The Ultimate Destination Wedding Checklist

Planning a destination wedding is pretty similar to planning a domestic wedding, all things considered. You still need to seek venues for your ceremony and reception (and ensure you book them well enough in advance), select your bridal party, find the perfect dress, organize a cohesive color scheme, and try not to tear your hair out from stress. 

Weddings aren’t all sugar and spice, whether you’re getting married in your own backyard or on an exotic beach on the other side of the Atlantic. The good news is that if you succeed at planning an excellent destination wedding, you and all of your loved ones will have an unforgettable experience. Before you rule out the possibility, consider these simple steps you can follow.

Select your location

While some may organize a faraway wedding as their first chance to jump on a transatlantic flight, many couples who choose to go the destination wedding route are well-travelled. You and your spouse might have fallen in love in a specific city or travelled somewhere together that became meaningful to you over time. Maybe you met you spouse while travelling, and find it appropriately symbolic to marry in the country where you first crossed paths.

Romantic connotations aside, the location of your wedding is important for another, more practical reason: the weather. While many destination weddings do take place in sunny, exotic locations, you can’t rely on fate to give you a perfect beachfront walk down the aisle. Research the climate of your ideal location and ensure ahead of time that you won’t be booking a wedding during monsoon season.

Give your guests plenty of notice

Unlike shotgun weddings, destination weddings don’t allow couples much room for spontaneity. In fact, unless your entire social circle is self-employed, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to round up every single one of your friends and relatives on your special day. Not only do destination weddings involve a fair bit of travel, they require budgeting and reorganizing work schedules. Professional obligations can and will interfere; if you have friends with kids, their parental duties might have to come first.

Most people are aware that a destination wedding is unlikely to be as crowded as a local wedding, since it requires long-term notice, overseas travel, and extra work for the bridal party. (We won’t tell you if you’re secretly relieved if a certain guest can’t make it.) 

However, it can be disappointing when you find out a lifelong friend is going to struggle to fit your wedding into their schedule. It is possible to arrange a destination wedding without disrespecting the livelihoods of your loved ones. The trick is planning far enough in advance. The earlier you send out save-the-date cards, the more likely you are to receive the RSVP responses you’re hoping for. 

Book your photographer

More and more wedding photographers are marketing themselves on Instagram with a certain tagline: “Willing to travel!” Not only is this good news for couples throwing a destination wedding, it’s beneficial for those who wish to stick with a photographer they know and trust to capture their love story in the most effective and accurate way. 

Rather than relying on an old family friend to take snapshots of your wedding, slide into the DMs of a local wedding photographer and inquire about their rates for destination weddings. You’ll pay quite a bit extra for the travel expenses, but the quality of the photos will far exceed your wildest dreams.

Whether you choose to hire a local or foreign photographer for their services will depend entirely on your personal convictions. If you’re determined to support your local business owners, stick with someone from your own community who is down to hop on a plane with you. 

On the other hand, if you and your spouse prefer to integrate some of the foreign culture into your wedding, you might prefer to hire a photographer based in the city where you’ll be tying the knot. It assuredly adds a certain je ne sais quoi to get your French wedding documented by a Parisian, and no one knows the best way to capture love in the fjords better than an Iceland wedding photographer.

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