How to Plan a Destination Wedding

Dreaming of a destination wedding? Here are a few tips on how to plan a destination wedding. Let’s dive in!

Choose an easily accessible location.

  • How difficult is it to get to the location you’re dreaming of?! Does it require a flight, a train ride, and a long drive to get to the venue? Consider how easily (a majority of) guests can get to the destination before booking a location. Try to pick a place that isn’t too hard to get to. This will benefit you in more than a few ways!

Notify guests as early as you can.

  • Give those who are on your guest list as much of a heads up as you can! If they need to plan for time off from their jobs, arrange travel plans, consider childcare (or animal care), and anything else… it is nice to know well in advance. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have your Save the Dates ready to go – many people simply call or text their friends/family that they really want there on their wedding day!
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Consider venues that are “all-inclusive.” 

  • Many destination venues have accommodations, planners, catering, and more available for your use, which will make your planning from afar a lot easier. If they don’t have a particular vendor as part of their destination wedding package, they can likely give good recommendations. *On this note, though, be mindful that they might include a vendor as part of their costs, even if you’d like to bring in a different vendor OR you might just not like one of their “out of the box” vendors

Serve something local.

  • Somewhere in your wedding day menu, work in a beverage or food item that highlights local specialties! This can delight your guests, incorporate your surroundings well, and be unique!

Pick the right time.

  • What might be a typical summer wedding date in the US might be your destination’s scorching hot or monsoon season. Do your research to determine what the shoulder season is for that location – this can give you beautiful weather, fewer tourists (if it’s a tourist destination), and be less expensive all around.
how to plan a destination wedding

Dress the part.

  • Destination weddings are not the most traditional, so make sure your attire fits the location and occasion. Couples should wear something more appropriate for the region and backdrop. It’s essential to consider the site when advising guests on what to wear, as well. 

Have a legal marriage plan.

  • Marriage laws are different outside of the United States. Some countries have rules that require you to be in the country for a certain length of time for your marriage to be considered legal. If you’re finding that it’s hard to make it legal in another country, you should plan to get officially legally married in the US before your destination wedding day. *Note: Different states have different rules about when you can get your marriage license, too. So if you’re planning your wedding in another state, you should be mindful of the state rules, also. 

Don’t be offended if a guest can’t make it.

  • Your destination wedding will undoubtedly be special, but it’s important to remember that if a guest can’t make it, it’s likely not a reflection of how much they care for you. Traveling to a destination wedding is expensive, and it takes up time they might need to be at work (or handling other responsibilities). Recognize they’d likely love to join and celebrate you; it just is not written in the stars at the time.

Add extra days before and after.

  • If you’re going to travel all that way, spend some extra time at your destination. The pre-wedding time will allow you to finalize any planning details that may need to be handled locally. The post-wedding time will allow you to enjoy the destination as a married couple!

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