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10 Tips for Planning the Dream Destination Wedding

Picture of Leena Kollar
Updated: 7 February 2017

Planning a wedding can be overwhelming. Planning a destination wedding requires even more attention to detail. Before you start picking out wedding invitations, consider these 10 tips when putting together your dream destination wedding.

Choose a dress that fits the destination

Deciding on a wedding dress is quite possibly the most important decision a bride will make. And when it comes to a destination wedding, the dress should fit the location. If you’re planning a wedding on a tropical beach, you want your dress to be more casual and flowy. If your wedding destination is somewhere akin to a royal lifestyle, a dramatic princess-style dress would be a good choice. You don’t want to be overdressed or underdressed, and your bridal gown should complement the theme of your wedding.

© Nopparat Nambunyen/Shutterstock

© Nopparat Nambunyen/Shutterstock

Take into account travel logistics

Most of your friends and family members will be thrilled to attend your destination wedding. But you want to be realistic about the logistics. Does your chosen destination have flights – especially direct flights – that are readily available to your guests? Are the airfare prices reasonable? Will the location be overcrowded during the time you plan to have your wedding? It’s not enough to pick a place and go with it. If you actually want people to come to your wedding, you’ve got to make the travel process as easy and enjoyable as possible.

Pick shoes that coordinate with the day

Yes, you want your wedding shoes to match your dress. But you also want them to be practical for your celebration. If you’re getting married at a monument with lots of steps, you probably don’t want to wear super high heels. Likewise, if your wedding will take place on the sand, something like sandals with rhinestones would work better than dressy pumps. As you figure out what to wear for your big day, make sure your dress, shoes and wedding location all work together.

Think about your bridal party

If you’re lucky enough to find a group of ladies who love you enough to stand by you on your wedding day, you better treat them well. Having a destination wedding means your girls will need to pay for their airfare, hotel, car rental, etc. On top of all that, they also have to buy their bridesmaid dresses. If you want to keep these women in your inner circle, try to find the best dress and travel accommodations that you can, but at a reasonable price. Your bridesmaids standing next to you is more than enough of a way to support you, and you can thank your gal pals by giving thoughtful consideration to their finances.

© IVASHstudio/Shutterstock

© IVASHstudio/Shutterstock

Check the weather

Even if you get married in the city where you live, the weather doesn’t always cooperate. So before you settle on a destination, do your research. While you can’t predict the weather for your wedding day, you can at least figure out the likelihood of rain, snow, or a heat wave. You want to consider the weather not just for purposes of enjoying your day but also because inclement weather can affect travel. If you or your guests can’t get to your wedding location, there can be no wedding.

Think of the children who will attend

If you’re inviting friends and family with children to your wedding, remember them as you make your plans. Will children be permitted to attend the ceremony? If not, you’ll need to find a form of childcare or another way to keep the children entertained. If children are not allowed to attend, some guests might choose not to come at all. You get to decide whether or not you want children in attendance, and if you decide it’s fine for them to be there, you’ll want something in place to make sure they have a good time. An understanding attitude on your part will also be helpful if children become disruptive.

Put local food options on the menu

With all the time and money your guests are going to spend to attend your wedding, they will expect to eat delicious food. One way to truly capture the essence of the destination is to create a wedding menu that includes foods exclusive to the area. If there isn’t a big selection or the choices are not what you think your guests would like, be open to other ideas. Call and speak to residents to see what suggestions they have, and ask if there is a dish or drink that is popular.

Prepare a budget

Your guests aren’t the only ones who will be expected to pay their way to your wedding. If you’re going to be responsible for your own travel costs, you should prepare a budget. Add up the estimated cost of plane tickets, taxi fares, hotel rooms, and other non-wedding expenses. Leave some wiggle room for unexpected charges and use this to determine whether or not your ideal destination is going to be financially doable. The easiest way to crush your dream wedding vision is by planning it and then realizing you can’t afford it.

Schedule time to relax

It is always a good idea to arrive at your destination well in advance of your wedding day. Jet lag is real, and you also need time to adjust to your new surroundings. Take a day or two beforehand to get settled, become familiar with the area, and relax. Wedding day jitters are bound to happen, so give your brain and body time to get acclimated. If you aren’t planning to take your honeymoon right away, it’s also good to give yourself a couple of days after the wedding to unwind.

Plan your wedding with your honeymoon

One of the great things about having a destination wedding is that it makes honeymoon planning easier. You could choose to stay at your destination for an extended period of time as your honeymoon, or choose a location nearby (within driving distance or a short flight). If you can plan to have your wedding and honeymoon within days of each other, travel planning will be much less burdensome. It’s a lot easier to pack up and head somewhere when you’re already in a traveling state of mind. You’ll also have more time to spend with your new spouse if you choose a honeymoon location that is quick and easy to reach.

Philippines | © Kai Lehmann/Flickr

Philippines | © Kai Lehmann/Flickr