Destination weddings can be both wonderful and complicated. To make yours more of the latter, check out these how to plan a destination wedding tips!

I’m dreaming of a beach-side wedding, just like the ones on TLC…

Does that sound like the soundtrack to your wedding planning? You can replace beach-side with any destination you choose – like Eiffel tower side (hey, a girl can dream!)

But dreaming of and throwing destination weddings are two very different things. You can have four Pinterest boards and think you know what you’re doing to show up to your nuptials without half of what you’d planned.

Not the way you want to start out your wedding. Instead of going through all that stress (not fun) you can follow these tips. We can’t promise you won’t stress at all, but we will try to make it easier.

Learn how to plan a destination wedding that won’t cause you to pull out your hair below.

How to Plan a Destination Wedding: The Major Key

Starting off with a subtle DJ Khaled reference, let’s talk about the most important “key alert” for planning: it’s research. You can have the perfect location in mind but if you pick your date wrong, it may just be in the middle of monsoon season.

Or maybe there is a religious holiday or all the vendors are closed for a summer holiday period (looking at you, France).

Not ideal. You need to do your research on your location so eventually, you feel like you know at least 50% as much as the locals know.

Don’t want to do that much research? That’s okay. Not all of us have that much time and that kind of digging ability. If you don’t have it or don’t want to bother – check out our next point.

Hire a Local Planner

We cannot highlight this point enough. Having a wedding planner (if you can afford one) is the difference between Bridezilla and the kind of bride you want to be.

And even better than having a wedding planner? Having one that’s local to your destination. Not only can they give you the information you so desperately need about the area, but they already have relationships with vendors.

With modern technology, there’s no reason that working with a far-away wedding planner should be difficult. You can email, Skype, text, just about anything you’d do in the States.

You may even find things are better organized since you have evidence of everything they and you have said. No forgetting that you asked for this or that and vice versa. There are a lot fewer surprises with a local wedding planner who’s on the ground by your venue.

They may even let you ship supplies to their office or their home, as long as it’s not an excessive amount. Ask them first and know they may say no. Some venues will store supplies if you’re having a destination wedding they’re making money off of.

Which, bring us to point three.

Ship in Advance

Once you’ve secured a place to put your wedding supplies, favors, etc – start shipping them to where they need to go.

Overseas shipping isn’t like Amazon Prime – not at all. It’s more like two weeks than two days and that’s if you’re shipping to a modern country.

You’ll spend some good cash shipping things, so think about if you want to look for supplies when you get there. If you are certain you want to ship some goods, know that there may be customs delays.

Be very thorough with what you declare is in the box. “China” won’t be enough. You want to write “three white and gold china platters to be used for a wedding in location”.

The more specific you are, the better chance you have of avoiding customs delays and snooping. They don’t always put those boxes back together nicely when they’re done looking, so it’s worth the extra trouble.

Be Reasonable About Costs

By having a destination wedding, you are automatically crossing some of your friends and family off your guest list. Not everyone wants to travel or more likely not everyone can afford the associated costs.

Add the idea of missing work and your guest list is looking much smaller than it started out.

For those who do come, find a way to reduce their costs. Many hotels will give you group rates when it comes to hosting people for events.

For your wedding party, don’t choose $3,000 bridesmaid dresses. Either let them choose their own in your color range or try to stay under $500.

You don’t want them not standing beside you because it was either buying their dress or buying their ticket.

Welcome Them In

While you’ll be running around trying to make sure everything is perfect for your big day, your friends and family will want to explore the destination. Take half an hour to create a little booklet or printout with things to do around your hotel.

Giving them more options for things to do will keep them from being bored and meddling (or getting a little too acquainted with local spirits).

If you have the budget, buy a few Polaroid cameras and let your guests take them on the town. Now they have memories to last a lifetime.

Destination Forever

When it’s time for the big day, hopefully, you’re feeling excited about the party ahead. Today’s the day you get to marry the love of your life and be the center of your loving community.

Taking the time to plan a destination wedding well in advance is the key to lowering wedding day jitters. You’ve got this – now go walk down that aisle!