Planning a Destination Wedding? Here’s what you need to know
If you’ve always dreamed of a destination wedding, here are some things you need to know before taking that long distance plunge.
Similar to wedding planning in Singapore, the first thing you need to do when planning a wedding is to pick out your venue. Remember, you’re no longer in your own territory so there will be a lot more planning required. First, decide on which country you would like to plan your wedding at. It would be good to note which of these countries have the right infrastructure to hold your wedding in a way that is professional and enjoyable to your guests. Some good examples would be popular wedding destinations such as Bali and Phuket. These places are usually full of luxury beach resorts with proper wedding planners and wedding vendors to help make your wedding planning much easier.
Here are some of the crucial things to consider:
- Proper infrastructure (Resorts, hotels, villas etc)
- Size of the venue – Check to see if you can accommodate the number of guests you have in mind. Some venues such as private villas only allow up to 70 seated pax, while luxury hotels can accommodate up to 300-400 pax.
- Sufficient wedding related vendors
- Convenience – It’s important to make sure the location is convenient for your guests as well.
Pro-tip! Don’t book the venue immediately. Get your wedding planner to do it. Many times, wedding planners have tie-ups with villas and wedding venues at a discount so don’t book them before engaging your wedding planner!
#2 Budget and guest list
Next thing to note is your budget and guest list. Remember, unlike a wedding in Singapore where you can simply book a ballroom to fit 400 people at $188/pax, holding a wedding overseas will cost a lot more. Here are some of the costs you can expect:
- Dinner Reception Venue Cost (~$6,000)
- Solemnization Venue Cost (~$3,000)
- Catering/Restaurant Cost (~$40/pax)
- Venue decoration Cost (~$70/pax)
- Hair & Make up (~$700)
- Photographer (~$2,500)
- Videographer ($~$2,500)
- Canapés and cocktail (~$80/pax)
- Wedding planner cost (~$1,800)
- Entertainment such as DJ, live band, MC (~$800)
- Officiant/Celebrant (~$400)
- Infrastructure + Sound system (~$2,000)
- Government Tax and event fees (~$2,000)
- Cake (~$200)
All these may sound very expensive and yes, the cost do pile up. For a wedding of 60 pax you can expect to pay a total of ~$25,000. That’s about $415/pax.
But it is also possible to have a $10,000 wedding for 50 pax. Here are some tips for you!
Hold a small wedding at a “private” public venue for the solemnisation. For example, public but secluded beaches, in the middle of the forest, waterfalls etc. Many famous churches and cathedrals charge a hefty booking fee of up to USD 5,000.
Look out for packages from chain hotels and resorts. These places usually have wedding packages like Singapore’s that include food, sound system, venue, and sometimes even a photographer and hair and make up artist. However, this will be at your own risk. The quality of the photographer and make up artist may not be up to your standard.
Getting catering can be very very expensive especially if they are specially catered for weddings. Also take note that for some places such as Bali, alcohol is heavily taxed and can be very costly if you want an open bar for your guests. So here’s the good news – just book a restaurant! By booking a restaurant, you will not have to worry about furniture, wait staff, food and drinks cost, decorations, alcohol etc. All you need to do is just let the restaurant know what dishes to prepare, and to keep the tab open for any drinks that were ordered. You might actually save up to 30% of your overall budget by doing so.
#3 Get a wedding planner based there
Getting a wedding planner based in the wedding destination will be the best decision you’ll make. They will be able to help you with the research, budget control, negotiation, language barrier, and on day logistics. All you need to do is pick your favourite vendor out of the curated selection and relax. Many of them will also be able to help you get discounts. Bear in mind that wedding planners do charge a fee for their services.
#4 Make a trip at least once to recce the venue and talk to your vendors
It’s always good to make a trip down to the wedding destination so that you can have a feel of what it would be like as a “guest”. Always remember that the comfort of your guests have to be the top priority. Making a trip to inspect your venue will also give you a good idea on the kind of decoration you can do. If you’re choosing a villa wedding, inspecting the venue would help you have a better understanding on the flow of events. You can also take this opportunity to start allocating rooms to your guests that are staying overnight.
You should also make a trip to do your food tasting, as well as hair and make up trial. It is also good to meet your decorators, photographer, and celebrant to have a better understanding of their services and communicate your preferences. It’s important to set the expectations right at the start so that there are no unexpected surprises.
#6 Invest in food, entertainment, photographers & videographers
Since you’re doing a destination wedding, it’s go big or go home, right? So if you’re working on a budget, always remember to focus on the important things. What are the important things? Well, the rule of thumb is that as long as it becomes a good memory, that’s worth the investment.
For example, photographers and videographers are important because a good one will be able to take photos of all the good memories and the entire event. Food and entertainment is also very important as it’s something that your guests are participating in. You can’t expect them to fly 1000miles just to eat terrible food without any entertainment. That would be such a disservice to them!
Pro-tip! Cut your cost on decoration. Opt for banquet tables with table cloths instead of wooden tables. Choose to use local flowers instead of imported flowers. These little things can help you save money over time.
Need extra help to plan your wedding? Contact us at Knotz.sg and we’ll be more than happy to dish out some free advice!