5 tips to have the European destination wedding you always wanted
Taking a trip with your loved ones to get married in your favourite European city is all part of the appeal of a destination wedding. Yet you may feel responsible for making it a fun-packed vacation for your nearest and dearest, which adds pressure at an already stressful time. But fear not! We're here to help. Today luxury wedding planner, Krissy Campbell shares her insider advice to turn your wedding weekend into an amazing destination experience for everyone.
Guest count and logistics
Figure out your highest possible guest count as this is key to narrowing down the locations available to you and how easily accessible they are, in terms of logistics and budget, to your group. When sourcing your wedding venues, it is important to think about where it is located and the overnight accommodations it does (or doesn’t) offer. An Italian villa on Lake Como, a chateau in the South of France or a coastal inn might offer just what you need to not only provide a beautiful wedding space, but also a unique and stand alone experience for all of your guests the entire weekend.
The larger the group, the more you need to consider where other guests might stay nearby. Do guests have access to visiting your primary wedding venue for other activities if needed throughout the weekend? Are there larger hotels, resorts or other options within walking distance? Once you start involving multiple places, you run the risk of having to navigate different schedules and unforeseen logistics, such as heavy traffic, and you may need to think about providing transportation. Providing the ease of a one stop venue or if that isn't possible, giving guests thorough details of transportation and schedules will go a long way in turning the wedding into a destination weekend that everyone wants to be a part of.
Amenities and services
A wonderful highlight of any destination wedding weekend is taking advantage of the amenities and services often offered by the primary wedding venue. Find out what is available in each room and throughout the space for both individuals, couples and families.
Often an inn, villa or estate will provide customized food and beverage options, a pool, exercise facilities, spa services, quiet gardens, cleaning services, in-room toiletries, and other boutique experiences. A concierge or staff who can recommend or facilitate other options and experiences is generally available as well.
Day trips and activities
Most often your destination location will have must-see sites, day trips and local life that you can all participate in throughout the weekend. Arranging day trips or activities in the local area or region that guests can opt in on are perfect ways to showcase your destination of choice and all it has to offer, while giving your guests the feel of a vacation.
Depending on the location of the venue, think about scheduling at least one or more of the following - site-seeing tours, wine tastings, boating, sporting events, hiking, or other leisure activities unique to the area. Making clear that the activities are optional ensures guests feel free to do their own thing if they wish.
Your nearest and dearest have traveled all this way and genuinely want to celebrate you and the new season your marriage brings, so find ways to do just that over the weekend. Many clients say that having a welcome reception, rehearsal dinner or cocktails together prior to the wedding helps to ease the pressure and nerves of doing it all on one particular day.
You are able to share a more extended time with those you love and celebrate the journey together, allowing yourself to ease into festivities and ensure you make the most of the time you have. Sharing a day-after brunch is a lovely way to reminisce on the festivities of the weekend and send off your guests as everyone parts ways again.
The more personalized and cozy you can make your destination wedding weekend, the more memorable and intimate the experience will be for your guests. Think about the journey you are taking with your guests from beginning to end and find ways to make it that much easier for everyone (yourselves included). Clearly communicate details from the very beginning, provide resources, and highlight why you and your fiancé chose this place.
Adding unique, beautiful details to the celebration weekend through stationery customized to the location, welcome gifts in each room, custom itineraries, personalized thank you notes, sketches of the location, maps of the area, local goodies, and other nods to what makes this place your destination of choice go a long way in ensuring a sweet weekend for everyone.