What Goes Into Planning a Destination Wedding?


Long gone are the days when weddings have to be in a church or temple with every person you have ever met in your life. More couples are embracing alternatives to the traditional big event, including destination weddings.

A destination wedding takes place anywhere outside of the couple’s home location. Most, if not all, people travel to get there. It could be anywhere, but many couples choose vacation spots, like the tropics or an international destination.

There are many reasons to choose this type of wedding—love of travel, a location with special meaning, lower cost. Whatever your reason, make sure you know what you’re getting into and how to plan it right.

How to Choose the Right Location and Vendors

A destination wedding can be less costly than a traditional wedding, usually because you don’t invite as many people or splurge on flowers and other décor. However, the costs could skyrocket quickly depending on where you go and how you plan.

Start your planning with a budget. This will help you choose a location because you can eliminate those you can’t afford. Once you have a budget and some ideas, there are several things to consider as you make a final decision.

  • Number of guests and whether or not children will be invited.
  • The weather and time of year.
  • Logistics, including where guests will stay and how they’ll get to the ceremony and reception sites.
  • What you and your partner prefer, and a location that is meaningful to you and matches your personality.

Because you don’t live where you’ll be getting married, vetting and selecting vendors can be tricky. Consider choosing a venue that handles everything for you. If you want to choose some of the local vendors, ask for references and schedule virtual interviews.

As the bride, you’ll be the center of the event. What you wear expresses your style and sets the tone for the event. Whether you’ll be on a beach or in a ski resort, the right dress has to fit the setting. You need a good selection to choose from, so consider wedding dress shops in NYC and other big cities. These stores will have more options and should have something to match any destination. 

What to Do When Things Go Wrong

Holding a wedding anywhere presents challenges. There are so many components, moving pieces, and things that can go wrong. This is true for all kinds of weddings, but the risk increases when you involve a destination. Think of details and have contingency plans for disasters you can foresee but also be flexible and let go of the idea of perfection. 

The Airline Lost the Luggage

Checking baggage on a flight is always a risk, but the stakes are higher when you have a wedding. Carry on the essential items, the things you can’t easily replace, like your wedding dress. Carry it on the plane in a hanging bag and check everything else.

Guests Can’t Make the Trip

It’s reasonable to expect that you’ll get fewer yes RSVPs for a destination wedding. Be understanding of anyone who can’t make it, and don’t press them on a reason or pressure them. To avoid missing those most important to you, plan well in advance. Talk to your closest friends and family about the location and date to ensure the guests who matter most can be there.

Your Marriage Isn’t Legal

The legal aspects of marriage vary by country, so plan this well in advance. Ensure you have all the paperwork needed to make the ceremony legal. If the worst happens and it isn’t legal, you can always have a small ceremony once you return home to make it official.

It’s Just Not What You Expected

Don’t assume services and amenities will be like at home. You can avoid disappointed expectations by choosing a location you’ve traveled to and enjoyed. It’s a little risky going somewhere you’ve never been. It’s also a good idea to arrive a few days before the ceremony, so you can change anything you don’t like.

Consider hiring a local wedding planner to make sure you avoid pitfalls. They know the area and can help you plan an event that is more likely to go off without a hitch.

Embrace the Uncertainty

A destination wedding can be exciting, different, and fun, but it also presents unique issues and pitfalls. If you’re set on traveling to get married, be flexible. If you wanted everything perfect, you would stay closer to home. Embrace the adventure and enjoy every minute of it.

Written by Megan Taylor
Megan is a beauty expert who is passionate about all things makeup and glam! Her love for makeup has brought her to become a beauty pro at Glamour Garden Cosmetics.