The proposal went great, everyone is so happy for the new couple and can’t wait to know the date! How exciting that you are considering the ever elusive “destination wedding.”  

There is no reason that this can’t be an incredible and memorable experience for all involved. Here are eight tips to ensure that your destination, whether it is the Empire State Building or the Tour Eiffel, is as romantic, beautiful and cost-efficient as it can possibly be. 

Tips For Planning an Ideal Destination Wedding
Tips For Planning an Ideal Destination Wedding
1. Pick somewhere meaningful
This may come as a no-brainer, but it is important that the location of a destination wedding be somewhere that is meaningful to both members of the marriage-to-be.  Let the destination be a representation of the love shared between the couple and the sense of adventure that is mutually valued.  

The location should be a source of celebration and not of stress.  The couple is inviting all of their loved ones to share in a place and an environment that they find meaningful. A special destination will be a constant source of excitement and will add to the wedding magic.

2. Tell people early
When planning a destination wedding, it is important to get a head count ASAP.  The headcount will help determine the hotel, and the venue, the two most important and expensive factors in a destination wedding.

Send the invitations out well in advance so that guests will know to buy plane tickets, and to book hotel rooms.  This will also help them plan if they want to make a special trip out of it themselves. When it comes to destination weddings, the further ahead of time things are planned, the more people will be able to attend.

For brides concerned about asking their bridesmaids to make a long trip, considering covering the costs of purchasing bridesmaid dresses as a way of assuaging at least one major wedding related cost.
In addition to sending out save the dates and invitations, consider creating a wedding related website as a way of providing guests with important logistical information via a conveniently accessible medium.

3. Buy a plane ticket for the wedding dress
This may be a tough pill to swallow, but it will alleviate much stress down the road.  Wedding dresses can be massive and transporting them from one place to the next, especially on an airplane can be a huge headache.  

Experts recommend buying the wedding dress a seat on the plane.  That way, there is constant control over the treatment of the dress and no fear of having to shove the dress in an overhead cabin, or worse, checking it as regular baggage.  

Another alternative is to ship the dress ahead of time, but with all of the things that can go wrong at a wedding, a wedding dress shipment arriving at the wrong time should NOT be one of them.  Lastly, make sure to pack a steamer in with the rest of the luggage to give the wedding dress its final touch-ups once it has reached its final destination.

4. Work with a wedding planner
Planning a destination wedding is full of unknowns and cultural differences.  Save yourself the anxiety and work with someone who has done it before! Hire a local wedding planner, preferably one who has worked at that very venue, to facilitate your plans and to be an on-site presence.  
A local wedding planner will know the best vendors, and bands and will act as a liaison when attempting to understand another culture’s planning process.  Though a wedding planner might be expensive, it is much more cost effective to source your wedding locally. The wedding planner will save you so much time in miscommunication and worry.

5. Embrace the setting to save money
One huge benefit of having a destination wedding is the promise of a gorgeous setting.  Use that location to its utmost advantage by planning the ceremony and reception around the natural beauty of the area.

Why spend thousands of dollars decorating an event space when it is just as breathtaking to stick a bunch of wood tables along the edge of a beautiful seascape or gorgeous vineyard. Working with natural beauty is a great way to save a few extra bucks and to appreciate the full benefit of a destination wedding.

6. Research Local Marriage Requirements
This step is easy to forget but is of utmost importance. Marriage requirements across countries and even states vary greatly. Before tying the knot in a foreign city, make sure to thoroughly research the local marriage laws and ensure that the marriage will be legally recognized by the country of origin.  It would be horrible to plan a gorgeous wedding in a foreign land, just to find out that the marriage itself is invalid!

7. Take care of your guests
Your wedding guests have just spent a ton of time and money making sure that they can be there for the far-away special day. Be sure to return the favor by putting together an action-packed, but unpressured, itinerary for them.  

This can be a great way to introduce guests to the local culture that appeals to you so much and also to give your guests a special memory for themselves. By welcoming guests to your favorite restaurants, hikes, water sports, museums, etc. you are showing your gratitude and ensuring a wonderful time for all.  

8. Take a moment to take it in with your fiancée
Most importantly, in all the chaos of wedding planning, travel, and decision-making, it can be easy to forget to connect with the one person who you are there for in the first place.  Make it an absolute priority to have at least a few hours of quality time with your spouse-to-be once you're settled in. At the end of the day, all of this is the celebration of the love between you. It is important to keep that in the forefront of all destination wedding plans.

A destination is a great way to create a truly memorable wedding that is filled with adventure and beauty. When planning a destination wedding be sure to leave enough time for venue and accommodation planning and consider contracting a local wedding planner to help with key decisions.

Once your destination wedding is over, you’ll have endless memories to recall with your partner. 


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