Truth be told, 2021 is gearing up to look quite similar to 2020 with regard to style of weddings and trends. What was once “the norm” in terms of guest count, typical wedding venues, weekend events and much more has changed quite significantly, and we predict that this year is going to be much of the same from what we have been experiencing since the start of the pandemic.
We know that the past year had its challenges, and we are all still feeling the difference in our everyday lives. We have all had to compromise on various things and make changes that we truly did not want to make. But the reality is that we are living in a very different time, and we need to continue to be as careful as possible and well informed.
As such, we decided to reach out to our colleagues and clients within the wedding industry to get their expert advice on how they think that couples should approach planning a destination wedding during this time. It’s important to note that every country is different, and that each will have its own regulations in place to protect its citizens.
So, if you’re in the process of planning your destination wedding in the Caribbean or Mexico for 2021/2022, here are a few tips that you should definitely jot down and keep in mind:
1. Research the destination’s COVID-19 situation
As destination wedding photographer Mario Nixon Photography recommends,
- “First make sure the destination is accessible and open to International Traffic. If open, find out what, if any travel requirements are there. Many places require a negative Covid-19 test before allowing travel. The Bahamas for example Requires a Negative Covid PCR test and a Health Visa approval prior to travel. A rapid Antigen test is required 5 days after arrival along with a response to a short survey daily.
- Check to see what case numbers are like and if the location currently has it under control? Ask yourself, are you comfortable with visiting?
- Check hotel and boarding options. Some hotels are still closed. Many vacation homes however are opened.
- Check Covid-19 specific regulations that would affect movement and events once at the Destination. For example, are there lockdowns, curfews or crowd size restrictions?
- Once you decide on a place to stay, find out what their specific Covid-19 Protocols are in terms of property admission and sanitization.
- Contact wedding vendors and ask them what their Covid-19 Protocols are. If staying at a hotel find out if those wedding vendors are permitted on property. Many larg hotels have a Covid-19 admission process for wedding vendors to enter property and service guests.”
2. Prepare a contingency plan for rescheduling the wedding beforehand
It’s so important to “confirm with all vendors booked that they be willing to transfer the payments made to a new date within the next year so that if it becomes clear you must reschedule, this can be done easily. Unfortunately, destination clients do not have the luxury of making a decision at the last minute, as the logistics of the guests must also be considered. I am currently advising destination clients whose weddings are within the next 6 months to reschedule to a later date because less time than that would not be enough for guests to make travel, childcare and work arrangements” explains Destination Wedding Planner Leigh from Events by Leigh.
“Keep your ideal wedding in mind, but also have a contingency plan in place. For eg. If you do decide to confirm bookings with vendors, be clear on the cancellation/refund/change of date policy of the vendor” says Destination Wedding Planner TCJ Events.
3. Stay focused on what matters most
With so much uncertainty looming this year, Destination Wedding Planner TCJ Events recommends that, “on the days when the planning process seems frustrating, stay focused on the most important thing – your love for each other and your marriage. With this at the back of your mind at all times, you will be guided to make the right decision given the circumstances.” We truly could not agree more with this point.
READ MORE: Expert Advice For Destination Wedding Couples During Covid-19 by Lifetime Events by Jacqueline
4. Secure Your Wedding Date Soon
“I think if couples are planning their weddings for the New year, they need to secure dates as soon as possible. Locations are booking up, and crazily because of the back log of events happening. With most of my clients at this point I have a plan A, B and C. It is having options for three tiers of the event. Depending on what happens with the virus, and what the location will allow” mentions Destination Wedding Planner Jenn from Epic Presentations.
5. Hire a professional & experienced Destination Wedding Planner
Planning a simple wedding at home with your loved ones is one thing, but when it comes to destination wedding planning, we cannot stress the importance of hiring a professional wedding planner.
As Destination Wedding Planner Paulette Davis of Amour Affairs says, “you must ensure that your planner and your chosen venue has flexibility and will adjust dates as needed and best as they can as Covid-19 matters are still very fluid. Make sure that your planner is careful to adhere to requirements so there are no issues that reflect back on the couple or their guests, and be sure your planner is seasoned and thoughtful about the clients needs especially at this time, and in touch with what is happening in their respective areas.”
6. Help your Wedding Professionals Out
Right now things are quite overwhelming for both wedding professionals and couples. So take a deep breath, put pen to paper and jot down all of the essentials that you would like for your destination wedding. Ensure to include the “must have” photographs, bridal party requests, care packages for your guests and of course a plan B, C and D just in case things need to change due to Covid-19 restrictions. As Destination Wedding Photographer WeddingDayStory Photography explains,
- “Before contacting a photography agency or so, please have your wedding venue/location/resort (including country) and date first. This is basic information to ask for a quote.
- Be advised of every country’s flying restrictions and venue’s preventive measures. Complying with these will give you leverage to carry on with your planning.
- Determine the events during the wedding itinerary that will you like to get covered (getting ready, first looks, bridal party sessions, cocktail hour, rehearsal dinner, etc.).
- Book your services in advance; it will give you great peace of mind!
- Try to make a list or an Excel sheet to keep all your event providers in hand, this will also help you check the services you have already booked/paid or so.”