10 Tips for Having a Destination Wedding

You got engaged and you are thinking of getting married abroad, which is how you ended up reading this blog post? Congratulations! I assume you already have a destination in mind? I got married in the Algarve, Portugal in June 2017 and now I’m sharing my top tips/things to consider when choosing a destination wedding.

  1. The Weather

Algarve Wedding

Once you pick your destination you need to decide on the best time to get married there. When we picked Portugal we knew we wanted a summer wedding hence why we chose June. The weather can however be very tricky. Few days leading up to the wedding the weather was perfect 25-27 degrees & the morning of the wedding I woke up to 42 degrees! Safe to say, we were very lucky we had a pool at our venue as the guests jumped in right after dinner.

Consider things like monsoon season, peak season (if you have few elderly guests the excessive heat might be an issue).

  1. Cost/Budget

You need to have your budget in mind at all times. Just because it’s abroad and countries like Spain/Portugal/Canary Islands tend to be cheaper in general it’s very easy to go over budget as you think you can afford more and start adding extras left, right and center. I’d strongly advise to keep some funds towards the end for “unexpected expenses”.

Another thing to consider is whether the main guests you are inviting can afford to travel abroad and also if there are any elderly members of the family who are unable to travel due to age, medical reasons etc. Do you really want them to miss out on your big day?

  1. Hire a Wedding Planner

Wedding Planner

This is an absolute must, unless you know the place like the back of your hand. When you start organising a wedding only then you will realise how much detail actually goes into planning and what’s involved. While the wedding planner or the event coordinator at your venue might have excellent English that might not be the case with all the suppliers and that’s something that needs to be taken into account. Having a local onsite really puts your mind at ease.

  1. Visit The Venue

Infante Panoramico Restaurant

Once you pick a destination, date and a wedding planner you will need to decide on a venue. When getting married abroad you have a general idea of what you’d like i.e. beach wedding, boho wedding, BBQ etc. Your wedding planner will then do her research and present you with options that will potentially suit your needs. It is imperative that you will go and visit the venue before you book it. Unless you have 100% trust in your wedding planner and in human beings in general I would not book a venue blindly. My planner did tell me about couple of her clients that booked venues based solely on  the photographs, however it is the biggest day of your life – Do you really want to be disappointed?

  1. Buy Insurance

This is something we personally didn’t do, however this was haunting me until the day we physically landed in Portugal. What if something went wrong? What if our plane was cancelled? What if the airline damaged my dress? What if the venue went bankrupt? What if you get pregnant and are unable to fly? (I also heard of a couple this happened to).

It is the vital part of a destination wedding and something 100% worth looking at regardless of the cost.

  1. Save The Dates

Save The Date Fridge Magnet

Once you picked the venue and the date you should immediately send out your save the dates. We have sent out our save the dates 9 months beforehand (if not more) and guests were able to book their flights according to their budget. Giving your guests plenty of notice will mean they will not double book the date and gives them flexibility and time to save.

  1. Written Communication

Every bit of communication between you and wedding planner or suppliers or anyone providing you with a service must have a written paper trail you can go back on if needed. You will be surprised how many things can be omitted, forgotten about or just go wrong. This is especially important when it comes to service quotes, contracts and agreements. I’d strongly advise to discuss the important parts via email rather than phone or Skype.

  1. Culture

Cultural differences can play a big part on your choice of destination. While it’s great to have a funny, young waiter at the bar you’re drinking at in Torremolinos do you really want him to slack at the service during your wedding? One thing I can say about people in Portugal is they are very relaxed – Too relaxed for my liking. They have a very relaxed approach at life and nothing is urgent with them. That’s what frustrated me the most, for you – the bride it’s the most important day of your life, you don’t want to hear “I’ll do it when I have time”. It’s your day and you are paying for the service, therefore things should be done in a timely manner.

