So all this talk about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s sure-to-be-luxe wedding has you turning to Pinterest with your own ideas. And, sure, maybe it can’t be at Westminster Abbey or Windsor Castle, but your dream destination wedding is within reach. You deserve a royal wedding of your own—one with everything you want.
To help make that dream a reality, we spoke to Crystal Adair-Benning, owner of Distinct Occasions and a wedding planner for almost 20 years, to learn how to make the most of your destination wedding.
1. Get clear on your vision for the wedding
Before even making plans for your big day, you and your partner should be on the same page about a few things. Want to elope on a romantic getaway? Or do you want a giant celebration with all of your friends and family? And what kind of destination do you want? A secluded spot surrounded by nature? An intimate escape on a sandy Caribbean beach? Choosing the type of destination first will make it that much easier to find your perfect location.
2. Take advantage of local offerings
Spots that offer all-inclusive packages, like Jamaica, can offer the best of both worlds. “You can get access to wonderful florists and great rentals, so it will feel very much like a wedding at home but in a different location,” Adair-Benning explains. A gorgeous event, romance and luxurious quality? Check.
3. Familiarize yourself with your destination beforehand
Ideally, you’d get to visit the location prior to your wedding, but that’s not always feasible. Instead, Adair-Benning recommends doing plenty of research, scoping out the area and calling local tourism boards to get a grasp on things. You may even get a few freebies—like maps or chocolate—thrown in for your guests.
4. Don’t feel compelled to schedule everything
Don’t be afraid to check out the exciting tours and activities—scuba diving, anyone?—on offer at your resort. Schedule a few group outings with your loved ones and take advantage of local experiences, “but don’t feel like you need to schedule every single event,” says Adair-Benning. Get in a little private time with your soon-to-be spouse—and encourage your guests to do their own thing too.