Important Tips for Planning a Destination Wedding

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destination wedding

As you all know, Ben and I recently had a beautiful destination wedding in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. It was perfect in so many ways and an absolute nightmare in others. I have so much to share you with, but in the mean time, I’d love to share these Destination Wedding planning tips from Monica Nolan with you. Please do share your own tips in the comments if you have experience with planning a destination wedding!

When planning your big day, there are many options to consider when it comes to choosing the location. Many couples like to stay close to their family and friends, while other couples will opt for a destination wedding. Destination weddings are becoming increasingly popular and for many reasons: jetting off to a topical locale with your closest friends and family seems almost like a dream; it has the potential to save money; and you’re already a hop-skip away from an ideal honeymoon locale. However, planning a wedding in a different location is a large undertaking and there are many things to consider and mistakes to avoid, as you can see below.

Choosing a Wedding Planner

If you think you can plan it all yourself, think again. Choosing the location, décor, flower arrangements and accommodations while in another country has proved to be extremely difficult. It is highly advised that you choose a wedding planner that specializes in destinations weddings and also understands your vision. Not only will the wedding planner understand what shade of purple you want your table cloth to be, but he or she will know exactly how to obtain the fabrics with the resources close to the wedding location.

Know the Requirements

Always take into factor what the marriage requirements are in the country your wedding is taking place. You can plan your perfect destination wedding but end up getting it all turned down when arriving to the location. Some places have residency requirements that must be fulfilled before you can legally marry there, while others may simply ask for you to apply for a wedding license a month in advance. Whatever way you choose to do so, always remember to bring all necessary documents, and on time.

Picking the Location

How far you are willing to travel, what kind of weather you prefer and the type of backdrop you want are all important to keep in mind when choosing the location for your wedding. The destination should be a reflection of both the bride and groom, but at the same time needs take into account what the guests would be most comfortable with. Asking them to fly across the world to Australia for a beach wedding is not feasible for most people – the time it takes to travel coupled with the price of tickets would be a strain. If you are looking to have a beach wedding and warm weather, you could instead head down to the Florida Keys, which is a short flight for most people in the US.

After choosing your location, it would be best to head out there at least once before your wedding day. Checking out the photos of the area and venue websites will not suffice when it comes to making important decisions. Make sure you go during the right season your wedding will fall around; after all, seeing a beautiful location in October can look completely different in July. If you already don’t have a location in mind and need a few ideas or inspiration, Elle put together a list of the top 10 wedding destination locations for you to browse through or you can check our list too.


So, you have decided to head somewhere tropical and you want to have your wedding right on the beach. It is important to keep in mind, at this point, that your attire is going to vary quite a bit from a traditional wedding. A groom may opt for an outfit that consists of a linen shirt and pants, rather than a heavy weighed down suit. The bride should shy away from large ball gowns that will pick up a lot of sand and heavy fabrics that will trap heat. If you are unsure of exactly what would be acceptable for the beach, you can also check out our Groomsmen Outfit Ideas along with my personal wedding dress search ideas.


It may come as a surprise to many, but destination weddings can actually be a lot more affordable than a wedding close to home. The reason for this is that the guest list is minimal and there are a lot of package deals that can cut down on costs of air travel and the hotel. Planning far enough in advance allows for all of your guests to work together in choosing the same flight, hotel and activities they plan on doing outside of the wedding. The New York Times put together a little “how to” with saving on group deals, from cruises to airfare.

Based on the number of guests, many resorts will also throw in things like your room, the ceremony, and the reception. Here is a run-down of what a destination wedding at Now Amber in Puerto Vallarta would be like.

Be Prepared

Throwing a destination wedding is the “big leagues” of planning, so if you are truly serious about making the trip and tying the knot across the world, start investing, and get to planning! 

25 thoughts on “Important Tips for Planning a Destination Wedding”

  1. Fantastic post. If you want to have some unique and ancient place for your wedding check this article: http//

  2. Awesome post! Picking the location is probably the hardest part of a destination holiday! The research in a destination wedding is the most vital part…you can’t just do it over the internet…you have to go to the country you are interested in to get the most efficient information…and for the peace of mind. Hotels are probably the best bet as they can incorporate everything in house to your bespoke requirements!

  3. I sort of have done that before – but it was in the states – way up in Eureka Springs Arkansas back in 1994 – the marriage didn’t last but I can’t forget the beautiful wedding that took place up there. I remember taking a few trips up there to finalize everything.- But yeah, not sure I’d do anything like that again though – lots of back and forth stuff.


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