  1. Food

The next step during wedding planning is choosing your menu. Now, I am not going to lie – I made up completely my own menu and luckily the restaurant agreed to cater to it as Polish & Irish Weddings are quite different. Menu Tasting is very important as you want to ensure it will suit majority if not everyone’s taste therefore it needs to be quite simple yet elegant.

You don’t want people to leave hungry (and then get drunk on an empty stomach).

  1. The Dress

Bride in Wedding Dress

And finally, the most prized possession. The dress! How to transport the dress abroad? My advice is – whatever you do, do not let it leave your sight! All jokes aside, you can purchase what’s called a Wedding Dress Box – I bought mine on EBay for approximately €30.00. Majority of them come in the approved cabin luggage size and with a protective tissue paper (read the product description before purchase to ensure they are the correct size). Upon your last fitting ask the seamstress to fold it in a right way and place it in the box for you to avoid creases.

Also, very important – when choosing dress for wedding abroad make sure it is weather appropriate! You do not want to faint at your own wedding!

TIP: When you arrive to the hotel where possible hang the dress up immediately and keep in plastic, as hot destinations attract insects which can damage the dress.

 

If you have any more questions wedding related that I have not discussed above, feel free to contact me or leave a comment below!

Joanna

 

DUBAI Part 2: Everything You Need To Do in Dubai

Welcome to Dubai Blog Part Two!

In this post I will list everything you MUST do or see while you are in Dubai and there’s a LOT. So without further ado:

  1. Desert Experience: Majority of hotels will have a concierge service that will be able to assist you with organizing desert trips. Be that a Safari, Quad Bikes or Camel Rides. Our hotel used a company called Desert Gate and we booked a Desert Safari. What the Desert Safari offered was: 1 hour dune bashing in a 4×4; sunset at the desert; camel ride; traditional Arabic dinner served buffet style in a desert camp; flavored shisha; henna tattoos; belly-dancing show and traditional Tanoura Dance show; traditional Arabic outfits and sand boarding. Desert Safari cost 280AED which is roughly €65.00 (per person) and it lasts from 4pm until almost 10pm.
  2. Atlantis Hotel: Trip to the Atlantis the Palm is an experience in itself. To find out more you can view my first post here. The Atlantis offers: The Lost Chambers Aquarium; Aquaventure Water Park; Dolphin Bay; SeaLion Point; Scuba diving. We have only done the Lost Chamber Aquarium which was unbelievable. Admission is 110AED which is approximately €25.00 per person. There were sharks, piranhas, stingrays and a what feels like million other creatures I’m unable to name. For anyone looking to visit the Atlantis please note, you will not be able to gain admission to the hotel or its beach unless you are a resident.
  3. Burj Khalifa: Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world with a panoramic view of the city reaching 160 floors. There are 2 different ticket types: Floor 124 & 125 and Burj Khalifa Sky Floor 148. Floor 148 is the highest floor public can reach and within the ticket price you will receive complimentary refreshments. Floor 124 & 125 give you an inside & outside view of the city and Dubai Mall especially. We purchased our tickets via Groupon – read about it here, therefore I will not be able to comment on current admission prices, however I have linked their official website here.  Dubai Fountains From Burj Khalifa
  4. Dubai Mall: Largest Mall in the world – to this day we have never left through the same door we entered and still haven’t seen it all! Dubai Mall has shops literally from all around the world, so if you are a fan of shopping in the US you will love it here. They have places such as: Cheesecake Factory; Victoria’s Secret – your head will spin! They also have an Underwater Zoo, Aquarium and an indoor Waterfall. You can get Free Admission to Underwater Zoo & Aquarium if you purchase the 48 hour City Sightseeing Bus Ticket. In Dubai Mall you will also see the Fountain Show which is Free and it runs every 25 minutes from 6pm onward daily – make sure you get a good spot to watch it. Dubai Fountain Show
  5. Dubai Museum: For those who like a little culture this is a super cute museum of history of Dubai pre-glam. It’s tiny, if this is the sole reason you’d go toward the old town I wouldn’t “bother” as walking through it will take you less than 10 minutes. You will receive a Free admission to this museum with a 24 hour City Sightseeing Bus Ticket.
  6. Souks: Old, Gold, Spice, Textile, Perfume. The local markets are in the old Dubai called Deira. You will be able to bargain with the locals for cashmere scarves, gold jewelry or even souvenirs. Even if you are not intending on shopping I’d strongly recommend to see it, as it really portraits of what life is like for the working class. Textile Souk
  7. Jumeirah Mosque: This mosque was opened to public by the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum from Saturday – Thursday at 10.00am daily. You will need to arrive at least 15 minutes earlier, as late admission is not available. Modest clothing is required especially for women. The tour costs symbolic 20AED – approximately €5.00 per person and it includes refreshments and local delicacy – Dates.
  8. Burj Al Arab: The self-rated 7 Star Hotel is not accessible by public unless you have a reservation for either the restaurant or a bedroom. The hotel has it’s own private bridge with security at the front – you will not be able to get anywhere in close proximity of the hotel. If you would like to have a photo with the hotel in the background, take the stop called “Open Beach Umm Suqeim” (one stop before the Burj Al Arab) on the City SightSeeing Bus Tour. Burj Al Arab
  9. Souk Medinat Jumeirah: One of the luxurious Souks next to Burj al Arab (one stop after The Hotel on the bus tour). It almost gives you a feeling of being in Venice. There is a little lake/canal outside in which people ride on little boats. The stalls inside are luxurious and quite impressive. Visiting this particular Souk is an experience in itself and you get a nice view of the hotel in the distance.
  10. Mall of The Emirates: Second biggest mall in Dubai with a ski slope inside. You can watch children and adults learn skiing and having fun in what can only be described as a winter wonderland. This mall does request a modest clothing for women i.e. cover your shoulders.
  11. Dubai Marina & The Beach Jumeirah: Dubai Marina offers a promenade walk with impressive views of the business side of the city. It’s within 10 minutes walk from the beach where you can rent out kayaks or do a sky dive.
  12. Wild Wadi Waterpark: A huge water park right next door to Burj Al Arab. For those who are persistent, perhaps you will get a better view of the hotel climbing on one of the rides in there.
  13. Times Square Ice Bar: Unfortunately we didn’t make it there as we ran out of time, however this is supposed to be a great experience especially during summer months. You get large puffy coats to keep you warm and as the name suggests everything is made from ice.

