In an earlier post, I highlighted some of the major pros and cons to an off-the-beaten-path destination wedding, here are some of the expectations that I had when planning my wedding in Greece… and the realities that we faced.
Everyone who gets excited about the destination (and tells you they are coming!) will come.
Babies, new houses and life in general get in the way. Even with a save-the-date that goes out 12 months prior to the wedding, your friends and families have lives too. Don’t count your guest list until the RSVPs are in. You will also have some friends/family that may hum and haw until the week before the wedding. Make sure you plan for those people to not attend. Adding a chair to the dinner table is much preferable to taking one away and having to pay for it anyway.
Your vision will fall effortlessly into place!
It is actually quite difficult to remember details about a venue that you last saw 12 months ago. If you have never been to your destination before, you probably want to enlist the help of a planner, unless of course you thrive on chaos and tears. Even with photo reminders or floor plans it can be difficult to put the pieces together in your mind. And if those décor items you have loved on Pinterest aren’t available at your destination, or are prohibitively expensive? What then? Best to go with a plan, but to keep an open mind. You love the destination and venue for a reason, right? Let the venue shine & keep your banquet hall expectations back home where they belong.
We’ll be at our destination well in advance – we will have time to hang out with everyone individually!
When you are planning an off-the-beaten-path destination wedding, be prepared that your guests are going to travel their own way. With a resort package, you can expect your guests will all arrive on a particular day and stay the 4, 7, or 10 day (etc.) package length. This allows for group tours and activities to be scheduled for all to participate in. This will not happen in a destination like Europe. With so many things to see and so little vacation time, your wedding may fall into the beginning, middle or end of your guests’ trips. We had family come just for the wedding, and friends that took off to other European countries immediately after the wedding or met us after touring the Islands. Because you can’t control their schedules, fitting everyone in can be tough. My advice: Don’t sweat it. As a couple, be prepared to split up so that one can tend to previously-arrived guests while the other finalizes wedding plans or greets new arrivals at the airport. We really wanted to ensure that our guests felt appreciated for coming all that way, so Mathieu and I took turns picking people up from the airport whenever possible (or greeting them at the hotel if they took the shuttle bus), taking everyone to Athens & the Acropolis, and made time to hang out at the hotel as babysitters so that parents could get away for a day trip.
The Bottom Line:
The realities/challenges that you weren’t expecting are nothing you can’t handle as a team! Of course, it is your wedding and your expectations are very high, but if you keep a little perspective and focus on your priorities, you will get more out of the experience than you previously thought possible.
(all photos courtesy of Anna Roussos)