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Far & Away Weddings: 5 Things To Consider For Your Destination Wedding Planning

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

A destination wedding is a wedding that takes place away from the couple's hometown or city where they currently live. Instead, the couple chooses a destination, often a resort or an exotic location, where they can hold their wedding ceremony and reception. Destination weddings are becoming increasingly popular, as they offer a unique and memorable experience for both the couple and their guests.

Here are some benefits of having a destination wedding:

  1. Unique and Memorable Experience: A destination wedding provides a unique and memorable experience for both the couple and their guests. The destination adds a special touch to the wedding celebrations, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

  2. Smaller Guest List: Destination weddings typically have a smaller guest list, which can be beneficial for couples who want a more intimate wedding. This also allows the couple to spend more quality time with their guests during the wedding celebrations.

  3. Less Stressful: Destination weddings are often less stressful for the couple because they can hire a wedding planner or coordinator to take care of the details. The couple can also avoid the stress of having to invite every distant relative or acquaintance they know, which can be a relief for some.

  4. Cost-Effective: Destination weddings can be cost-effective for couples because they can combine their wedding and honeymoon into one trip. Additionally, many resorts offer wedding packages that include accommodations, meals, and activities, which can be a cost-saving option.

  5. Beautiful Settings: Destination weddings often take place in beautiful and picturesque locations, such as a beach or a mountain backdrop, which can create a stunning and romantic atmosphere for the wedding.

Overall, a destination wedding can be a great choice for couples who want a unique and memorable wedding experience. While there are some additional considerations to take into account, such as travel arrangements and legal requirements, the benefits can make it worth the effort.

Choosing The Right Destination

While choosing a destination can be tough, finding the right place can always make do we say it...STRESSFUL AF! I did a destination wedding at Sandals Ochi in Jamaica and IT WAS AMAZING! A true fairy tale wedding, but that doesn't mean that's the place for everyone else. I can tell you there are a few things you want to keep in mind when choosing the right destination. Keep these in mind when you are looking for the perfect place to get married.

  1. Budget, Accessibility, and Guest Accommodations: One of the first things to consider when choosing a destination for your wedding is your budget. You'll need to factor in the cost of travel, accommodations, and other expenses. Additionally, you'll want to choose a destination that is accessible for you and your guests. Look for locations that have convenient transportation options, such as airports or train stations, and plenty of guest accommodations, such as hotels or resorts.

  2. Marriage Requirements and Legalities: Each destination has its own set of marriage requirements and legalities, so it's important to do your research beforehand. This may include obtaining a marriage license, meeting residency requirements, and following specific ceremony guidelines. Be sure to consult with a wedding planner or local authorities to ensure that you're following all necessary steps.

  3. Weather and Seasonal Considerations: The weather and season of your chosen destination can play a significant role in the success of your wedding. Consider the climate of the location during the time of year you plan to get married, and make sure it aligns with your preferences. If you're looking for a beach wedding, for example, you'll want to choose a destination that has warm weather and plenty of sunshine.

  4. Culture and Customs: It's important to consider the culture and customs of the destination when planning your wedding. Research the local customs and traditions to ensure that you're respectful and mindful of them during your ceremony and celebrations. Additionally, consider incorporating some of the local culture into your wedding to make it a unique and meaningful experience.

Here's a little sneak peak of what my wedding looked like. Hopefully this will inspire you!

Guest Considerations

This can be one of the toughest things to do when you are planning your wedding.

You may be asking yourself constantly, "who do I want to be there on my big day?", or let's be real...."who is going to get along with who?" or even "how much time should I tell my guests in advance?". Then you have the typical, "UGH, who is going to manage all of them and get them to book?". These questions are all normal! Trust me when I tell you, it's not a walk in the park (unless you're doing a super small 10 person wedding).

I had about 60 people at my wedding and it was a lot to deal with but here are some words of advice to help you on your journey!

Give Guests Plenty of Notice to Make Travel Arrangements

Destination weddings require guests to travel, so it's important to give them plenty of notice so they can make travel arrangements. Send out save-the-date cards at least 1 to 2 years in advance, and send out invitations at least 6 to 12 months before the wedding. This will give your guests enough time to make travel arrangements, such as booking flights and accommodations.

Provide Detailed Information about the Destination and Accommodations

It's important to provide your guests with detailed information about the destination and accommodations. This can include information about local customs, climate, and things to do in the area. Additionally, provide information about the accommodations, such as the hotel or resort where the wedding will be held, as well as nearby hotels or vacation rentals for guests who prefer alternative options.

Consider the Budget of Your Guests

Destination weddings can be expensive for guests, so it's important to consider their budget when planning your wedding. Try to choose a location that offers affordable accommodations and activities, and provide guests with options for transportation and activities that fit within their budget.