That sums up everything I’d recommend, have done or have been recommended to do in Dubai. One thing I regret not doing is the Sky Dive over the Palm, as I heard the view of the Palm is incredible from above (obviously) but I just chickened out. Next time (hopefully).

I’d love to hear if you have done any of the above and what your experience were or if I have missed something so I can note it for my next trip!

Joanna x

DUBAI: Everything You Need to Know Before You Travel to Dubai – Part 1

Hello Jetsetters,

As promised I am back on active blog duty and you can expect a post every Sunday and Thursday. Before we had set off on our honeymoon I have asked the blogging community for any Dubai posts so I could jot down some ideas on where to go, what to do & what to expect and to be quite honest I was a little disappointed in what I seen. Now, I am not here to judge anyone’s work, however all posts that I saw were “what we did and how we did it and where we stayed” – it wasn’t informational enough on basic things hence why I am writing this post. Posts must be generic and apply to public so everyone can use this information.

I Love Dubai

In this part of the blog I will (hopefully) give you detailed information on what do you need to do and how to prepare yourself before you even set foot in Dubai. Ready? Let’s go!

  1. Currency

In the UAE* the currency is AED** €1.00 = 4AED (Approximately).

For the whole duration of our trip we used our cards for paying for most things. We have taken out 1000AED (approximately €250.00) only once to have cash handy for paying for things such as taxis, small refreshments in the shops, markets etc.

Keep Reading