There’s something extra special about a destination wedding. It’s such an intimate time spent making memories somewhere beautiful with your favorite people. But while a wedding getaway is undeniably special, how do you go about finding the destination wedding location that’s right for you? There are so many factors to take into account, and the logistics can get a little complicated, whether you’re imagining a tropical fling or something a little more local. How do you put all the pieces of the puzzle together? Here are some of my suggestions for where to start.
Have a discussion with your partner. The first step is to sit down and talk through what you both want from your wedding and your destination must-haves. After all, it’s your wedding – it should feel like you! Here are some of the questions to ask yourselves:
- What is your style? City or beach, romantic or adventurous, formal or informal? There’s no point considering a tropical island wedding if a snowy destination wedding in Colorado is more your speed.
- What size of wedding do you want? Picking a destination is much easier when you know how many guests you need to accommodate.
- Do you have a date or season in mind? If you do, this will limit the parts of the world (or the country) that are available to you.
- What is your budget? The easiest way to narrow your destination wedding location search is to know how much you can spend.
- What are your honeymoon plans? If you already have a honeymoon spot picked out, then it may make sense to have your wedding at the same destination or nearby, to save on travel costs.
Consider your guests. While the wedding is ultimately about you, it’s important to take their needs and limitations into account. There are lots of reasons why guests drop off a destination wedding RSVP list. For example, travel and accommodation costs and not having a passport. Your grandparents may not be able to take a long journey, while your maid of honor might have childcare considerations or a lack of vacation days. And then there are health considerations like Zika. Think about the family and friends who are must-have attendees and then note down their parameters, from family friendly resorts to affordable flights and accommodation. And remember, a destination wedding doesn’t have to be abroad! There are many amazing US locations, including the chic ski resorts and stunning mountain scenery of Colorado. No passport required!
Do your research. Once you’ve started to get a feel for which locations might work, it’s time to pick a handful and start researching. This is the fun part of destination wedding planning! Look for information as well as inspiration (although I don’t blame you if you spend some time swooning over beautiful pictures on Pinterest). Find out about the legal requirements, the average cost, and how easy it is to plan a wedding in each destination wedding location. You should also think about climate, busy seasons (including festivals and holidays), and the availability of accommodation.
Know when to compromise. Choosing a place for your destination wedding can involve a little (or a lot of) compromise. You may need to choose a location that your guests can travel to easily, or your partner may be dead against a place you’ve fallen in love with. The good news is that the world is a very big place, so with a bit of creativity, you can usually find a happy middle ground where you get what you want, even if it isn’t what you originally had in mind. And who knows? You may fall in love with someplace new along the way.
Image by Brandon Werth