How To Plan A Destination Wedding: Top Tips

If you’re looking for help with how to plan a destination wedding then you’ve landed in the right place! Planning a destination wedding can be an exciting but daunting task. On the one hand, it promises an unforgettable experience with beautiful scenery, a unique venue, and romantic atmosphere. On the other hand, it can be quite overwhelming to plan a wedding in a foreign country with different laws, regulations, and customs.

From finding a venue and choosing your vendors to managing accommodation logistics and keeping your guests entertained, there are lots of aspects to consider. But as long as you stay organized and know exactly what to expect, your planning process will be a breeze!

Make sure your special day is everything you’ve dreamed of with our ultimate guide on how to plan a destination wedding.

Why Choose a Destination Wedding?

There are lots of reasons why couples choose to celebrate one of the most special days of their lives abroad. One of the most important factors is being able to organize a truly unique experience for your closest family and friends. It’s the perfect excuse to bring your loved ones together and spend quality time away in vacation-like surroundings. Especially if you have a smaller guest list, a destination wedding can create an intimate atmosphere far more unique and memorable than a local wedding.

A lot of couples also choose a destination wedding in a location that has been significant or special to them during their relationship. Another key reason is being able to save money. Depending on the location, a destination wedding can be more cost-effective. This is down to inviting fewer guests, and cheaper costs for catering, venues, decor and other important aspects compared to a wedding back home. But bear in mind, this ultimately depends on the destination location you choose!

Decide on the Perfect Destination

The first step is to decide on a location. You’ll need to consider the climate, the cost, flight availability, accommodation availability, and venues in your chosen destination. It’s also important to consider the legal requirements for getting married in the country you’re planning to tie the knot in. When choosing a destination for your wedding, you should consider the type of wedding you want to have. Are you dreaming of a gorgeous beach wedding on a Caribbean island? Or a romantic ceremony on the Mediterranean? Do you want to get married in a modern European city or a quaint village? You might even want to say ‘I do’ on a dramatic mountaintop. All of these factors will help you determine which destination is best for you.

Once you’ve chosen a location, this will help you decide on a date. The time of year will have a big impact depending on where you’ve chosen and the type of wedding you’re having. For example, if you’re planning a beach wedding, you’ll want to make sure you’ve chosen a warm and sunny season. If you’re planning a winter destination wedding, you’ll want to make sure your chosen location has a reliable snowfall for your magical day. You’ll also want to consider the cost of flights and accommodations for your guests, as well as the availability of venues and vendors in the area during that time of year.

how to plan a destination wedding
Photography: Luxart Wedding Studio | Event Planning: LM Weddings | Ceremony Venue: Zorba Villas | Floral Design: Daniela Parra Design | Wedding Dress: Made With Love

The Legal Requirements

One of the most important aspects of your destination wedding will be making sure that everything is legally organized. So, dedicate some time to researching the legal requirements for getting married in the country you’re planning to tie the knot in. These requirements can vary from country to country, so it’s important to read up on the specific laws of the destination before you start planning. You should also make sure you understand the paperwork that’s required for a destination wedding. This can include marriage licenses, passports, and other documents. There might also be taxes and fees associated with getting married in the destination. Also, make sure not to forget understanding visa requirements for your guests too!

Wedding Insurance

Another valuable consideration for any couple planning to say ‘I do’ abroad is wedding insurance. With so much planning and investment going into your special day, it’s important to protect yourself against unexpected events and potential risks. Wedding insurance typically covers a variety of scenarios, including cancellations, postponements, vendor no-shows, and damages to wedding attire or decorations. For destination weddings, wedding insurance can provide added peace of mind as there are often additional risks and complexities involved, such as weather events, travel disruptions, and illness.

Set Your Budget

It’s important to set a budget for your destination wedding to ensure that you don’t overspend. Firstly, estimate the costs. Consider the cost of flights, accommodation, venue, catering, photography, and other vendors. Don’t forget to include costs for decorations, favors, and any other items you need for the wedding. Additionally, consider the cost of the honeymoon. Once you have an estimate of the overall cost, you can adjust your budget accordingly. Track your expenses throughout the planning process so you can stay on budget. It’s also helpful to have a backup plan. So, set aside some of your budget for unexpected expenses, to help prevent any overspending.

Although some destinations are cheaper than local weddings, some can also be much more expensive. But there are plenty of ways to save money. First, consider booking flights and accommodations in advance. You can often get discounted rates if you book several months in advance. It also helps to reduce costs if you book your flights and accommodations together.

Another way to save is with your venue. Compare different types of venues in your chosen destination to see what packages they offer. Some will include catering, decorations, and other services as part of one package. Another tip is to book vendors who are familiar with the destination. Local wedding planners and vendors will know where to find cheaper resources for your special day. With some careful planning and budgeting, you can have a beautiful and memorable destination wedding.

Select the Right Venue

Now that you have decided where you want to get married, you’ll need to find the perfect wedding venue. For this, you’ll want to have a vision in mind of your wedding style and the number of guests you want to invite. Some of the most popular destination venues include beach resorts, mountain chalets, vineyards, historic properties, and rooftops. This will depend on the country and region you’ve chosen. For example, Italian venues include beautiful castles, gorgeous Tuscan vineyards, and stunning Amalfi coast villas. You should also consider the amenities of the venue. Does the venue have a good sound system? Is there a backup plan in case of rain? Is there enough space for all of your guests? These are all important questions to consider when choosing a venue. Finally, you should also think about the cost of the venue and make sure it fits within your budget.

