Look, I’ve never been a wedding girlie. I just wasn’t that person who dreamt about her “special day,” or cried when I tried on my dress, or had some immaculate Pinterest board of my vision.
Why Get Married in Nicaragua, or Anywhere Abroad for that Matter?
The only thing I knew I wanted for my wedding was that it needed to be at our retreat center in Nicaragua, Still Salty Escape. Honestly, I was okay holding it on the property before there was even one damn building on site. I was thinking it could be, like, a camping wedding. Peeing on the ground, and barefoot and fancy free, ya know?
Yeah, my wife killed that idea real quick. And instead we decided to build an entire resort to host our friends and family. But that whole building process in a foreign country thing is really a different story for another day.
I knew I wanted to get married here, because this is where we met. This is where we fell in love. And this is where our life is (we live here about half of the year). We wanted to celebrate our LIFE, as well as our union. And we wanted to bring the people we loved most together INTO our life, by bringing them here.
There are other reasons for a destination wedding, too, of course.
Depending on your country of origin, a destination wedding might be even CHEAPER than wherever you’re from. I know this is certainly true of Nicaragua and the United States.
Also, yes, if you’re wondering we do rent out our place as a wedding venue all the time. So feel free to inquire if you’re inspired.
It’s Meaningful to Your Relationship
This was the case for my wife and I. Like I said, we met in Nicaragua. This is where we fell in love, and this where we bought land together, and decided to start a life together. I know there’s TONS of couples who have a special place, just like we do.
I’d say this is ideal if you’re looking for an intimate wedding, as asking hundreds of people to fly around the world isn’t exactly feasible. So, if you’re looking for a smaller wedding, then destination is a great choice!
Let’s be real, we don’t want it to rain on our wedding day. Depending on where you live, you might not have the most stable weather for an outdoor, or semi-outdoor, wedding. Destination wedding can solve that problems real quick.
We are definitely a travel couple, so we love a good adventure. Maybe you and your partner are too. In that case, yes, destination weddings are definitely more fun than the same ‘ole community gathering at home.
Okay, so let’s talk about do’s and don’ts for destination weddings. There’s a lot of things you’ll want to take into consideration in your planning process.
Destination Wedding Do’s and Don’ts
Hire a Wedding Planner Who Knows The Area
If you’re going down the wedding planner route, then make sure you hire one locally, or one who knows the area well. This will be super handy for booking vendors, transportation, and any other little hacks needed for you and your guests.
Budget for Travel Costs with Vendors
I mentioned above that destination weddings can be cheaper than your country of origin. This is usually true of the venue, and (sometimes) the food. However, one things to consider are other vendors like: hair and make-up, photographer, videographer, and DJ.
If your destination wedding doesn’t have these services in the area, OR if they don’t have these services up to the standards that you want- then you’ll need to fly people in from elsewhere. These tickets can add up real quick. And your “cheaper” wedding might not be cheaper after all.
Plan for Language Barriers
Where we live, locals pretty much only speak Spanish. There are some people who speak English, but they are few and far between. Luckily, we’re conversational enough to get by well.
However, I wouldn’t trust my Spanish speaking skills to describe the kind of make-up or hair I want on my big day.
This might also be true for you regarding food, music, transportation, and so on. Don’t worry, this is where a wedding planner or event manager can come into play. Again, this is why it’s so important that the person is from the area, or knows the area well.
Have Plenty of Travel Tips for Guests
Even if you and your partner are travel lovers, the reality is that travel can make a lot of people feel quite anxious! Or, at the very least- nervous.
This is why it’s so helpful to have loads of travel tips ready for your guests BEFORE they depart. We wrote up a blog post on Still Salty Escape’s website for a packing list, how to navigate customs, and Covid requirements. Then, we simply send the link to our guests before they come (with the suggestion to screenshot step-by-steps as needed).
This really helps to soothe guests’ nerves, and for them to feel as supported as possible from start to finish. That way, nerves are low, and vibes are high for your big weekend.
Goody Bags With Small, Useful Items
Look, you don’t need to do a goody back at all if that’s not your thing. All I’m saying is that if you DO, make sure you don’t put things in that might break, will be difficult to transport back, or won’t clear customs.
Stick to small, useful items that your guests can and WILL actually use during the long weekend. We loved to stick to local items, as well to showcase the culture a bit more.
Budget Your Energy
Unlike regular wedding, destination weddings are entire weekend-long events. Sometimes longer! Because people are traveling from near and far, there’s usually several DAYS of events. Beyond the wedding itself.
It’s so important to budget your own energy accordingly, so that you don’t burn out before your actual wedding day. Everyone has different energy reserves, so I can’t say for sure what your limit will be. All I’m saying is, just be mindful of it.
I hope this help your destination wedding planning process! And for all my Central American lovers out there, Nicaragua just might be calling as your dream wedding venue. I mean, c’mon, let the photos speak for themselves, right?