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How to plan an international wedding

How to plan an international wedding

Love knows no boundaries. Nowadays, we travel, we explore different cultures, and often, when visiting other countries, we meet the love of our life. On our wedding day, we also want to be in a beautiful and unusual environment, as well as invite friends and relatives from all over the world. The wedding industry is evolving along with our lifestyle, so destination and international weddings are no longer uncommon. Wedding planner Alise Mihimana shares her thoughts on international weddings, suggestions for planning a destination wedding, and more than 10 years of experience planning them.

What to consider when planning a destination wedding

The first idea of a wedding abroad is that it is an expensive event. But Alise explains that whether a wedding abroad is more expensive is a relative question because it depends on the intended destination. For example,  Bali has a cheaper five-star service, but Como is more expensive. When asked whether planning a wedding abroad is more time-consuming, Alise replies that she no longer believes it to be true because she has already gained extensive experience.

Sometimes, for example, in Bali, where she usually plans small and intimate weddings, they can be organized even in a month or two. Planning should start early if the couple wants to book a certain wedding destination, such as some popular villa, a palazzo in Italy or a chateau in France.


Unless a wedding abroad is planned as a spontaneous event for two, guests should also be informed on time, so that they too can plan their arrival. Alise suggests that even before creating invitations, the couple should electronically send out save the date as soon as the wedding date is known. Once this is done, they can start designing invitations, as this usually takes more time.

Another practical nuance to take into account when organizing a wedding abroad is that everyone involved should arrive on time, and you should prepare for the fact that flights may delay. Often a photo and video team and a wedding host fly from another country. These are very important people at weddings, so it is better to schedule their arrival in time than to save money for one extra night at the hotel. This also applies to couples. Arriving early at their destination will not only relieve stress but will also allow them to explore the location.


How to choose your destination wedding venue

The main factors for the wedding destination are personal and practical. The country is often chosen based on personal and romantic considerations. It is most often a country that binds the couple with special memories, adventures, and dreams. When it comes to practical matters, the couple must certainly take into account the budget, because there are provinces and beautiful cities in Italy and France where you can fit into a smaller budget, but if you want something magical, there are places that require a more extensive budget. They include the Amalfi Coast, Lake Garda and Lake Como, Tuscany, and Sicilian Orvina.


Of course, when choosing a wedding destination, you should also think about logistics, and take into account where the couple and most of the guests are residing. However, popular wedding destinations with advanced logistics are most often chosen to make it easier to get to the wedding venue. If it's an intimate wedding, then you shouldn't worry so much about it, but if there are many guests, then it will be expensive and difficult to provide transportation for everyone from the airport to the wedding venue. And in popular and developed places, guests can easily plan a little vacation and spend more time in the neighbourhood.


Sometimes weddings are held in two countries, but Alise says that most often it is not because of romantic, but for practical reasons because the legal side of marriage is sometimes more difficult to arrange in one country or another. In her experience, there have been such cases, for example, a couple who held a wedding ceremony in London, because they live there, but the celebrations with guests – in Italy. The ceremony in London was formal, but the celebration in Italy was purely symbolic.


The comfort of your guests at an international wedding

A wedding abroad usually involves celebrations for more than one day. That's because guests have invested money and time to arrive. Therefore, most couples often choose a magnificent, beautiful, enjoyable celebration, which becomes a memorable event. Alise recommends having a rehearsal dinner the day before, a brunch after the wedding, or both. These do not have to be grand events, they are usually informal, and their main objective is to spend time together. The rehearsal dinner takes place in a different venue, not in the actual wedding venue, where guests have the opportunity to get acquainted.


The day after the wedding she often hosts a brunch where guests can come and leave at their own time, depending on what their further plans are. It is a very relaxed event where beautiful background music and entertainment are planned, and the bride has a second-day dress. Alise says that when planning a wedding abroad, there is no need to give up various pre-wedding activities and events. More and more bachelorette and bachelor parties are held abroad, for example, the bride and her girlfriends fly away for a weekend in another country.


Do you need an on-site wedding planner for a destination wedding?

Alise tells us that no matter where the wedding takes place, she is looking for the help of a high- quality specialist living in the destination country. She attends congresses where she gets to know and builds relationships with professional service providers, vendors and wedding planners from different countries. It is a long-term investment in her profession. She has been to congresses in Italy, Mexico and Sri Lanka, so when there is a request for a particular destination, she already knows who to turn to.


It is important to get acquainted with colleagues in person, not by e-mail, because after three or four days together at the congress, trust is established, and the couple can be guaranteed the highest quality, knowing that there is support and a team in a particular place. She would not hold a wedding in a place she does not know and has no trusted colleagues, so she strategically establishes contacts in advance. In addition, when arranging weddings in high-end venues, they usually have a wedding manager who will recommend the best vendors.


Author: Renāte Berga

Wedding planner: Alise Mihimana

Foto: Ilze Ose

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