Are you thinking of planning a Destination Wedding?  Saratoga Springs NY is a wonderful location to host a Destination Wedding. To help you plan the perfect event, we compiled some practical considerations to help you plan a wedding in a stress-free manner.

1. Visit before the wedding

Barn set up for wedding with white chairs

We highly recommend you visit the area where you are planning your destination wedding at least once.  If you can visit several more times, even better.  Meeting with your vendors in person during the planning process can make communicating your needs and preferences much easier than attempting to do it all via text message or email. It will also help you feel more comfortable if you get to know the area a little.

During your visits, make sure to check out the local restaurants and businesses--you can then let your guests know where to eat and shop. If you can’t visit more than once, it helps to arrive 5 to 7 days ahead of your wedding so you can take care of final details, do your hair and makeup trial, and relax a bit before the big day. Perhaps you would like to book a visit to one of our local spas for a massage and some pampering before your wedding.

2. Timing is everything

Since many popular destination wedding locations are also popular tourist destinations, you should find out ahead of time when the peak tourist season is. During peak tourist season, rates for everything are naturally higher. In addition, it may be more difficult to book room blocks during the most popular weeks.  Hotels will need to be reserved well in advance for you and your out of area guests--sometimes by as much as a year ahead of time. Also keep in mind that on the off season for any destination location the weather might not be ideal.   

In addition to racing season in Saratoga Springs, did you know that Skidmore College Graduation Weekend makes getting a hotel room virtually impossible?  Know the peak dates and plan well in advance to avoid unnecessary stress.

3. Research local marriage requirements

Saratoga Wedding Officiant Reverend Joy Burke recommends that you investigate local marriage license requirements well in advance of your event. Requirements for a legal marriage vary from country to country--even state to state. Some countries have a residency requirement. In England that requirement is seven days; France has a 40 day requirement. If you want your marriage to be legal, you cannot omit this step. Calling City Hall is a great first step in the planning process.

4. Use local wedding vendors

Flowers and champagne set up at Mansion Inn in SaratogaWe have a great community of fantastic professional wedding vendors who rival vendors in any major city, so please consider using them for most, if not all, of your services.  While you may be tempted to bring someone in from your home state for entertainment, photography, etc., it may not be the most cost or quality effective decision. Our local vendors are used to working in our venues. The bands/DJs know what equipment they need to bring to specific venues to get the best quality sound for your entertainment. Likewise, our local photographers know all the best locations/times of day to ensure beautiful photos. And bringing in out of town vendors will require expensive travel fees on your end.

5. Take good care of your guests

Discover Saratoga Ultimate Map with Saratoga Water bottle and gold key chainWhen planning your destination wedding, be sure to consider your guests. In addition to providing cute welcome bags, this involves booking room blocks and group rates at hotels. Inviting all of the out of town guests to the rehearsal dinner and day after brunch is thoughtful and considerate. Consider planning a fun group activity such as bowling or a dinner cruise as an "icebreaker" for your guests. 

You may also want to provide a shuttle to and from your venue so people do not need to drive around in an unfamiliar area.  It is also a good idea to put together a simple little guide with your recommendations for local restaurants and salons/spas, as well as other local businesses.  It will help them really enjoy their time in a special location.

6. Money matters

Weddings can be expensive in general, but sometimes destination weddings can really add up. Be sure you factor in possible extra/hidden expenses and ask lots of questions so you are not surprised when you get the bill. Some venues charge additional fees for setting up the ceremony area or reception site. Other things to consider are hidden taxes and gratuities, pressing or steaming your dress/suit, and transportation for guests, to name a few. Make sure you get everything in writing before the event.

7. Choose appropriate attire

Couple outside on wedding day during the winter with fur coatCarefully consider your wedding destination when choosing your attire. If you are getting married in a humid, tropical location, you will want lightweight, breathable fabrics. If you are hosting a winter wedding, you might want to have heavier fabrics in addition to appropriate outerwear for outdoor photos. I always suggest to my brides that they invest in a good pair of snow boots if they are getting married in the winter.

Planning ahead for these considerations will make your wedding day as stress free as possible regardless of where you choose to tie the knot—but we hope you choose Saratoga Springs, of course.

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