How to Plan a Destination Wedding



Are you dreaming of a destination wedding? Do you envision exchanging vows on a breathtaking beach or in the enchanting city where you and your future spouse first fell in love? Planning a destination wedding can transform your special day into an extraordinary experience. But where should you begin to turn this big dream into a reality? In this article, we will explore how to plan a destination wedding and provide you with the necessary steps to make it happen.

Planning a wedding can be challenging, and organizing a destination ceremony can add an extra layer of complexity. However, destination weddings have become more accessible and popular, which means that bringing your wedding vision to life might not be as daunting as you initially believed. 

In fact, the planning process for a destination wedding can be simplified by the numerous advantages it offers. With the guidance of a wedding planner and a clear vision in mind, you can achieve your wedding goals with ease.

Step 1: Choose a Location

The first step to planning a destination wedding is choosing a place! Remember your favorite trip as a couple. What was it about the place that you loved? Was the weather a major factor? You must have loved the people and culture. Was the architecture inspiring? Do you have a bucket list destination? The answers to these questions will help you choose a location for your wedding.

This is a short destination wedding checklist to help you decide on your venue:

Visit the Venue

Visit the venue before planning a destination wedding to eliminate uncertainty.
It is risky to book a hotel or resort, or a venue for a wedding ceremony, without first visiting it. Asking friends and family members to travel to a destination you’ve never visited is a bad idea.

Understand Passport and Visa Requirements

Do your guests have to fill in a lot of forms before they can attend your wedding ceremony? Be sure to inform them well in advance. Double-check your passports while you are at it. Start the process of renewing them as soon as possible if they have expired or are about to expire.

Know the Current Travel Warnings and Risks

It is important to do this if you are traveling to rural areas or due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Prepare for border closures and lockdowns by researching how your destination handled the rising number of cases.

Know Cultural or Sporting Events

Make sure to know when major cultural or sporting events are taking place in your chosen destination. It is advisable to avoid booking a wedding during these holidays as they can significantly affect venue pricing, availability of accommodation, and the ease of booking vendors.

Investigate Local Weather Patterns

When planning your wedding, it’s crucial to investigate the local weather patterns of your chosen location. Understanding the climate and weather conditions will help you make informed decisions and ensure that your guests are prepared for the big day.


Step 2: Set a Budget

Set your budget once you have chosen the perfect location for your destination wedding. It’s important to set your budget before you begin evaluating venues or selecting decor. This will help you avoid overcommitting yourself early in the planning phase. Even if your budget is limited, you can still find some affordable and creative venues. No matter what your budget is, a destination wedding can be arranged.

Once you have established your budget, it is time to start making decisions. You will need to decide whether you want to do the majority of the work yourself or hire a wedding planner

Working with a local wedding planner can help ease the stress associated with planning an event. It can also be one of the best investments you make for your wedding. They can suggest venues, florists, and photographers as well as other vendors who are reputable and experienced. You will likely save money by hiring them, and that will pay for the cost of their services.

Predicting Your Wedding Size

You should also create a preliminary list of guests to determine the budget you will need for your wedding. By asking guests to make travel arrangements, book accommodations, and possibly take a few days off from work or their children, you can reduce the number of guests who actually attend your wedding. About 40% to 60% of guests are expected to RSVP to and attend a destination wedding. Your costs will be lower if your guest list is smaller than it would be if your wedding was held in your hometown. This includes food, beverages, and the size of your venue.

Find a Knowledgeable Wedding Planner

Throughout this process, your wedding planner will be the person you can turn to for any questions. A wedding planner familiar with the destination of your wedding can make planning much easier and save you money. They will also be your person on the ground at your destination. This is vital to ensure that your planning goes smoothly.

If you don’t know your area, it can be difficult to choose the perfect venue, caterer, and guest experience. Find a planner who has built strong business relationships with local vendors, chefs, and fun activities. 

If you don’t speak the language of your destination, it is important to find a wedding planner who has a good understanding of that area. They will also act as a translator between you and your vendors. DA Event Planning is experienced in handling weddings in various locations, ensuring effective communication and seamless coordination.

By partnering with DA Event Planning, you can relax and enjoy your wedding preparations, knowing that you have a skilled professional by your side. Their attention to detail, creativity, and dedication will help bring your vision to life, creating a memorable and stress-free experience for you and your guests.

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Step 3: Do Research on How to Make It Official

Research the legal requirements in your area well in advance of your wedding day. Do you want your wedding to be a symbol of celebration or a legal union? Do you want to have your marriage recognized legally in the country you marry?

Answers to these questions will determine the next steps. Some couples decide to hold a legal wedding in their home city before their symbolic destination ceremony. 

Additional steps may be needed if you and your partner want your marriage recognized legally in the destination country. For example, many countries require that you reside in the country for a period before applying for a marriage license. France, for example, requires proof that you have lived at a French address for a minimum of 30 days before filing a civil application.


Step 4: Save the Date Early and Keep Your Guests Up to Date

Send Save the Dates as soon as your wedding date and location are confirmed. Sending notice between 9 months and a year in advance will give your family and friends enough time to prepare for your wedding.