Plan Activities or Events for Guests to Do While at the Destination

One of the benefits of a destination wedding is that it provides an opportunity for guests to explore and enjoy the location. Consider planning activities or events for your guests to do while they're at the destination, such as a welcome dinner, group tours, or activities that highlight the local culture. This will give your guests a chance to make the most of their trip and create memorable experiences.

P.s. we had a photo booth at our wedding and it was amazing to see how everyone took photos with it! Trust me, this will save you so much time especially with your photographers. Check some of these out!

Vendor Selection

Research Vendors in the Destination

It's important to research vendors in the destination to ensure that you're working with reliable and experienced professionals. Look for vendors such as wedding planners, photographers, caterers, and florists who have experience working with destination weddings. Read reviews and testimonials, and ask for referrals from other couples who have had destination weddings in the area.

Consider Language Barriers and Communication with Vendors

If you're planning a destination wedding in a country where you don't speak the language, it's important to consider the language barriers and how you will communicate with vendors. Consider working with a local wedding planner who speaks the language and can help with translation and communication with vendors. Alternatively, consider hiring a translator or using translation apps to ensure that you can effectively communicate with your vendors.

Budget for Any Additional Expenses

Destination weddings often come with additional expenses, such as travel fees for vendors. Be sure to budget for these additional expenses so you're not caught off guard by unexpected costs. Discuss any travel fees or other expenses with vendors upfront so there are no surprises later on.

We chose Sandals Ochi, here a pretty nice view of this resort.

Legal Considerations

Research the Marriage Requirements and Legalities of the Destination

Different countries have different requirements when it comes to getting married, so it's important to research the marriage requirements and legalities of your chosen destination. Some countries require a waiting period before you can get married, while others require blood tests or other medical exams. Make sure you understand the requirements before you leave so you're not caught off guard.

Determine If You Need to Obtain Any Special Permits or Visas

Depending on the destination, you may need to obtain special permits or visas to get married there. For example, some countries require a special marriage visa, while others require a permit to hold a wedding ceremony in a public place. Be sure to research the requirements well in advance and obtain any necessary permits or visas before you leave.

By taking these legal considerations into account, you can ensure that your destination wedding goes smoothly and that you're in compliance with local laws and regulations. Consider working with a local wedding planner who can help guide you through the legal requirements and ensure that everything is in order.


Consider the Costs

Destination weddings can be more expensive than traditional weddings because they often involve travel, accommodations, vendor fees, and additional expenses. Before you start planning, consider all of the costs associated with your destination wedding to ensure that you have a realistic idea of what you can afford.

Create a Budget

Once you have a good idea of the costs involved, create a budget and stick to it. Your budget should include all of the expenses associated with your destination wedding, including travel, accommodations, vendor fees, and any additional expenses. Make sure to account for unexpected expenses as well, such as travel delays or weather-related issues.

Prioritize Your Spending

Knowing your budget can help you prioritize your spending and make sure that you're allocating your funds wisely. Determine which aspects of your destination wedding are most important to you and allocate your budget accordingly.

Consider Alternative Options

If your budget is tight, consider alternative options that can help you save money. For example, you might consider holding your ceremony and reception at the same location to save on transportation costs, or you might opt for a less expensive but still beautiful destination.

By knowing your budget and sticking to it, you can ensure that you're able to have the destination wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank. Consider working with a wedding planner who can help you create a budget and stick to it throughout the planning process.

In summary, planning a destination wedding can be an exciting and unforgettable experience, but it's important to carefully consider a number of key factors to ensure that your special day goes smoothly. These factors include choosing the right destination, guest considerations, vendor selection, legal considerations, and budgeting.

To make the most of your destination wedding, it's important to carefully plan and research before committing to a destination. Give guests plenty of notice, provide detailed information about the destination and accommodations, and budget for any additional expenses such as vendor travel fees.

Remember to research the legal requirements and marriage laws of your chosen destination, and consider working with a local wedding planner who can help guide you through the process. And finally, create a budget and stick to it to ensure that your destination wedding is everything you've dreamed of without breaking the bank.

By considering these key factors and planning ahead, you can create a destination wedding that's truly unforgettable for you and your guests.

If you're considering a destination wedding, take the time to carefully plan and research your options to ensure that your special day is everything you've dreamed of. Consider the key factors we've discussed in this article, such as choosing the right destination, guest considerations, vendor selection, legal requirements, and budgeting.

Remember, planning a destination wedding takes time and effort, but the results can be truly unforgettable. Whether you're dreaming of a beachside ceremony, a mountaintop retreat, or an exotic international locale, there's a destination wedding that's perfect for you.

So let's start planning today and turn your destination wedding dreams into reality! Click the link below to book a call!

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