What You Need To Know When Planning A Destination Elopement or Micro Wedding in 2021

So, you’re thinking about planning a destination elopement or micro wedding in 2021.

Because you’ve decided you’re not waiting, you want to get married now.

But, you still want to go somewhere.

Somewhere beautiful. Somewhere that isn’t your home or hometown. Because well, you’re tried of being where you are.

You want to get married somewhere that will take you traveling. Which is something you dearly miss.

But, you know COVID is still here. You know there are restrictions and travel and wedding guidelines that you need to keep in mind for safety.

But, we’re also now in 2021.

And the landscape has changed. The virus has changed. And both travel and weddings have changed.

So, here are 5 things you need to know to plan a destination elopement or micro wedding in 2021.

5 Things To Know If You’re Planning a Destination Elopement or Micro Wedding in 2021

Bride and groom enjoy a moment and kiss at their Hawaii beach wedding by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events
(Photo credit: What a Day! Photography)

#1 – New location requirements

As with all things with COVID, a lot can change. And a lot can change quickly.

When it comes to destination locations, we’re not just talking about local rates in the area, but also what’s happening outside their borders (like variants).

And it’s not just the particular city or area you’re planning on having the wedding at, but the county, the state and the country too.

Because we’re all connected, especially with travel.

So the situation both in and outside a destination location will affect that location’s rules and whether they’re accepting tourists (or not).

It will affect how they’re accepting tourists and what’s required of tourists whether that’s testing or quarantining (or both or none).

And then to go one step further, there are also the details of what’s required of you. For example, how you get tested, where you get tested from, what kind of tests are accepted, when you need to show or upload your results, etc…

And every location is going to be different.

And every location’s requirements will change, perhaps many times. Perhaps very quickly.

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:

So, what does this mean? It means you have to stay on top of your destination location’s COVID rules, info and travel requirements.

Sign up with the most reliable news source for the area to receive local updates. That way you’re always getting the latest info.

But, it also means you need to be flexible.

Because if something changes you’re going to have to change with it too. Whether that’s a month or two before your wedding, a week before your wedding or a day before your wedding.

Bride and groom kiss at a military mountain wedding in Tahoe by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events
(Photo credit: Anita Martin Photography)

#2 – International Travel

Domestic locations have their requirements specific to each area, but if you’re planning on travelling internationally, that makes it even trickier.

Because you’re also dealing with 2 different countries’ requirements.

Case in point, the most recent change to international travelers coming into the US. A negative test is now required prior to boarding for any person arriving from another country.

Which means you will have to figure out how to get a test in a foreign country.

And as we all know, getting a test isn’t always easy. And getting a test within a certain timeframe makes it even harder.

But, it’s not just the US (or wherever you call home) and their requirements, it’s also the other country’s requirements you have to worry about.

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:

If you’re planning on going international with your destination elopement or micro wedding, make sure you strategically pick a location whose requirements (to and from) you can handle.

Because some places are making it easy to get a test for tourists and others are not.

Choose a destination location that is actively working to make it easy and simultaneously safe to travel.

This is also a good time to consider using a travel agent who can help you manage the situation and adjust all your reservations if needed.

In addition, it’s also a really good time to hire a destination wedding planner who can help you navigate all the wedding plans and changes as needed.

#3 – Vaccine requirements

With the vaccine here and it getting rolled out to countries all over the world, at some point, a vaccine requirement may be put into place.

It’s just in the beginning stages of being discussed, but I can certainly see it happening.

Where you’re only allowed to travel somewhere (or travel easily somewhere) if you’ve had a vaccination.

Similarly, I can also see a vaccination being required in the future for weddings and events.

Not in the exact same official way that it would be for travel, but where venues, resorts and even vendors could require it from couples and their guests in order to be a part of the wedding.

So, in 2021 and beyond, I think that proof of vaccination is going to be key.

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:

Get yourself vaccinated! It doesn’t matter which vaccine you get, just make sure you get one when you’re eligible.

Because it will help protect you and others.

And it will also help make your travel and wedding plans that much easier.

So, it also doesn’t hurt to consider scheduling your destination elopement or micro wedding for after the timeframe when you think you’ll be vaccinated.

It will certainly put you more at ease when traveling.

Newlyweds jumping for joy at their Caribbean destination wedding in Anguilla by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events
(Photo credit: Savanah Loftus)

#4 – Flight changes

Part of choosing where and when to have your destination elopement or micro wedding will be decided by the first 3 items we talk about.

But it’s not just the place or places that will factor into your decision. It’s also the airlines.

It’s no secret that airlines are struggling. People aren’t traveling, for good reason, but that affects these businesses.

And in turn, their staff, their routes and their available flights.

Which means the airline or route you would have normally taken is no longer an option. Or the flights might be more limited now. Or maybe there is no longer a direct flight.

These flight changes are going to continue as airlines and the travel industry figures out how best to survive during these challenging times.

But also with more vaccination means there will be more desire for travel.

Not as much as pre-COVID times, but still a strong desire for travel which will also affect pricing and availability.

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:

Do some research and try to pick a major airline with a direct flight. Or if you’re between a few locations, choose the one that has flights from your location with the least amount of stops.

Because the less stopovers, airports and interaction you have to have, the better.

In addition, the shorter the flight, the better as well. So even though you’re traveling, make it a short flight to help reduce the risk.

And if you’re ready to book, it doesn’t hurt to book your flight while prices are still low before summer vacations and fall trips start becoming a thing.

Airplane wing flying over mountains for a wedding by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events

#5 – Vendor options

Once you’ve chosen a location based on all of the above, then you need to start actually planning the wedding.

But like the travel industry, the wedding industry is also struggling.

Wedding venues and vendors are going out of business. Some because of family situations or health concerns and others because of lack of income.

But it’s not just wedding vendors.

Hotels, resorts and other travel industry operators that are a big part of destination weddings are also going out of business.

In some cases they’re shutting down operations in certain areas or they’re just on hold for the foreseeable future.

What this means is that the team you need to help make your wedding happen may look a little different.

Or operate a little different.

Options will be more limited. Some vendors will only be working part time. Some vendors might be fully booked. Pricing might be higher or in some cases, lower.

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:

Book solid professionals that have staying power and who have great customer service. Because even in the unlikely event that something were to happen, you know they’d take care of you.

And move quickly.

With availability shifting, if you know you like someone, book them before you lose them.

And once again, hire a wedding planner! They will help guide you through the constantly shifting landscape that is the wedding industry right now.

There is a lot to think about when it comes to your destination elopement or micro wedding.

And COVID has made it that much harder.

And 2021 will be different than 2020. So, make sure you plan with these 5 things in mind so that even through you’re traveling, you’re doing it safely and thoughtfully.

For additional guidelines to help keep you, your guests and the world safe, please check out a recent blog we wrote with some destination wedding guidelines.

And if you’re looking for help with your destination elopement wedding or micro wedding, you can contact us here. We’d love to help you!

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