Top Ten Destination Wedding Planning Tips

Destination wedding planning, especially in a foreign country with a different climate, culture, and language, can be challenging. Here are some tips to help.

1. Budget

This is mainly based on your guest list, types of florals, decor & lighting, kind of food, number of courses, and kitchen location. Alcohol can vary greatly depending on brands and activities such as serving shots. Always budget for a licensed, insured, independent wedding planner and add for the unexpected. Taxes, tips, cancelled or changed flights, extra luggage, and other potentials could use up another 15% to 20%.

2. Venue before Dress

It is tempting to choose your dream dress first, but wait until you have confirmed the location and know the type of venue, time of day, month, etc. Ideally, the look and texture of the dress should harmonize with these details.

3. Location

Off the beaten path ceremony locations can result in added costs for guests and vendors distance and travel logistics. Weather factors such as wind & rain, lighting, electrical sources, washrooms and the difficulty of catering in remote locations can be significant. No matter the venue you choose, be sure there is a weather back-up!

4. Site Visit

Always do a site visit to the destination you have in mind and meet with your planner and potential vendors in person. Online resort images can look great, but it’s critical to see the real thing for decision making.

5. Vendor Alert

Check your venue contract carefully because many resorts, hotels, villas or any type of venue only allow you to use their preferred vendors unless you pay a fee to bring in your own.


6. Timing Counts

Be sure to work with your wedding planner on the timing between your ceremony and reception. Hotels & venues have varying capabilities and staffing levels for change-outs, and guests can get bored if it is too big of a gap.

7. Arrive Early, Leave Late

Many couples plan to arrive a few days before and leave after the guests do to conduct marriage legalities, allow for any jet lag, attend to gift bags, relax, enjoy spa & beauty treatments, and spend more individual time with guests.

8. Don’t Cut Corners

Some couples cut corners such as using phone speakers for their sound system. This may work great at home but will not likely be heard over actual event noise. Your wedding planner can help you find other budget areas to trim if needed.

9. Know the Red Tape

Many couples conduct their marriage legalities at home and have their celebrations at the destination. For instance, requirements in Mexico are similar to those in the US or Canada, but you must have several documents validated at the nearest Mexican consulate in YOUR country before you come.

10. Consider Guest Budgets

You should choose a venue that reflects your personal style, but consider your closest family and friends as well. Many hotels require your entire group to stay at their property, and some guests may not be able to manage the rates.

These suggestions should help you navigate your way to a memorable destination wedding experience – please reach out to us if you have any questions!


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