Planning a wedding can be a lot of work, but planning a destination wedding can be even harder. A destination wedding is amazing and a way to have a unique and amazing experience. It is, though, lots of work and takes a lot to coordinate the details of a wedding that will happen overseas (or in a different state.) We compiled a list of tips while you navigate planning your destination wedding, to make your life a little easier!
1. Choose the Perfect Location
There are lots of locations that would be an absolute dream to have a wedding at. What is important is that the wedding is in a meaningful place for you and your partner.The most common destinations are tropical, but that does not mean people don't choose places in Europe! Here is a list of a few common destinations:
- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
- Saint Lucia, Jamaica
- The Bahamas
- Cozumel, Mexico
- Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
- Dublin, Ireland
- Galway, Ireland
- Paris, France
- Santorini, Greece
- Mykonos, Greece
- Sydney, Australia
- London, England
- Tuscany, Italy
- Venice, Italy
A destination wedding does not necessarily have to be overseas. It can be considered a destination relative to where you are coming from! Some couples will pick a different city within the United States to get married at because it means a lot to them, and because it feels like a destination wedding without the hassle of flying long distance! Here are a few popular cities within the U.S that couples get married at:
- New York City, New York
- San Francisco, California
- Chicago, Illinois
- Bar Harbor, Maine
- Tucson, Arizona
- Nantucket, Massachusetts
- Jackson Hole, Wyoming
- Savannah, Georgia
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Boulder, Colorado
Thinking through the logistics of each destination is key to deciding which is best for the couple. Some may be more feasible than other locations, so choose the location that works best for you and your partner! Making a pros and cons list and a budget can help think through decisions.
2. Take Lots of Trips
Though it is hard to take time out your busy schedules to fly to another country or state, it does make it easier when planning the wedding. Taking two to three trips to the country or state of choice to finalize details will be easier and more relaxed than cramming all of the planning and decision-making into one trip. If your schedule allows, try and take more than one trip.
3. Check the Marriage Legalities
The United States has its own requirements to legally get married, so if you are choosing a destination city within the U.S., you obviously don't have anything new to worry about. That being said, other country's legal requirements are different, so make sure you are educated on what is required to get married in that country. For example, some countries in Europe have a number of days required to be in the country before getting married. In England it is 15 days, and in France it is 40 days. With those situations, it may be easier to get legally get married in the states and then have the ceremony in the destination. No one would know the difference, but it is something that needs to be thought of beforehand.
Photo credit: Noukee Fleischmann-Tinge Photography
4. Notify Guests Well In Advance
This is probably a given, but guests will need lots of time to decide if they can make the wedding and/or afford the costs of travelling far. Think about whether you and your partner want a small intimate wedding, or one with as many people who can make it. You will want to give lots of notice to the friends and family that are closest to you and those who you would like to make the wedding. Be prepared, also, to have people (close and not as close to you) not be able to make it to your big day.
5. Pick a Dress that Matches the Destination
When choosing a dress, make sure you are thinking of the climate in the location you are getting married in. If you are going somewhere tropical, it might be better to choose a breathable fabric that is a bit more flowy and loose. The same goes for the groom and the groomsmen and their suits! Wearing wool in the hot sun would be extremely uncomfortable.
6. Go with the Planner
Sometimes, it may be easier and less stress to have help from a professional wedding planner, especially one that has experience in planning destination weddings. They will be the expert in everything that must be done/could pop up while planning and executing the wedding. Think about how many details go into planning a wedding in your own city. Now multiply that by a thousand when you think about the complexities of planning a wedding in a different city, especially one that is across the world. Not to say it cannot be done- but the reality is that it will be more difficult. Having professional help is a great investment if your budget allows.
Though destination weddings are a bit more stressful, the upside is that you get to have a super fun vacation and you also get wedding memories that you will cherish forever. Travelling the world is an amazing experience, but getting to do so to have your wedding with the person you love with your family and friends is even more amazing.