Destination weddings add another level of excitement to nuptials.
With sun, warmth and guaranteed beauty, it’s no wonder so many UK couples go abroad to tie the note.
However, destination weddings don’t come without problems.
Planning a wedding in an entirely different country is logistically difficult and on the day, the usual British weather rules don’t apply.
Now, one destination wedding planner has shared her secret tips and tricks to help couples get the most out of their ceremonies.
According to wedding planner Megan Walsh of The Wedding Travel Company, spring is usually the time of year when couples start thinking about making plans
However, from sweating to wedding footwear, Megan notes people would be surprised about the things couples and guests forget to consider when it comes to destination wedding planning.
Sweating and sunburn
Marrying the love of your life outdoors, in the glittering sunshine, is one of the main reasons Brits choose to wed abroad. Yet, humidity and high temperatures mean brides, grooms and guests need to think carefully about keeping cool.
Megan says: ‘Lots of people worry about sweating and it’s almost inevitable when you’re overseas in a hot country, but there are ways to minimise the worry. Leave a few days before the wedding, at least, to allow your body time to adjust to the temperature change. Stay hydrated because drinking water can help to cool the body and reduce sweating.
‘Use sunscreen with a suitable amount of SPF in and avoid any pre-wedding sunburn at all costs.
‘The last thing you want to do is give yourself heatstroke so take cool showers and relax in the shade when you can.
‘Most venues offer a range of ceremony times throughout the day. To avoid the higher temperatures altogether on the day itself, book a sunset ceremony instead.’
From package deals to avoiding certain times of the year, there are many ways to knock thousands off your wedding costs.
‘So many wedding packages are really comprehensive and give customers group benefits that can knock thousands off costs,’ Megan explains. ‘I would always advise booking a wedding abroad as a package.
‘In the Caribbean, almost every resort offers a honeymoon package, so you can escape to a different place after your wedding and enjoy couples massages and romantic dinners on the beach which are included in the price of your stay.
‘It’s an obvious tip but I would avoid the height of the summer holidays, when airlines and hotels charge more. The best rates you’re going to find are six to 12 months before your preferred travel dates.’
Meanwhile, Megan urges couples to build up travel points.
‘Build up your airline points through food shopping for a year or two before your wedding and then book your flights,’ she says.
‘Supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury’s have schemes where shoppers are rewarded with miles for spending their cash with them. Get your guests to do the same. It really does make a difference and you can save hundreds of pounds, especially if you’re grocery shopping for more people.’
During weddings in warmer climates, the humidity can be harder to deal with than the sunshine itself. Megan advises couples to embrace the destination wedding vibes.
‘Avoid unnecessary layers or anything overly tight that doesn’t allow your skin to breathe and stops you moving freely,’ the wedding planner explains.
‘Remember, you swell in the heat, so a perfectly altered dress or suit may be a bit snug once you’re there.
‘For brides, a trick is to go for a lighter flowing skirt over a structured hoop gown. These can be altered to create side splits that can be hidden in the fabric, or that look like part of the design. A floating skirt will create ripples in the breeze and add movement to wedding pictures.
‘Or, go for a design with a bare skin element to it. Wear a backless or a strapless or thin-strapped dress. For those who want something less traditional, an elegant strapless jumpsuit with bead work will pop against an ocean backdrop.
‘Ask your designer or seamstress about having a discrete loop sewn into your skirt to slip over your wrist and make it easier to pick up. To avoid the need to wear tight-fitting lingerie, see if anything can be built into your dress around the bust.’
Megan adds that men can skip the formal jacket and go for the linen shirt look.
‘With that being said, we always want couples to wear their dream outfits,’ she says. ‘People can make the most of any air conditioning, the natural breeze, shade, and you can always add ice-lolly carts to your cocktail hour set-up to cool things down.’
In terms of footwear, Megan says this is your chance to get creative.
‘When it comes to footwear, I’ve seen it all,’ she notes. ‘There are more choices to be made with beach weddings because of the sand. Some choose a barefoot walk down the aisle with anklets and toe rings, I’ve seen other people wear customised flip flops and loafers are a good shout too.
‘Bear in mind with flip flops, they kick up the sand behind you. If you want to wear heels, put a long-feathered rug down on your aisle to support them, or get a platform put in so you can all walk easily without getting sand in your shoes or falling over. If you’re a guest, find out what kind of terrain you’ll be walking on so you can prepare.
‘For non-beach weddings traditional choices work well, but be careful because a lot of venues, like those on hilltops, have a bumpier terrain.’
If you are using a local makeup artist, Megan says to go to them with notes on your skin.
‘Think about whether or not you’re dry or oily, or if you suit pink or olive undertones,’ she advises.
‘Use a good foundation and eyeshadow primer that’s right for your skin type to help your makeup hold longer on your face. Use waterproof mascara to avoid smudging in the heat. A setting spray will also help to keep everything in place.
‘My main tip is to look into Airbrush Makeup. It’s silicone-based which means it lasts longer and is more water resistant than regular makeup.’
If you plan to tie the knot outside, choose your indoor or partially-covered back-up option at the same time you confirm your main venue.
‘Most venues will have a suitable area indoors or be able to provide an outdoor setup that minimises the effects of any rain or wind,’ Megan explains. ‘If you don’t want to risk anything but an outdoor view is still important to you, there are many venues out there with glass walls or panoramic windows.’
She continues: ‘It’s important to consider what the picture could look like in terms of weather for your chosen month and location. In many European destinations, the chance of overcast weather or showers is higher in April and May than it is in July or August.
‘Year round, you’re looking at ideal weather for a Caribbean ceremony. It’s stunning most of the time, but even when it rains, it dries up really quickly thanks to the heat.’