Wedding Planning for Destination Weddings

Wedding Planning for Destination Weddings.

Destination weddings are exciting and fun and planning for them can be, too, with the right mindset. Knowing everything you need to check off on your to-do list will make the process easier and much more enjoyable. Plus, the sooner you get the details squared away, the sooner you can daydream about your destination wedding day.


Pick the destination. First and foremost, you have to know where you’re going. Most couples who plan destination weddings already have their dream locales in mind. But if you don’t and you just know you want to get away somewhere to say “I do,” think about the best vacation you can imagine, or an adventure you always wanted to take. Let your inner travel bug lead the way and do lots of research!


Find a planner that’s local to your destination. Many couples don’t have the time or resources to travel often to their destination before the big day. And if you can’t meet and hire all of your vendors in person, find a trusted resource to help you secure those contracts on your behalf. It could be as simple as a beach wedding in South Carolina or as extravagant as a grand reception in the heart of Venice. But a seasoned wedding planner will know all the local professionals and the best venues. Lean on them for their expertise when it comes to contracting the big ticket items. And if you’re traveling to a foreign country, it’ll help if they speak the local language, too!

And when working with your planner, ask lots of questions to know what to expect when it comes to budget. Depending on when, where and how you get married, destination weddings can have sneaky extra costs in addition to regular wedding items such as budgeting travel for any of your vendors you’re bringing with you, adjusted hotel and flight rates for high-traffic seasons, extra tips, shipping costs, etc. Also, if applicable, research exchange rates on currency.

After you pick the place, you need to pick a date. Be mindful of specific times of the year where your destination might be more crowded or may encounter adverse weather conditions. Research to uncover months where the weather is favorable, tourist season is down or only slightly elevated and where you can possibly score some better deals on things like travel and lodging.

If you’re inviting guests to tag along, let them know the details well in advance. If you know your friends and family will definitely want to accompany you at your destination wedding, give them a head’s up as soon as you pick a date. They will need to make major accommodations, too, so be respectful of their time.

Book your travel and lodging early. Don’t let this fall to the bottom of your to-do list. In fact, secure these details far in advance. You don’t want to be stuck with a hotel room with a terrible view or an expensive, last-minute flight for your wedding. Book now! And encourage your loved ones to do the same.

Ensure you have all the proper documentation. If your destination wedding is still in the states, a marriage license is all you need! But if you’re traveling outside of the U.S., make sure you, your fiancé and all of your loved ones have their passports up-to-date and in-hand before they depart!

Infuse some local flavors. It’s fun for you and your guests if you can incorporate some of the local culture into your big day. Consider things like a box of saltwater taffy if you’re marrying on the North Carolina coast or a French macaron cake if your destination wedding finds you in the French countryside.

Plan a few extra activities to make it worthwhile for your guests. Extending the celebration out a day or two with some excursions will make it even more fun to travel for your special day. It will also give you even more time to spend with your loved ones.

Give everyone attending your destination wedding a welcome bag or small gift. It could be a bag filled with items they’ll need for the weekend – like sunscreen for the beach, some fun shades, a magazine and a bottle of water – or a nice canvas bag filled with local treats and a guide to the city. Whatever you decide, your guests will appreciate the gesture.

Make a list of everything you are bringing with you and check it twice. The last thing you want to do is forget the rings at home or fail to pack that one bag that had “everything in it.”

Pick wedding attire based on your destination. There are two reasons why this is important: 1) it needs to match the style of your location and 2) you have to bring whatever it is you’re wearing with you. A huge princess ball gown would not work for a beachside wedding and it would also be a nightmare to try to pack on a plane. Consider this when doing the shopping for you and anyone in your bridal party, if you choose to have one.

And remember, after all of the planning for your destination wedding is complete, the only thing you have left to do is arrive and get married. The extra time and attention will be well worth it because a picture-perfect experience will be waiting for you when you get there!

Photos: Keepsake Memories Photography