The Fundamentals of Destination Weddings

destination-weddings-feature-082515mcFeatured Photographer: Pahountis Photography | Wedding Planner: Stella & Moscha

Planning a destination wedding seems nothing but dreamy but we want to warn you that it can be just as stressful, if not more, as planning a local wedding. Though the idea of exchanging vows in a more intimate setting with a stunning backdrop is extremely appealing, know that there’s a lot more you’ll have to factor in. With the long distance factor getting in the way of making decisions, there’s a lot of organizing and pre-planning you’ll have to be prepared to do for destination weddings.

On the upside, destination weddings are a great way to enjoy a vacation with your beloved guests and it’s a great way to save money! If you’re just starting to plan your destination wedding, you’ve come to the right place. We will guide you through the basic fundamentals of destination weddings to help you get started!

destination-wedding-1-082515mcFeatured Photographer: Jose Villa

Where To Wed

The idea of exchanging vows in a gorgeous venue outside of your hometown is appealing and exciting. Now, the the best part is deciding the where. One of the great aspects of having a destination wedding is that you’ll be able to express yourselves as a couple with your destination. If you and your fiancee love the beach, wed in a tropical destination like Hawaii or Jamaica. If you love wine, consider Napa Valley. When considering where to wed, make sure you factor in the travel plans for your guests — it may be harder for your 80-year-old grandma to travel 14 hours for your wedding.

RELATED: The Hottest Beach Destination Wedding Dresses of 2015

destination-wedding-2-082515mcFeatured Photographer: Lightedpixels Photography via The Wedding Scoopdestination-weddings-9-082515mcFeatured Photographer: Kayla Barker

When To Wed

Getting married in a destination spot is awesome for many reasons including that it can serve multiple purposes such as a much needed vacation or even your honeymoon. This is also the case for your wedding guests as well so when deciding when to wed, keep in mind that your guests will have to make their accommodations for their upcoming “vacation”. Send them save-the-date mailers 10-12 months in advance (or as early as possible) to give them ample time to book flights, hotel rooms, make plans for excursions and to request time off work. Also, after you choose your destination, make sure to avoid peak vacation seasons as rates will generally be higher, and plan wisely as to avoid hurricane seasons or unbearably hot months.

destination-wedding-3-082515mcFeatured Invitations: Beyond Design via Etsydestination-weddings-18-082515mc

Featured Photographer: Steve Steinhardt via Style Me Pretty

RELATED: Best Destination Wedding Photographers

Booking Vendors

Many hotel packages offer a wedding planner as an included service. We highly recommend that you take advantage of hiring a wedding planner to help you navigate through unfamiliar territory. If it’s a different country, they may have different marriage laws you’re not familiar with. Also, it’ll take lot of stress off your hands as they can recommend trusted local vendors which will save you hours of research. When hiring your own vendors who will be traveling with you, remember to provide travel and accommodation for them. And for your guests, don’t forget to have transportation available to and from the hotel (or at least make recommendations) and on the wedding day.

destination-weddings-5-082515mcFeatured Photographer: Jose Villa

With the long distance factor getting in the way of making decisions, there’s a lot of organizing and pre-planning you’ll have to be prepared to do for destination weddings.

destination-weddings-4-082515mcFeatured Photographer: Jose Villa

Plan A Trip

Before you finalize anything (venues, vendors, etc.), take a trip first! Make a checklist of all the things you’ll need to do while you’re out there. Narrow down the venues you’d like to visit, meet your wedding planner, schedule hair/makeup trials, meet with the caterers to do tastings, and explore if possible. You’ll want to have activities planned out for your guests so maybe you can sneak in an activity or two to keep this planning trip somewhat fun! If time and money allow for it, try to go more than once to make sure you cover all your bases.

destination-weddings-14-082515mcFeatured Photographer: Mirelle Carmichael

Meeting with your wedding planner before your big day will help you achieve the wedding of your dreams, especially if you go prepared with a list of questions. They will be able to better understand your vision of how you want the day or weekend to look.

destination-weddings-6-082515mcFeatured Photographer: Jose Villa

Take Care Of Your Guests

While it’s a nice treat for your guests to be able to travel to a beautiful place to witness and celebrate your marriage, it’s still a costly trip that they might not have otherwise taken. After flight, hotel, wedding gift and activities, it can easily add up to a $1000-$2000 trip.

destination-weddings-7-082515mcFeatured Photographer: Jose Villa

To thank them for traveling a long ways for your wedding, prepare little gift baskets or goodie bags for each guest. If you’re tying the knot in a tropical beach location, consider including sunscreen, water and the island’s famous treat. Also, make sure you are able to secure a room block for your guests at a discounted rate and/or provide a house where the guests can stay.And lastly, host a welcome dinner and a day-after wedding brunch so that you can one, spend more time with them, two, have fun talking about the amazing moments from last night and three, thank them for coming. Regardless of how you do it, try to acknowledge their attendance in a way that will help them feel appreciated for traveling a long way.

destination-weddings-8-082515mcFeatured Image: Tie That Binds Weddings via Etsy

RELATED: Glamorous Mexico Destination Wedding By The Beach

destination-weddings-17-082515mcFeatured Photographer: Steve Steinhardt via Style Me Prettydestination-weddings-10-082515mcFeatured Photographer: Jose Villadestination-weddings-11-082515mcFeatured Photographer: Jose Villa

More Tips

Utilize these infographics to have a better understanding of some of the basics of planning a destination wedding. These helpful tips should give you a good general concept of what to consider when planning.

destination-weddings-12-082515mcFeatured Image: Couples Resorts

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Featured Image: Marriott via Savvy Deets Bridal

Though this is not the complete wedding checklist of everything you need to do when planning your destination wedding, these are the fundamentals that will help you get started and on the right track. Keep these pointers in mind and you’ll be on your way to a well-planned destination wedding!

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Wedding Etiquette Tips: Destination Wedding via Brides
Everything You Need To Know About Destination Weddings via Bridal Guide
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