Once the choice of just a handful of couples, getting married abroad has become very much A Thing. While guests may bemoan their bank balances, this is a trend that looks here to stay. So if you're going to do it, you need to do it right.
From tropical beaches to Tuscan wineries, the sky's the limit (airborne nuptials anyone?). Pinterest boards abound with inspiration, bridal mags are bursting at the seams with intel and new trends - your mother probably also has some suggestions…
Cancelling out the noise, we did some hypothetical wedding planning with Pronovias, the luxury Spanish wedding-gown brand that inhabits the saved tabs section of every style-conscious, modern bride-to-be's Instagram account.
Sharing some seriously indispensable advice, Pronovias' CEO Amandine Ohayon is a destination wedding guru of the highest order.
The most popular wedding destinations in the world are…
Advice on choosing your wedding destination…
In my view, it should be a location that reflects the personality of the bride and groom, so when guests arrive, they think "this is very them". Most importantly, the couple should feel relaxed there - then their guests will feel the same.
Some of your favourite wedding destinations include…
The French Riviera and the Amalfi Coast, for sure.
What are your top tips for planning a destination wedding?
Look for an exciting place that you would like to remember the rest of your life. As with every wedding, planning (food, flowers, music, table settings, accommodation, etc) is important but when you are considering a destination wedding, so many of these things need more thought as they are being arranged from afar.
How much of someone's wedding can realistically be planned online?
Nowadays anything is possible - we are able to plan our whole lives online - but I think there are elements of a wedding that need to be experienced in real life to ensure the bride and groom have the day they would like. For example, food tastings are critical in my opinion.
Do you remember the first Pronovias wedding dress you fell in love with?
When I first started working for Pronovias, I tried on every single dress in the collection to understand the fit of each one, the fabrics, comfort of the structure, etc. I fell in love with so many of them for very different reasons.
What should brides be aware of in terms of their dress choice when planning a destination wedding?
You need to think about the practicality of your dress in relation to your location. Marrying in a castle in Scotland in the winter might well call for warmth (long-sleeved dresses or even a cape might be a sensible option), whereas a dress for a beach wedding might be more bohemian and floaty in style. Looking your "best" largely stems from feeling comfortable.
Great hotels to get married in…
Personally, I prefer boutique hotels versus big chain hotels.
UK countryside: Cliveden House
South of France: Cap Estel
Tuscany: Borgo Santo Pietro
South Africa: Birkenhead House, Hermanus
Things to consider before committing to a destination wedding…
Will your friends/family commit to travelling? How important is that to you? Then there's the weather to consider - wind, unforeseen rain and heat (will it be too hot?). It's worth having a backup plan just in case the weather catches you out.
Tell us about Pronovias's go-to beach wedding styles…
And what about for a winter destination wedding?
Long-sleeved dresses like Vesta or Albion, or dresses in mikado (a luxurious type of heavier silk that gives a dress more structure and has a slight shine) and crepe, like Antiope, are very popular for colder climates.
What should wedding guests consider when dressing for a destination wedding?
Be yourself but dress for the weather, the feel of the venue and the plans for the day/evening.
Advice on sourcing a wedding photographer abroad…
If you are working with a wedding planner, seek their advice and look at a few options. Research thoroughly and make sure the photographer's style is one you really like - there are so many different ways to photograph weddings and capture such a special day, it's so important to get it right.
Favourite honeymoon spots…
It's such a personal decision. On the one hand, I love to ski but I also adore the warm sunshine. I like a combination of rest and relaxation and experiencing my surroundings, taking exercise and exploring where I am.
So, my choices are varied:
Aman Le Melezin, Courchevel
Grace Hotel, Santorini
Soneva Jani, Maldives
Secret Bay, Dominica
Cotton House, Mustique
Honeymoon packing tips…
Pack for your destination - warm or cold. Take into account whether you'll be moving around a lot and if the amount of luggage you take needs to be edited down. You'll need comfy clothes to travel in. Pack toiletries in zipped bags to avoid any spillage onto special clothes.