Our team has shot countless destination weddings, and they’ve been some of the most beautiful and joy-filled experiences in our careers.
However, we’ve also seen all of the hard work that goes into planning a destination wedding; the planning process for a can be a bit more challenging than a traditional wedding. When you decide on a destination wedding, it means your wedding itinerary will include some tasks that other couples wouldn’t need to accomplish. It might be a challenge, but that hard work is worth it for your dream wedding.
To help you navigate the journey, we’ve put together 10 essential steps for planning your dream destination wedding.
A professional wedding planner with experience in destination weddings can be an invaluable resource.
Working with a local wedding planner who knows your wedding location well can keep things running smoothly. Your wedding planner can help with everything from finding the perfect location and securing vendors to managing logistics and troubleshooting issues that may arise. The expertise of your wedding planner will save you time, stress, and potential pitfalls along the way.
The world is your oyster when it comes to selecting a location for your destination wedding! Consider your interests, budget, and the time of year when making your decision. As part of the wedding planning process, research the local marriage requirements, as well as any necessary visas or permits, to ensure a smooth process.
Once you’ve chosen your dream location and are starting to really plan a destination wedding in detail, it’s time to book your wedding venue.
Popular destination wedding locations can fill up quickly, so it’s essential to secure your date as early in the wedding planning process as possible. Keep in mind that some venues may require a minimum number of guests or a certain spend on food and beverages.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s essential to double-check your passport’s expiration date before you book your wedding. Many countries require that your passport be valid for at least six months beyond your travel dates. Also, check if you need any visas for your destination country and apply well in advance.
Some couples prefer to work with vendors from their home country who are willing to travel, while others opt to hire local vendors at their destination. Both options have their pros and cons, so weigh your priorities and budget when making your decision. Be sure to book your vendors early, as their schedules can fill up quickly. If you’re interested in taking us with you, we’d love to hear about your vision!
Destination weddings can be more expensive than traditional weddings, due to travel costs, accommodations, and the potential need to ship items to your destination. Be prepared for a higher budget, and consider discussing financial expectations with your guests.
One way to keep your destination wedding budget in check is by opting for a smaller guest list. This not only saves on costs but also creates a more intimate and personal experience for you and your loved ones.
A wedding at a remote destination is often most reasonable when you invite everyone you know.
A small, intimate ceremony can be a beautiful opportunity to focus on the most meaningful aspects of your wedding, surrounded by your closest friends and family. Plus, a smaller ceremony can help reduce costs and logistical challenges.
A wedding website is particularly important for destination weddings, as it can serve as a central hub for information about your big day. Be sure to include information about your chosen location, travel details, accommodations, and any planned activities for guests. Additionally, create a registry that includes items or experiences specific to your destination.
For destination weddings, it’s crucial to give your guests ample notice to plan their travel and accommodations. Send out save the dates at least six to eight months before your wedding, and follow up with formal invitations at least three months in advance.
We know you probably have some additional questions about how to plan a destination wedding, so we’ve compiled a few of the biggest Qs and As below:
Destination wedding costs can vary widely, depending on factors such as location, guest count, and chosen vendors. You also, of course, have to factor in other costs like your wedding dress, wedding rings, and food for the guests and wedding party. As you already know, those are just a few of the non-negotiable expenses on the wedding checklist!
On average, couples can expect to spend anywhere from $10,000 to $200,000 for a destination wedding. It’s possible to plan a destination wedding on a smaller budget or indulge in a more extravagant affair.
According to traditional destination wedding etiquette, wedding guests are responsible for their own airfare and lodging costs when attending a destination wedding. However, it’s a thoughtful gesture to provide information on affordable accommodation options and help your guests find the best travel deals.
If possible, visiting your chosen destination in advance of your wedding date can be incredibly beneficial!
This step in destination wedding planning allows you to tour potential venues, meet with vendors, and get a feel for the local atmosphere. However, if it’s not feasible to visit beforehand, working with professional wedding planners can help ensure your wedding runs smoothly.
Combining your destination wedding and honeymoon can be a convenient and cost-effective option for your wedding day, so we vote yes in many cases! You can make the final call during the early stages of wedding planning.
You’ll already be at your beautiful destination wedding location, making it easy to transition from your wedding celebrations to your honeymoon.
Of course, some couples may prefer a separate honeymoon destination for a change of scenery or to explore a new place together. When planning, remember that it’s not 100% necessary to book only one venue!
Planning a destination wedding can be an exciting and rewarding experience, giving you and your partner a chance to celebrate your love in a stunning and memorable location.
By following these 10 essential steps and being mindful of the unique challenges that come with a destination wedding, you’ll be well on your way to creating the wedding of your dreams!