23 September 2023

Why You Should Definitely Have a Destination Wedding

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Your Ultimate Guide to Planning a Spectacular Destination Wedding

Destination weddings have become increasingly popular in recent years, and it’s no surprise why. The idea of getting married in a breath-taking location with your closest loved ones is a dream for many. However, planning a destination wedding can be overwhelming, and it requires a lot of careful consideration and preparation. Consider this your go-to guide for planning the perfect destination wedding, regardless of where you choose to say “I Do”.

an ariel photograph of the Positano coastline. a beach filled with blue umbrellas, surrounded by a village built into the sunlit hills and clifftops. yachts are docked at the small jetty.
Image by Dana Berez

Is a destination wedding for us?

If you’re the kind of couple who craves a wedding that’s as unique as your love story, not just a ceremony but an experience, then a destination wedding is perfect for you. Picture this: saying “I do” amidst the timeless beauty of a Tuscan villa or exchanging vows against the majestic backdrop of Lake Como. With a destination wedding, the possibilities are boundless. It’s an opportunity not just to tie the knot, but to embark on a journey that immerses you in the local culture, creating memories that will be cherished for a lifetime. You get to set the stage for your story.

Why have a destination wedding?

Still tossing up on if you should have a destination wedding? Although the planning process may seem overwhelming, there are numerous benefits to consider, such as:

  • Destination weddings are generally less stressful due to the assistance of wedding planners and coordinators
  • These weddings can be more cost-effective than traditional weddings and are often cheaper
  • You can combine your wedding with a vacation and spend time with your loved ones
  • It may help you limit your guest list
  • It’s a great way to start your honeymoon, which is always a bonus!
a black and white photograph of a bride and groom blurred out in the foreground, looking at the Positano coastline in the distance during their destination wedding.
Image by Sarah Joy Landon

Choose the Perfect Location

The location you choose for your destination wedding will most likely have the biggest impact on your experience. Affecting travel time, budget, and the overall aesthetic and feel of your big day.

You might want to choose a place that’s special to you and your partner, like where you got engaged or had your first international trip together. Before you lock anything in, make sure you understand any travel requirements or restrictions that could affect you, your guests or the legality of your vows. Check for things like passports or visas, travel warnings, health concerns, and political issues.

It’s important to consider all of your nearest and dearest, especially older family members. If the destination you choose will be difficult for them to travel to, consider alternatives like a virtual ceremony. You want everyone to be able to celebrate with you, no matter where they are.

Selecting the date of Your Wedding

Choosing the perfect wedding date can be a tricky affair, especially when planning a destination wedding. Apart from your availability, it’s essential to research the weather conditions during your preferred season to avoid any unexpected surprises. Peak season usually means more travel time and larger crowds, leading to fewer hotel options and higher prices overall.

If you must book your wedding during peak season, be sure to book your venue and hotel room as soon as possible. Alternatively, consider hosting your wedding during the shoulder seasons, which are the times just outside the peak season. You’ll still get great weather conditions but for less money.

I recommend you avoid choosing the off-season for your wedding, as it’s not popular for a reason. Poor weather conditions and a lack of activities may ruin your special day. Every destination is different so get Googling!

Once you’ve picked a date, send your save-the-dates eight to twelve months in advance. Official wedding invites should go out six months before the wedding. This will give guests plenty of time to make their travel arrangements and avoid changes in costs.

With guests paying for expenses such as travel fees, hotels, and activities, costs can add up quickly. Be mindful that some guests may not be able to afford to attend your destination wedding. Don’t be upset if they decline the invitation, and make alternative plans like a virtual ceremony or celebration.

a black and white photograph of a bride and groom in an old convertible driving through the Italian countryside during a destination wedding.
Image by Giuseppe Marano

Hire a Wedding Planner

A wedding planner can be invaluable when planning a destination wedding. They can assist you in finding the perfect location, coordinate local vendors, and manage logistics. Hiring a planner who is familiar with the location you have chosen is even better. They will have local knowledge and connections to ensure everything runs smoothly. Some countries have residency requirements or other prerequisites before you can legally wed there, so a planner will be able to help you navigate any hurdles that may come up.

Head here to see my top picks for European wedding planners to work with on your destination wedding.

a view of the ocean from Positano, a yacht speed away on the water. a Tuscan villa with open archways sits on the left. a green tree to the right, framing the ocean view. destination wedding.
Image by Kreativ Wedding

Consider Your Guests

When planning a destination wedding, it’s important to consider your guests. Will they be able to afford the travel and accommodation expenses? Will they need assistance with transportation and visas? It’s important to provide your guests with as much information as possible to help them make decisions about attending your wedding.