Consider a Wedding Planner

A wedding planner can end up being a brides’s best friend, especially if you’re planing a destination wedding. They’ll help you from start to finish, so that you don’t have to worry about the logistics. From researching and arranging transportation, to booking venues and securing permits, they’ll know exactly how to handle the details of the wedding and make sure everything runs smoothly. This is particularly useful if you’re having a larger wedding abroad!

Destination wedding planners can also provide couples with insight into the local customs and culture of the destination, so they can incorporate a special touch into their ceremony and reception. They can help you set up a wedding website too, which is especially important when people are arriving from further afield. With their knowledge and experience, wedding planners can be an invaluable resource for couples wanting to host a beautiful and memorable destination wedding.

Choose the Right Vendors

Once you’ve chosen a venue, you’ll need to start looking for vendors. When choosing vendors for your destination wedding, you’ll want to make sure they’re familiar with the location you’ve chosen. This will help ensure they understand the local customs and laws, as well as the availability of services in the area.

You should also consider the cost of the vendors. Make sure to get quotes from several vendors so you can compare prices and find the best deal. It’s also important to consider the quality of the vendors so ask for samples of their work to make sure it aligns with what you envision. Another tip is to find references from each vendor and read reviews online to make sure they’re reliable and trustworthy.

If you’re planning a destination wedding in Italy, a helpful and easy platform to use is WedBoard. You can explore venues and connect directly with qualified wedding vendors across Italy.

Send Your Invites Early

It’s important to give your guests plenty of notice if you’re planning a destination wedding. This gives them ample time to book their travels and accommodation so that they can make sure they’re with you on your special day. Imagine the excitement building as your friends and family eagerly await their invitation to join you at your dream location. This not only ensures that your loved ones have the opportunity to attend your special day, but also gives you peace of mind of knowing that all the important details are taken care of. Most importantly, sending out invitations early can help you get an accurate headcount for your wedding further in advance so you can stay on top of your budget.

how to plan a destination wedding
Photography: Ana Hinojosa | Planning: SOS Weddings | Reception Venue: Acre Baja | Wedding Dress: Netta Benshabu | Design: Marianna Idirin

Think About Transport & Accommodation

Another important step is organizing transportation and accommodation for your guests. Firstly, you’ll want to make sure that the transportation options are reliable, affordable, and convenient for everyone. This could include providing a shuttle service from the airport to the hotel, arranging group transportation to and from events, or even offering rental car options for those who prefer to explore on their own.

When it comes to guest accommodation, it’s important to think about the location, budget, and style preferences of your guests. Consider booking a block of rooms at a nearby hotel, or even offering a vacation rental option for those who prefer a more spacious and private experience. Don’t forget to negotiate group rates and inquire about any amenities, such as a breakfast or airport shuttle, that may add value for your guests.

You’ll also need to keep in mind the timing and logistics of the transportation and accommodation arrangements. Make sure that everything is communicated clearly and well in advance. Consider providing an online resource, such as a wedding website, where guests can access all the important details and make their own travel arrangements. By taking the time to plan these elements thoughtfully, you can ensure that your guests have a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Keep Your Guests Entertained

A destination wedding not only provides an opportunity to exchange vows in a beautiful location, but also offers a chance for your guests to experience a new place and create lasting memories with each other. Most (if not all) of your guests, will have traveled from far away, so they’ll definitely appreciate some activities to make the most of their time in your wedding destination. This also keeps your guests entertained while you’re busy with the finishing touches for the big day.

Think about activities that showcase the local culture and attractions, such as guided tours, wine tastings, or beach adventures. You can also arrange group dinners and social events, such as a welcome reception, farewell brunch, or pool party, where guests can mingle and connect. Another idea is to help your guests unwind and recharge by offering spa services or other relaxation activities. Also, make sure to create a wedding itinerary and provide guests with a map of the area and local recommendations, so they know what to expect and where to go.

Stay Calm & Enjoy The Journey

Don’t forget that this is one of the most special days of your life. There’s lots of planning involved but the most important step of it all is to make sure that you enjoy yourself and make lasting memories. Although planning a destination wedding can be stressful, there are ways to make the process easier. One tip is to give yourself as much time as possible. The earlier you start planning, the more time you’ll have to research venues, vendors, and other services. This includes keeping your guests informed. By giving your guests regular updates and providing information on a wedding website with FAQs, you’ll avoid being inundated with questions.

Another way to avoid stress is to stick to your budget as best as you can. We also recommend having some ‘you time’ with your partner during the planning process and the days leading up to your wedding to make sure that you are well-rested and relaxed. You can plan special date nights, spa breaks, or even mediation sessions – anything that ensures you’re enjoying the process and exciting experience!

destination wedding planning guide
Photo: 2Brides | Planning: Fanny Staaf Events

Create a unique and unforgettable experience for you and your guests with our ultimate guide for how to plan a destination wedding. For more help planning a destination wedding head to WedBoard. You’ll find stunning destination wedding venues to choose from and talented wedding vendors to connect with. Plus you’ll find plenty of tips and inspiration for your big day including, The Top 20 Destination Wedding Locations, 12 Tips for a Perfect Intimate Destination Wedding, and The Most Beautiful Destination Wedding Invitations.

Featured image: James Frost

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