1. Hire a wedding planner.
Let’s face it: Weddings are stressful. Planning them from a different city or state? Even more so. If a wedding planner is in your budget — or if you have the guts to rearrange some dollars — this is the best step you can take to de-stress your wedding. Your wedding planner will know the ins and outs of your destination (she’s a local, after all!). You’ll save time, eventually save money (special relationships = vendor discounts!) and save heartache when something goes awry — your wedding planner will have it fixed in no time.
2. The more inclusive, the better.
One of the easiest ways to make your destination wedding easy on yourself and your guests is to keep everything in the same place. You and your wedding guests will be in a new place; don’t complicate things! Renting a car, driving from ceremony to reception to hotel at the end of the night offers its own host of possible snags, thanks to an unknown locale and possibly iffy directions. Ceremony-ing, partying and sleeping in one place means more time fun and, usually, less cash.
3. Help pay for your honeymoon with rewards programs.
Your wedding isn’t going to pay for itself — but it can help pay for your honeymoon. Pro tip: Choose a Starwood property as your lucky venue, and you’ll earn one Starpoint for every $1 spent on rooms, food and beverage. Then, take your points (and your new spouse) on the honeymoon of your dreams.
4. Find a photographer who knows your venue.
Your wedding destination shouldn’t be a surprise to your photographer. Searching for wedding photos at the venue is a good place to start. A seasoned vet will know when the lighting is best at your favorite garden spot, and where to fit your 18-person wedding party (it’s an art!) for group photos. Pro tip: ask the property for a list of photographers they’ve worked with in the past and recommend.
5. Get cozy with technology.
You have locations to brainstorm, guest lists to make, schedules to draft, and budgets to reference. Oh, and people to share them with! Share your cloud-based invite list with your mom, who can put that address book to good use, and make sure your bridesmaids have access to day-of schedules and a list of party invites. That way, everyone’s on the same page and looking at the most current version.
Bonus tip: Remember why you’re getting married.
It’s easy to get a little resentful during the wedding planning process, especially if your significant other may not be pulling his or her weight with the matrimonial duties. Take a deep breath, a step back and a stroll through memory lane. Old emails, text messages and photos can help rekindle the flame that made you say “yes.”