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First Steps for Planning Your Destination Wedding

White three tier wedding cake with purple roses at Rosen Bella Vista, a Rosen Venue

Flowers and chocolate may be the most typical Valentine’s Day gifts but it turns out engagement rings are pretty popular too. According to Wedding Wire, over 40% of engagements occur between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day which is why this timeframe is known as engagement season. If you and your partner are part of the 40% that have recently leveled up from baes to fiancés, congratulations! After the initial rush of being newly engaged wears off, you may find yourself wondering how to begin planning a wedding, let alone a destination wedding. Whether you are planning a wedding 5 miles away or 500 miles away, it all begins with these first steps.

Figure Out Your Budget

First things first: you need to set a wedding budget. It isn’t the most fun part of wedding planning, but it is the most important. Sit down with your parents, your partner, or anyone else who may be helping fund the festivities and get ready to do some grown up arithmetic. Remember that having a destination wedding on a budget is entirely possible – it just takes some clever planning and flexibility.

Research Destinations for Your Wedding

Once you’ve crunched those numbers, it’s time to move on to the fun stuff. As you research potential locations, consider the cost, ease of access, lodging, and entertainment available for your guests in each destination. Some destinations, like Orlando, are more popular than others, thanks to a unique combination of those qualities. In fact, Orlando was named by WalletHub as the number one wedding destination in the United States in 2016.

Choose Your Wedding Style

After you and your partner have agreed on a destination, it’s time to think about your wedding style. This includes wedding colors, flowers, favors, food, and more. Before you get lost among the Pinterest boards, consider what is special to you as a couple. You can also look to your chosen destination for ideas. If you are planning a wedding in Orlando, you might be inspired by the tropical climate or by the fairytale fun at the theme parks.

Inspiration is everywhere, so keep track of your ideas either online or in an old-school wedding folder. You’ll come back to it many times during the planning process.

Create a Preliminary Guest List and Wedding Party

The next step is create a preliminary guest list. This will help you narrow down potential venues. As you build your list, keep in mind that due to the coordination and commitment required for a destination wedding, not all of your guests will be able to attend. In general, destination weddings are more intimate, valuing quality over quantity.

As you create your preliminary guest list, you can also select your wedding party. You won’t need to notify them until you have set a date – for now, this list is just for planning purposes. Like your wedding inspiration folder, you’ll come back to your guest list and wedding party list many times, so keep it handy.

Select a Venue and Wedding Hotel

All of your planning thus far will help you narrow down your venue choices; in fact, you may already have your eye on a venue you spotted during your destination research phase. If you are planning an outdoor wedding, it’s wise to choose a venue that has a back-up option available in case of inclement weather.

In addition, you’ll need to choose a hotel for your destination wedding (preferably near the venue). Or, you can check two tasks off your list by hosting your wedding at a hotel. This is especially wise if the majority of your wedding party and guests won’t be renting a car. Either way, remember to reserve a block of rooms at the hotel for your guests.

Set a Date

Soon you’ll finally have an answer when people ask you, “When’s the wedding?” Your wedding date will likely be determined by the availability at your venue, so remember to be flexible. If you do have a choice, remember to prioritize what’s most important to you. If your heart is set on a certain date, go for it; if budget takes precedence, consider an off-season wedding.

Build a Wedding Website and Spread the Word

Now that you’ve got a wedding date, it’s time to let your guests know about your nuptials. First, reach out to your wedding party and confirm that they will be able to make it. Next, get ready to build your wedding website. Your website will be your main point of communication with your guests and should include directions, things to do in the area, and links to the hotel reservations website. You can also set it up so that guests can RSVP via your website. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a tech wizard – you can build a free wedding website on The Knot without having to write a single line of code. Once your website is finished, share it with your guests by including the URL in your Save the Date.

Destination Weddings at Bella Vista, a Rosen Venue

If you have chosen Orlando as your wedding destination, consider planning your wedding at Bella Vista, a Rosen Venue. We have a lakeside pavilion, ideal for intimate ceremonies, as well as a beautiful ballroom that can accommodate larger parties. We also offer an option to reserve room blocks at Rosen Inn Lake Buena Vista so you and your wedding party can stay on property. To learn more, visit the Rosen Bella Vista website or call (407) 996-7344 to speak directly with our catering sales manager.

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Orlando, Florida 32836

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