First and foremost Congratulations! Your destination concept for your Unforgettable Day is as unique and beautiful as Mardi Gras itself.
Will there be any considerations to take into account with a destination wedding held during the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras? – Most certainly!
You and your partner should consider how you will budget for your destination wedding and manage the multiple logistics such as travel and accommodation, licenses, permits, ceremony and reception location selections and availability as well as allied supplier and vendor access and engagement.
Another consideration is for and of your wedding party attendants – should you host them in the destination city? It is common practice for the wedding party attendants to be hosted by the happy couple – however if this is not an option for your and your partner be discreet and delicate in your discussions.
If you are not partnering with a Wedding Planner from the start of the planning process (which in this instance I would highly recommend) it is a practical idea to have engaged a local ‘On-the-Day Wedding Coordinator’ to take the stress out of your wedding day. The On-the-Day Wedding Coordinator usually commences work with you about three weeks before your big day and manages the day from start to finish including cultural, legal and social imperatives, vendor and supplier cohesiveness, time-lines and run sheets as well as guest liaison. Do not forget to factor in peak-hour and event traffic road closures as well the additional traffic from all the other ‘out of ‘Towner’s’ which may cause disruption to you and your guests travel and on the day plans. Your wedding coordinator of choice should be across all these aspects and ensure your day – your way – without fuss for you and your guests.
Consider partnering with a travel agent in your home city who should be able to offer you realistic insights into available travel options to and from your destination city as well as hotel accommodation. Your hotel of choice may well have an appropriate wedding reception venue, which will save you a great deal of research. The travel agent can also assist your guests with airline and/or other travel options and accommodation bookings and depending on the size of your guest list they will try and coordinate all requests in a block booking. Ensure that these two important logistics are captured early. Make sure you also suggest to your guests that it is wise to take out travel insurance.
Set aside time well before the big day to visit Sydney, your preferred venue and your hotel options, as well as any hotels you may be recommending to your guests – its not a good idea to book a venue/hotel unseen.
Be mindful that not all your guests will be in a position to accept your invitation due to a number of factors including organising leave from work and possible financial considerations. Generally it is your guests who would pay for their own travel and accommodation to the wedding and all additional activity that is not associated with your ceremony and wedding reception. No destination, day, or time will ever be perfect for everyone. With destination weddings roughly half of your invited guests say yes. Plan accordingly and be understanding of those who cannot attend for whatever reason – consider hosting a cocktail reception in your home city for all the guests you would have loved to join you and your partner on your very special day a month or so before the actual wedding day itself.
If you have a dear family member or very special friend who for financial considerations is not in a position to accept your invitation and you believe it is imperative that they be there to help celebrate and commemorate your Unforgettable Day and your are in a financial position to do so it is appropriate for you to discreetly approach this person and offer to pay for their travel and accommodation – should they decline it is best not to press the issue further and you can make sure that they are included in the day by Face Time or Skype and through a wedding website. Your wedding website is not only for the invitees who are unable to attend – it is an excellent tool for your guests’ to link to the local city. Include information on your site about accommodation options, wedding venue locations, the wedding day plan, points of interest, and local weather along with a list of rental-car companies (if a car is necessary) as well as public transport schedules. Also include your dress-code information for the big day. Even though it should be on your wedding invitation it is a good idea to re-affirm your preferred guest attire. The wedding website can also inform and remind your guests of things they will not want to leave home without. It is a considerate and organised way to lend a helping hand while giving them a sneak peak at the events you are planning for your fabulous day and beyond.
Also try to gauge how many of your intended invitees are already planning a trip to Sydney for Mardi Gras in the year of your wedding which will assist you with the some of ‘logistic’ aspects. Send your ‘save – the – dates’ at least six months in advance to help everyone plan properly for the trip and speak directly to your invitees about your plans which will inform you early on if there are ‘issues’ for your invitee/s. Wedding invitations are then sent out approximately 6-8 weeks before your day and yes you will have to follow up with your guests re their RSVPs as not every one will return the RSVP card – always include a stamped envelope with the RSVP card as it does act as a ‘prompt’ if your preferred option for RSVPs is by mail.
Your ceremony and reception venues need to be confirmed as soon as possible and don’t stress if the first choice is not available – while the Mardi Gras is certainly one of the busiest times of the year in Sydney – it is doable. Book your celebrant or efficient well in advance. Wedding day transport options and routes for the wedding party will also need to be factored and this will include the time frames from your accommodation where you will prepare through to the ceremony venue for photography and videography, the ceremony itself then on to the reception venue.
Mardi Gras is a fabulously colourful and inclusive time in Sydney Australia where the locals and people from all over the world come together to celebrate pride, inclusiveness and individuality in one of the most beautiful cities in the world! Given you have chosen the Mardi Gras as your splendid back drop for your Unforgettable Day consider a mid-morning Ceremony followed by a lunch reception and then organise and book a vantage point venue from which you can all view the Mardi Gras. If you choose a park, beach or the botanic gardens for your Ceremony you need to be aware of the council costs and permits that are required. You will also need to be aware that the ‘styling’ of your ceremony area to your particular and unique requirement is also a cost as is the reception venue so as already suggested it is worth considering partnering with a local wedding planning and co-ordination service. This service should be able to guide you through the labyrinth of wedding planning and more particularly through a destination wedding planning process during one of Sydney’s most popular events with both domestic and international tourism at peak levels.
Have a great day – your way!
Happy Mardi Gras – 2017 to all!