This will allow your guests to stay informed about the latest travel advice, lodging suggestions, and checklists. Traveling is exciting but it also comes with its own requirements. Your wedding website can remind guests to update legal documents such as passports and IDs before booking tickets. Keep your guests informed about the different requirements for international travel compared to domestic travel.

You can send your official wedding invitations 3 to 4 months prior to your wedding date. Be sure to include in your wording that you reiterate the travel considerations and requirements during this time.


Step 5: Finalize the Wedding Vendors

We recommend booking vendors and researching them as early as possible, no matter the type of wedding that you are planning. You should start this process once you’ve confirmed your venue. It is also a good idea for you to ask your venue if there are any preferred vendors. When choosing vendors, here are some tips you should keep in mind:


Hire a local photographer who knows the best and most unique locations to capture your wedding in your destination. It may be worth scheduling a photo shoot at cultural landmarks before your wedding to remember the charm of your location. 


Are you planning to create your own playlist for the wedding, hire a local band or choose a DJ? Include some local hits in your playlist, no matter what route you take. Your guests will enjoy dancing to mariachi songs and doing the tango or a hula. A music selection that is authentic can help you create lasting memories of your wedding destination. You need help choosing the right entertainment. 


Capture a destination’s beauty by choosing a florist who not only knows popular wedding florals but also local arrangements which will leave a lasting impact on your guests. The florist will also help to ensure that the florals of your dreams are available at your destination and can help you choose alternatives if needed.


People don’t travel halfway around the world just to eat something they can find at home. You want to serve dishes that you know will be enjoyed by your guests. But you should also work with your caterers on ways to incorporate local dishes or ingredients into your menu. Local bakeries can create an original cake for your wedding. A cocktail that showcases the local fruit and liquor can also be added to a cohesive menu.

Decor Rentals

In the event that your venue does not provide all decor, you will need to hire outside vendors for certain items. It could be as simple as temporary restrooms or generators to as complex as tents, lighting, table arrangements, and other decor.


Step 6: Find Recommended Lodging

Accommodation is one of the main concerns that guests have when planning a destination wedding. Your guests will be more comfortable in an accommodation that also hosts other members of your wedding party. It will be more fun for all! Here are some top tips on guest accommodation:

  • Include options for different budgets. Even though you’re not responsible for paying for all of your guests’ accommodations, it can be helpful to offer a variety of options. Consider resorts, nearby hotels, and B&Bs that are close to your wedding venue so guests can book at the price they feel most comfortable with.
  • Location matters. Know how far your venue is from the hotels and airport. It is important to save money, but it is also worth staying in a hotel that is close to the venue. It is important to have a nearby hotel room to rest in between wedding events and to change into new outfits. After a fun-filled night of dancing, good food, and drinks, the last thing that you and your guests will want to do is make a long trip back to their accommodation.
  • The wedding party should stay at the same location as the couple. This will ensure that the rehearsals and ceremony run smoothly. The lodging recommendation will help you plan a destination wedding with ease. You don’t want people scrambling for rides to your venue.
  • Consider transportation options to and from the wedding. Research hotel services like shuttles and ride-share services. Also, consider the walkability of an area. Add this information to your website. Wedding planners who are familiar with the locality will have suggestions on the best routes and reliable and safe car services.


Step 7: Plan Themed Day-of Decor

Location, setting, food, and flowers as well as the surrounding culture can help create an unforgettable atmosphere for your destination wedding. However, subtle decorations are also a great way to carry a theme. Consider how you can use wedding signs, table treats, wedding favors, and menus to enhance your destination wedding theme.

You can reinforce your wedding theme by creating a clever hashtag that guests use to post photos on social media. You can also use a phrase that relates to your location to reinforce the theme of your wedding. Have fun! Think #partnersinparadise, #LoveInFloridaKeys, #FloridaForeverAfter, or other phrases.


Step 8: Coordinate Your Honeymoon

Consider an extended trip as part of your honeymoon. You can extend your stay at the wedding venue or plan to visit nearby cities or countries. You can travel from one place to another at a reasonable price since you’ve already completed the longest route.


Step 9: Plan Travel & Activities That Guests Will Enjoy

Making memories is important during your trip, even if the wedding is the main event. Make the most of this rare opportunity to bring family and friends to a distant location. Your wedding will be a memorable event if you plan short day trips or spa treatments. List a few of your planned outings on your wedding site so that guests can decide whether they would like to participate.

Start Planning Your Unforgettable Destination Wedding Today!

Are you ready to embark on an extraordinary journey of love and celebration? Now is the perfect time to start planning your unforgettable destination wedding, and what better place than the sun-kissed shores of Florida! With its pristine beaches, vibrant culture, and stunning venues, Florida offers the perfect backdrop for a truly remarkable wedding experience.

Imagine exchanging vows with your toes in the soft sand, the gentle sea breeze carrying your love-filled promises. Florida’s coastal charm provides endless possibilities for creating an unforgettable wedding celebration. Whether you prefer a glamorous beachfront affair or an intimate garden ceremony surrounded by lush tropical foliage, we’ll help you find the ideal location that perfectly captures your vision.

Contact us now to begin your incredible adventure in Florida. Your dream destination wedding awaits, and we can’t wait to be a part of making it a reality!

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