Tips for Planning a Destination Wedding

Written by Caitlin Hoare
Destination weddings around the world are loaded with customs and traditions that make them one of a kind.

With the ubiquity of the internet and huge rise of social media it’s no wonder more couples than ever are considering getting married abroad – because they can! We’re delighted to be heading to Poland and welcoming the breath-taking Manowce Palace to the blog. Their tips for planning a destination wedding are absolute GOLD. And if you’re considering taking your celebrations abroad then I would highly recommend Poland; incredible scenery, delicious food, and some excellent wedding traditions…

“On arriving at the reception party, the newlyweds are greeted by their parents with a huge loaf of bread, salt and two vodka shots. This represents a wish that the couple will always have sustenance in their life together.” See what I mean? Who can argue with that…

Tips from the Venue

Exclusivity of Your Venue

Ask the hotel or resort about other events taking place on the date you plan to have your wedding. While most resorts wouldn’t arrange multiple weddings for the same period, they may have other events booked in. You don’t want a load of raucous salespeople at a conference cluttering up the pool and bar on your wedding weekend.

Consider the Duration of Your stay

Most destination weddings take place over a long weekend, from the Thursday until the Sunday. Your guests will be at the destination for all this time and their entertainment is largely your responsibility. Most weddings include a rehearsal dinner and party on the Friday night, the wedding on the Saturday and brunch on the Sunday morning. Remember that you’ll need to arrive at the destination between two and four days before the guests arrive, to settle in and prepare.

the legal Formalities

Make sure you can legally get married at your destination wedding location. You’ll need to abide by the country’s requirements for marriages and bring all the necessary documents. A waiting period, and even proof of inoculations, may be required, so check the rules with your wedding coordinator or planner. If you prefer, you can consider getting married at your local town hall or registry office beforehand. If you take this route, your destination ceremony will function as a larger wedding blessing / celebration.

Planning your wedding

Your wedding when you’re hundreds, if not thousands of kilometres away is no easy task. However, most resorts save hassle by offering packages. Yes, they can be a little cookie-cutter, but the wedding is still bound to be fabulous since the setting is new to your guests. Another option is to hire an independent wedding planner who will help you to tailor your wedding. If a planner isn’t in your budget, look for a resort that has an on-site coordinator who’s eager to cater to your tastes and needs.

booking a wedding Planner

If you want more than the wedding package and the wedding coordinator provided by the resort, you either need a planner near your home or a planner located close to the destination. In the case of a planner based near you, make sure they’re experienced in destination weddings and they can work with a local planner at the destination. In any case, the planner must have someone in the area who has a good working relationship with suppliers, so that you use the best of them and get a good deal.

Site visits

If you have the time and the budget, travel to your destination beforehand and check everything out. If not, plan to arrive at the location a few days early to make any final decisions and if needed you could do a trial for the hair and makeup too.

Put your guests first

This is the driving principle of all wedding planning. Your guests will be investing a lot of time and money in attending your wedding and their satisfaction needs to be a priority. This doesn’t mean compromising on your dreams, of course.

be organised and Post invites early

You want to give your guests enough notice so that they can book flights and hotel rooms, secure any necessary visas, book time off work and save the money they’ll need to attend the wedding. Most guests won’t book anything until they receive the official invite. Plan a year in advance for destination weddings to ensure a good turnout.

Make a Travel plan

Transportation for your guests needs to be seamless and efficient. Ideally, you’ll arrange for large groups of guests to fly in at around the same time and travel to the venue together on chartered buses. Your guests need to be aware of the journey time from the airport to the venue and what modes of transportation they’ll be taking. Consider appointing someone as a travel liaison – but not the bride, groom or immediate family, who’ll be busy with other wedding plans.

Guest Welcome guides

Communication with guests needs to go way beyond a Save the Date note and invitations. Being a guest at a wedding overseas without detailed information is like navigating the London Underground blindfolded. Ideally, you’ll create a welcome guide and wedding website, and provide email updates. Beyond the basics of your wedding (location, timings, menu choices), let people know how to get the best out of their time in the country. In the FAQs section, detail the transportation, activities, some phrases in the local language and practical healthcare tips.

Welcoming touches

Your guests will have just travelled a long distance, by plane, boat or car, so give them a warm welcome. They can be greeted with some light bites accompanied by herbal tea, or perhaps a special cocktail made with local ingredients. Leave a handwritten welcome note in their room and a bag of gifts relating to the destination.

plan some Guest activities

Your guests are going to be treating your special day like a holiday, so send them a list of activities that they may want to book prior to their departure. The venue manager or wedding planner can let you know what’s available at your destination. Consider making memories in between the celebrations by planning some special activities and perhaps excursions. Guests will also enjoy having free time, though, to spend as they wish, relaxing or doing their own exploring, so they feel they’ve had a chance to experience the destination.

Spend time with your guests

The whole point of a destination wedding is to spend time with your guests, so make the most of your time together. Your welcome party can be an actual party, where the bride and groom let loose and have fun with their guests. Why not ask the photographer to come along and capture candid shots as you all relax together, and then create a personalised album for each guest?

Why Poland?

Certain destinations for weddings in the tropics and Mediterranean have become popular – which means they’re not quite so special and original. But you may be eager to visit a destination that’s new to you, to experience somewhere unique that most of your friends have never thought of. A wedding in Poland? Why not?!

Poland is a beautiful country, with mountains in the south and lakes and the sea in the north, and many wonderful historic sites to visit. For many foreigners Polish food is a big hit, especially bigos (sour hunter’s stew), pierogi (Polish dumplings), gołąbki (cabbage rolls), żurek (sour rye meal mash soup) and kiełbasa (Polish sausage).

When you come to Poland for a wedding, you get a feel for the culture, from the specialities on the menu to the music on the dance floor. You could also incorporate Polish wedding customs in your celebration. On arriving at the reception party, the newlyweds are greeted by their parents with a huge loaf of bread, salt and two vodka shots. This represents a wish that the couple will always have sustenance in their life together.

Why Manowce?

Couples heading for Poland as their wedding destination can choose from lots of venues of various types and locations. But one in particular stands out as a little haven of seclusion and beauty.

Manowce Palace is a historic property uniquely located in northwestern Poland, in vast woods and right on the shore of a large lagoon next to the Baltic Sea. It lies very close to the Polish-German border, where Berlin is the closest large city.

With its elegant architecture, stunning interiors and scenic location, Manowce is a wonderful venue for wedding ceremonies and receptions. Built at the very beginning of the 20th century, the palace has recently been restored so that it remains loyal to the vision of grandeur upon which it was founded as a luxurious rural retreat.

More from the blog

Discover our Venues

Refine your wedding venue search by location, capacity, type, and style.

Visit Venue Finder

Be Inspired

Planning advice, real wedding edits, and venue showcases to inspire you.

View Blog

Suppliers We Love

From photographers to bridal fashion and styling, find the best wedding suppliers right here.

View Suppliers