July 29, 2020

How to Plan a Destination Wedding That’s Fun for You and Your Guests

Have you wondered how to plan a destination wedding? You might feel like it’s a daunting task, especially when you don’t live in the city of your wedding. My largest suggestion would be to hire a wedding planner who lives in the wedding city.

Make sure they’re reputable and present a portfolio that meshes well with your style. This will be the best decision you make for your celebration. Beyond hiring a planner, my 8 tips in this post will help make your destination wedding planning much easier.
How to Plan a Destination Wedding That's Fun for You and Your Guests

1. Brainstorm Locations and Check the Local Calendar

Try to avoid planning your wedding on a weekend of a national holiday or festival in your destination city. Make sure that there will be activities available to your guests who prefer a more active vacation. In some locations with extreme temperatures, shops and restaurants tend to close for particular seasons. This can either be to your advantage (fewer people) or disadvantage (less to do).


2.Consider Guest Budgets and Health

While a tropical destination wedding halfway across the world may seem ideal to you, consider if it’s possible for your friends and family to travel easily. If you know that a majority of your guests can’t afford to attend due to health or budgets, perhaps consider an easier destination.

Manchester Terrace at Wedding at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, Cavin Elizabeth Photography 

3.Weather Conditions

Research the for your potential wedding destination. You and your guests should be comfortable, not miserable due to seasonal conditions like rain, snow (unless you want it!), hurricanes, etc.

Rancho Valencia Hacienda wedding private venue rental, film by Cavin Elizabeth Photography 

4. Guest Experience

When planning a destination wedding, I recommend putting together a list of fun local activities for guests as well as a few goodies to gift them. Assemble a welcome bag with maps, treats, mini champagne along with lists of dinner, hotel suggestions, childcare, and travel suggestions. Another option is to plan a getaway for you and all of your guests to do together like a sightseeing tour or a stingray encounter if you’re on an island.

Image of pink entrance to Sands Hotel spa in Indian Wells, Cavin Elizabeth Photography 

5. Hire a Full-Service Planner

Having a planner help you will put your mind at ease because they will be experienced either with destination weddings and/or local vendors. This is your first (and only) destination wedding you have ever planned, so look to an expert to help you out with your wedding and local-related questions. This will take a lot of the stress off of you and your fiancé so choose a planner you trust to help arrange everything. They are the expert on weddings and will also know a lot about travel accommodations, activities, traffic, etc. Hiring them for full-service will cost more, although it will be 100% worth it for the stress relief and smoothness of planning.

White reception with white draping and carpet ceremony Pelican Hill Wedding - Cavin Elizabeth Photography 

6. Photography

If there is any vendor that maybe shouldn’t be local to your wedding city, it’s your photographer. Why? Well, you spend so much time with them on your wedding day, so being able to meet them in person and have your engagement session with them is incredibly important. Flying just one vendor to your destination wedding will be so worth the decision when you notice how comfortable you feel with them on your wedding day.

Weddings at Rancho Valencia on the Croquet Lawn, Cavin Elizabeth Photography - San Diego film photographer 

7. Other Vendors

To find vendors in your wedding city, consult your planner for great recommendations for your style. Other options include browsing the top wedding blogs for their recommended vendors. Style Me Pretty’s Little Black Book has so many amazing vendor suggestions from photographers to venues to planners and more.

Weddings at L'Auberge Del Mar - San Diego Film Photographer Cavin Elizabeth Photography 

8. Packing Guide

The few weeks before your wedding, you will be extremely busy and overwhelmed, so create a typed or written packing guide to avoid leaving anything behind. Don’t forget to pack leisure wear and cash in the proper currency! Consider packing earlier than just before the night you leave for your destination wedding, even if you’re typically a packing procrastinator. Relax and enjoy your last night home before jetting off to your wedding destination!

how to plan a destination wedding, editorial wedding photographer

And if you need a little help planning your honeymoon, I’ve got you covered for that too!