import the foods from your original destination. Shop local where you can and have the event catered by a local restaurant that offers the specialty dishes from your dream wedding destination. In this way, you’re helping your community and amplifying the feeling of a destination wedding.
4. Hire safe and reliable transportation. A wedding party charter bus company takes the stress off of your guests who might not be from the area and unsure of where your event is taking place. Connect with the company to orchestrate pick up and drop off locations, which could include where your ceremony and reception is being held, as well as the hotel you’ve used to block rooms. Besides taking the stress of travel off your guests, hiring a company to handle the transportation ensures all your guests arrive and depart safely from your wedding.
5. Let a professional make your plans. Hiring a wedding planner can take a lot of the stress off a couple. But that’s even more true in these unusual times. A professional wedding planner can find the venue, communicate about decor, work with your vendors, and take on other wedding planning projects. If you’re worried about pulling off a “destination wedding” closer to home, hiring a wedding planner can help.
6. Get creative with your venue. Just because you can’t make the trip to Greece doesn’t mean you can’t have the wedding of your dreams. First, consider the original location you wanted your destination wedding to be. Then, consider the local venue options that might offer the same vibes as your dream destination. Is there a Mediterranean restaurant near your home? Booking a venue indicative of your original destination means less pressure on amplifying the decor!
7. Speak volumes with your wedding favors. Much like the wedding venue, the favors you give your guests can serve as a nod to the destination wedding of your dreams. Consider favors that will symbolize your “destination wedding,” like mini bottles of Limoncello for those who can’t travel to Italy. You could also provide a memento that guests can utilize at your wedding, like a mask or hand sanitizer.
8. Go digital. If you and your significant other can safely travel to the destination of your dreams, you may still be able to have a wedding — but with a limited guest list. Depending on your destination, you, your spouse, and a few immediate family members may be able to travel for a ceremony and live stream it to those who couldn’t make it from the destination.
9. Check out reviews from 2020. From catering to venues, photographers, and even DJs, it’s essential to look at reviews for your vendors from 2020. Doing this research will give you a better idea of how they handled working a wedding during a pandemic and provide you with guidance as to whether they’ll be able to help you have the wedding of your dreams.
10. Push your wedding back. If you absolutely can’t get past the idea of not having a destination wedding with all of your friends and family present, it’s best to postpone the event. As long as you’re okay with pushing plans back for as long as it takes, you’ll be able to have the wedding you originally had planned.
If you got engaged in 2020, the best thing to do about wedding planning is to take it in stride. You don’t have to travel to an exotic location to have the destination wedding of your dreams. These ten tips will help you plan a destination wedding that’s safer and closer to home.