Wondering how to plan a destination wedding? There’s a TON of stuff that goes into planning a wedding, let alone one that’s in a different location. But it’s sooo worth it to have the wedding of your dreams! There are a lot of logistics to consider when you’re planning a destination wedding, like your guest list, finding an elopement photographer, and the legality of getting married in a different state.
Before you start seriously planning, determine your wedding budget. Your budget will determine how far you can travel, how many guests you can invite, and what kind of wedding you can afford.
How many guests do you want to invite to your wedding?? Will they be able to travel to your chosen destination? If you have a large guest list, finding a destination that accommodates everyone may be more challenging. For example, if your dream is to get married at sunrise on a mountaintop, let’s freaking go! But if you can’t imagine getting married without your 87 year old grandma there, you might need to find a more accessible location.
Remember you can always do a smaller ceremony in your dream location and then throw a big party for your reception! This is YOUR wedding, so make it what you want it.
Choosing a destination for your wedding is an exciting decision, but it can also be overwhelming!! Here are some tips to help you choose the perfect destination for your wedding. Consider a place that has special meaning to you as a couple or one that offers a unique experience for you and your guests. Ensure that the destination offers the kind of scenery and vibe that you envision for your wedding photos.
Consider the time of year: Think about the time of year you want to get married and whether your chosen destination is suitable for that season. For example, if you want a winter wedding, you may want to consider a destination with a ski resort or snowy landscape.
Research the destination: Research potential destinations and consider their scenery, attractions, and weather. Look at photos and videos of weddings that have taken place in the destination to get an idea of what your wedding could look like!
Think about your wedding vibe: Consider the type of wedding you want to have and whether your chosen destination can accommodate that style! For example, if you want a beach wedding, definitely consider a destination with a beautiful coastline.
Make it personal! Consider your interests: Think about your interests as a couple and whether your chosen destination can cater to them. For example, if you love hiking, you may want to consider a destination with beautiful hiking trails. If you love the beach, let’s hit up California!
When planning a destination wedding, logistics are critical!
Find the closest airport or map out how long the drive is! Will you need to rent a car? Make sure you rent a car that’s large enough to hold any wedding decorations or supplies — for example, your wedding dress probably shouldn’t be crumbled in the back of a tiny car while you drive cross country. When planning your decor, consider renting from a vendor that’s local to your destination. Or carefully pack up all the decor you’ve planned!
When thinking of the country or state your wedding will be in, look up the marriage certificate laws too! In some places, you have to apply for a marriage license a certain number of days before your wedding. For example, in Nevada, there isn’t a waiting period between filing for a license and receiving it.
Make sure your officiant is certified to legally marry you guys in your location!! Oftentimes, people who plan a destination wedding will get married at the courthouse in their hometown before their ceremony. This prevents them from needing to mail their signed certificate to the county where the ceremony was or worry about if their officiant is even allowed to marry them.
Consult with a wedding planner or travel agent: If you’re having trouble deciding on a destination, consider consulting with a travel agent who specializes in destination weddings. They can provide you with advice and help you find a destination that meets your needs and budget. Think about finding a wedding planner that’s familiar with vendors that are local to your destination. When thinking about how to plan a destination wedding, a wedding planner takes SO much off your plate!
Some people might think that they need to find a photographer who’s familiar with their destination! But that’s not always the case. There are sooooo many photographers (myself included!) who travel frequently for their clients. And there are a dozen factors to think about besides the photographer’s home base.
Are they flexible? Are they willing to help you plan your timeline and answer any questions? Are they good at researching and scoping out photo locations for you? Do you like their shooting and editing style? Most importantly — do you wanna spend ALL DAY with this person on the most important day of your life?
Consider your photographer’s availability for pre-wedding shoots, post-wedding shoots, and any travel costs that may be incurred. Research, ask for references, and look at their portfolio!
I’m ready to help you document the best day of your life — whether that’s sunrise on the beach, in the beautiful desert landscape, or overlooking a mountain range during golden hour. I know the love you found takes your breath away so let’s find a location that does the same! I have an elopement package that’s perfect for adventuresome couples who want some thrill or just like things a little different. And it includes helping you learn how to plan a destination wedding!
Planning a destination wedding requires careful consideration and research. Take the time to think about your budget, guest list, aesthetics, and interests! With the right destination, you can create a beautiful and unforgettable wedding that you and your partner will cherish for years to come.