Four tips for the destination wedding bride:
1. Plan ahead. Give yourself at least one year to organize your wedding. This means not just you and your entourage and family, but your guests as well. Send out “mark the date” notices long before official invites, and request your guests to confirm attendance early so you can settle budget, expenses and accommodations. It’s crucial to note that marrying abroad means you will be subject to the destination country’s currency fluctuations vs. the Philippine peso, so it’s best to save up ahead in the currency of the country you will be in if you have a chance to get low exchange rates while in the planning phase.
2. Learn about the wedding quirks and nuances of your destination of choice. France and Spain require proof of a 40-day residency. An NBI clearance is among the documents you have to submit if you want to get married in China. And if you had a previous marriage that’s been annulled, you’d still have to wait a year if you want to tie the knot in Italy. Besides reading up on the country and its culture, actual visits are the best way to learn about your selected destination. When faced with challenges and doubts during the preparation stage, the trips will also serve to remind you of why you chose it in the first place.
3. Find out what’s best to source from here – and there – so you can make practical decisions. This varies for every bride. Pam’s wedding dress was from Manila, but the food and drink, flowers, souvenirs, and the services of musicians, flower arranger, and photographer were all sourced in Italy. You’ll have to do some research and pencil-pushing for this, to compare the prices of sourcing it there or shipping it from Manila. Incidentally, Pam’s original wedding souvenir was wine from the castle, but a friend advised against it as her guests might have security issues at the airport when traveling back. Artisan chocolates were a safer alternative, easier to pack and consume.
4. Be clear on what expenses you will cover. You can invite whom you want but you’re not expected to pay for everyone’s airfare. You may have to shoulder the expenses of your parents, grandparents, and children, if any. If you’re close, be frank and ask siblings and friends to take care of their tickets in lieu of a wedding present. The practice with other nationalities during a destination wedding is that they do not even have to pay for the accommodations of the guests, but since we are Filipino, we usually do a compromise.