Planning a Destination Wedding

The allure of a Destination Wedding cannot be underestimated. Whether you’re after sun, sea and sand or something completely different, destination weddings can be some of the most spectacular and romantic celebrations. However, planning a Destination Wedding from afar is no mean feat. So, if you’re thinking about a destination wedding for your upcoming nuptials, here are a few things you’ll want to consider, to make sure you get hitched without a hitch!

Which Destination Will it Be?

First things first. If you’re hoping to pull off the perfect destination wedding, you’ll need a destination! Often, couples planning a wedding abroad will choose a place with special meaning to them. For instance, it might be the place where you got engaged, a favourite vacation spot or somewhere which holds treasured memories.

However, there are other reasons you might choose a destination wedding. Perhaps your guests are all travelling from far and wide, and it makes more sense to pick a destination somewhere in the middle. Maybe hotel weddings are just not for you and you’re looking for something unique.

If this sounds like you, the world really is your oyster when it comes to the destination. Narrow it down by thinking about budget, season, travel time and any must-haves, such as a tropical backdrop, a breathtaking beach or snow-capped mountains. Before long you’ll have a short list of stunning options in mind.

Planning a Destination Wedding

(Nicole and Alex, Time Square, New York)

Planning a Destination Wedding

(Ruth and Ben, Currumbin Australia)

Planning a Destination Wedding

Consider Your Guest List

Early on in the planning stages of any wedding, you’ll need to think about guest numbers. Are you thinking of an intimate ceremony with only your nearest and dearest, or do you want a huge celebration with hundreds of attendees?

As it’s a destination wedding, you’ll likely find that some guests aren’t able to travel, so it’s best to start the communication as early as you can. If there are friends or family members that you absolutely must have present, it’s well worth involving them in the early planning stages.

Make sure everyone you’d like to invite is well aware of the wedding date and location as soon as it’s decided, and don’t forget to send out those save the date reminders. This will give you the most accurate idea of guest numbers. Once you’ve got a good estimate of your guest list size, it’s on to the venue!


Planning a Destination Wedding

Choosing Your Venue

Deciding on your venue is one of the most important factors in the wedding planning process, and it can be great fun too. If you’re able to, take a trip to your wedding destination and arrange tours of all the venues which take your fancy. As that may not be an option, you can always view virtual tours online, and arrange Skype consultations with dedicated wedding specialists at venues all over the world.

If there’s one thing that’s going to make planning your wedding a whole lot easier, it’s an in-house Wedding Planner. Many venues have these, and they’ll be at your service when you book a wedding package with them. Not only will they manage the logistics for you, but they’ll be able to advise you on the best local suppliers, from flowers and cake to the perfect wedding photographer.

So, find out whether your shortlisted venues offer this kind of assistance, and discuss how they might be able to help you plan your dream wedding before you make your final decision.

Planning a Destination Wedding

(Carol and Jasper, Hong Kong)

Planning a Destination Wedding

(Elyce and Steve, France)

Planning a Destination Wedding

Think About Accommodation

Often, destination weddings take place at hotels, so your accommodation is all taken care of. If not, this is something that should be high up on your agenda. Not only do you need to think about where you’ll stay on your wedding night, but you should organise suitable accommodation for your guests too. It’s customary for guests to foot the bill for the accommodation themselves, but it’s best if you reserve rooms on guests’ behalf.

Plan for Hidden Costs

Destination weddings have a reputation for being expensive, but that’s not always the case. In fact, it can be a lot easier to keep a reign on your budget when you plan a wedding abroad, as almost everything you need for your wedding will be included in your package. However, it’s always worth keeping a little extra aside for any surprise costs.

Hidden costs might include air fares for any important suppliers you choose to fly in, additional decor to really make the venue your own, welcome presents for your guests, activities and the costs of travel for any VIP guests you’re paying for (such as immediate family or your bridal party).

If you can, it’s worth budgeting for planning trips to your chosen destination too. It’s a great idea to take at least one trip to put together the final touches on your day, but if you can stretch to a few more it won’t hurt!

Planning a Destination Wedding

Planning a Destination Wedding

(Lauren and Nathan, Las Vegas)

Planning a Destination Wedding

Consider Local Customs and Culture

So, on to the less exciting part… legal requirements! Checking out the rules and regulations of marriage in different destinations is never fun, but it’s essential that you know your stuff if you do choose to get married abroad.

Often, you’ll find that countries have a “residency requirement” which determines how long couples need to have resided in the country in question before they’re legally able to marry there. In some countries, like Turks and Caicos for example, it’s only 24 hours, but in France it’s 40 days!

If you can’t find a way to adhere to the rules of your chosen destination, you can have the best of both worlds by getting married legally at home, then flying out to your wedding destination for the big day.

Planning a Destination Wedding

(Nicole and Alex, New York)

Planning a Destination Wedding

Don’t Skip the Honeymoon

When you’re up to your ears in wedding planning, arranging travel for yourselves and your guests, picking the very best vendors and considering those all-important little details that’ll bring the wedding of your Pinterest dreams to life, it’s easy to forget all about another big part of the wedding… the honeymoon.

Many couples choosing a destination wedding opt to forgo the honeymoon, as they already feel that they’re having a vacation. And it’s true that you don’t necessarily have to plan another trip to a far flung location for the final hurrah of your wedding celebrations. However, if there’s one piece of advice we will give you it’s this: after your wedding, you will definitely need a vacation!

A wedding day is wonderful, but even if it all goes exactly according to plan and you have the best day of your lives, you’ll be keen to relax with no one but your new husband or wife for at least a few days afterwards.

Plan some alone time, whether that be a lavish honeymoon or an intimate escape somewhere close to your wedding venue. Nothing compares to the sense of calm and serenity you’ll enjoy on your honeymoon, there’s no feeling like it!

Planning a Destination Wedding


So, there you have it. The definitive guide to planning your destination wedding. From the guest list and venue to the activities and accommodation, there’s so much to think about when you plan your perfect wedding day. But with a winning wedding planner, a breathtaking backdrop, a luxurious venue and a supportive Bridal Party on your side, you can’t go wrong.

Planning a Destination Wedding? Im available World Wide. Contact me here or see more of my work here.

MJC xo