Providing a list of accommodation options in varying budget ranges can be a great help for your guests. They’ll feel more comfortable staying close to other guests from the wedding, especially if they’re visiting a foreign country for the first time.

To reduce costs, consider offering hotel room blocks. You may negotiate a lower discounted rate while ensuring guests stay together. Call the hotel before picking a date to ensure that you’ll have options for guests.

Lastly, consider the distance between the accommodation, venue, and airport. If accommodation is closer to the venue than the airport, you may need to plan for transportation options like shuttles or rideshare services to make travelling easier for guests.

a bride and groom embrace under the bride's veil along a rocky coast in Puglia, Italy. destination wedding.
Image by Monica Leggio & Giuseppe Marano

Tips for Saving Money on Your Destination Wedding

Getting married in a far-off location can be less expensive than a local wedding (yes, less!), but if you’re looking to save even more, here are some tips to consider:

  • Choose an off-day for your wedding: By having your wedding on a weekday, you can save money on the venue and spend more time enjoying your destination. Additionally, flights and accommodation will likely be less expensive on weekdays.
  • Look into all-inclusive resorts: All-inclusive resorts may seem expensive at first, but they can actually save you money in the long run. By purchasing one of their packages, you’ll get flowers, cake, entertainment, food, drinks, and more for a set price. These packages can also take some of the stress out of wedding planning.
  • Use nature as your backdrop: If you’re getting married in a naturally beautiful destination, take advantage of it. Instead of spending money on decorations, let the scenery be your backdrop.
  • Incorporate local elements into your wedding: Your destination is home to unique flora, cuisine, and more. Use local ingredients and décor to cut costs instead of importing expensive items.
  • Keep an eye out for flight and hotel deals: Use websites like Skyscanner, Google Travel and KAYAK to book travel and set up price alerts so that you’re notified when prices drop. This way, you can be sure you’re getting the best deal possible.
a newlywed couple walking on a rooftop in Santorini at sunset. the groom holds his brides hand, leading her. destination wedding.
Image by Cara Mia

Plan Activities for Your Guests

Your guests will undoubtedly be thrilled to celebrate your special day with you. Consider showing your gratitude by expanding your itinerary to include activities for them as well. While some couples opt for a full-blown wedding weekend, there’s no need to go that big. You can keep it simple by hosting a welcome party or post-wedding brunch.

If your wedding location is known for its local activities or cuisine, consider organising a group outing or a tasting. This is a great opportunity to bond with your guests and immerse yourself in the local culture. Mangiare!

Honeymoon Bliss Begins Here

Why stop at just a wedding when you can seamlessly segue into an epic honeymoon? With a destination wedding, you’re not just saving on logistics; you’re unlocking a longer, more relaxed getaway. The money saved on a separate honeymoon can be reinvested in experiences that will deepen your connection and create memories that you’ll remember fondly.

The photos. The album. The memories.

Your European wedding gallery and album will be nothing short of spectacular. Incorporating a backdrop that exudes old-world charm while embracing the natural splendour of your chosen location, your photographer will have an incredible canvas to craft the story of your love. Whether it’s the charm of an Italian village on the coast, the allure of a Spanish beach, or the grandeur of Paris, your photos and films will reflect the beauty of your union.

Choose Your Own Adventure: Begin Planning Today

So if you’re thinking about planning a destination wedding, these are a few things to consider to make sure everything runs smoothly. Choosing your location wisely and understand the legal requirements for getting married in a foreign country. Hiring a local wedding planner can help with this and also provide recommendations for vendors. Don’t forget to consider guest accommodations and transportation, and be sure to communicate all details clearly with your guests. Finally, get creative with your itinerary to show your appreciation for your guests and to fully experience your destination.

Head here for more planning and budgeting tips.

A European destination wedding isn’t just an event; it’s an odyssey. It’s a chance to celebrate your love in a way that’s uniquely and authentically you. With the potential to save on costs and create a celebration that defies convention, it’s no wonder that more and more couples are choosing to have a destination wedding. If you’re still on the market for a photographer or videographer to capture your wedding, get in touch with me — I’d love to be a part of it all.

Evelina x

Evelina Katarzynski

Featured, Inspiration, Planning, Travel, Weddings

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Why You Should Definitely Have a Destination Wedding

Planning

23 September 2023

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