The Ultimate Guide to Plan a Destination Wedding

by Bridestory [[ 1443146400000 | amDateFormat:'ll | HH:mm' ]] in Wedding Ideas  


There are couples who want to have their wedding somewhere close to the family, that's why getting married in their hometown might be the perfect choice. However, there are other kinds of couples who prefer to have their wedding someplace exotic filled with deep impressions and memories, perhaps a location where they met or a city that both of them love so much. Imagining how beautiful it would be to exchange the sacred vow, surrounded by panoramic view and vacation vibe, we totally get the attraction of having a destination wedding. But before you get too excited, there are some factors you have to take into consideration before opting to have a destination wedding. Read the complete guidelines here.

The Dos and Don'ts of Destination Wedding


1. Check the weather
This is one of the most crucial issues to consider. In comparison to other months, January is the most popular month to have a destination wedding. However, you still need to do some research because not every country has the same climate. For example, United States and Australia has opposite season calendars.

2. Give your guests a heads-up
Attending a destination wedding will require your guests to check their schedules as not everybody will be available on that specific date. Thus, it's better to inform your guests earlier so they can make scheduled arrangements.This is also important if you're having guests with children. They could consider whether to bring their children along or they could plan childcare arrangements if yours will be an adult-only party.

3. Plan your family accommodation
You should arrange this especially for your close relatives. If you are on a tight budget, you can give advanced information to negotiate whether to pay only for their airfare or their accommodation. Most people will understand as you've spent so much for your wedding needs.

4. Visit the place
Don't take the risk by relying on the photos only. Pictures might be a good reference but they shouldn't be your only decision making tools. What you've seen in the pictures might not be the exact thing you have in mind as the colors in pictures could've been altered to make the venue looks better or the angle it's shot from to make the room looks larger. So, you must make a personal visit to your venue at least twice before your wedding day.

5. Do some research about their culture
As you are hosting your wedding in a different country that has its own value, traditions and cultures, you have to be able to compromise on some matters that they cannot change for you. Things those are urgent for you might to be the same to them. But, just keep the communication intact to ensure the preparation goes well.


1. Feel bad for not inviting everyone
This is your wedding; you're the one who have the right to decide who to invite. Destination wedding is identical with the idea of having an intimate celebration as the guests have to fly hundreds of miles to attend your wedding. So, don't simply invite people just because you feel uncomfortable with people you've never spoken to in 10 years.

2. Bring too many things from your hometown
Get your wedding needs at your dream destination. You might be surprised how great the local options are. For instance, you'd have thousands of antique tableware available if you decide to have a destination wedding in Bali. So, rather than troubling yourself bringing the fragile plates you want to use, why don't you come early and look around locally to find the items that suit your preference best.

3. Forget the timing
There is such a thing as vacation season and usually hotels charge a peak season price. It wouldn't be a big deal if you decide to have an elopement but when you have an intimate wedding to pay along with paying for your relatives' accommodation, you'd end up with higher expenses to bear. So, do research on the local calendar as we've mentioned earlier.

4. Take it easy
Planning ahead is always a better option in preparing a wedding. Arranging a destination wedding requires more effort and time, especially if your venue is in a different time zone. You might have to sacrifice your sleep to call the vendors when you have urgent matters. You must keep a clear and open communication with your wedding vendors.

Amazing Spots to Throw a Destination Wedding

Aside from things to prepare, knowing where to go is the foremost important thing you need to decide first. Most famous places are the ones with breathtaking beach views or mountainside area. The trending rustic weddings also help places with woodland features to soar into the peak of destination wedding location list. To make it easier for you to pick one location to celebrate in, here is a slide of the most amazing spots to throw a wedding far-away from home.

  • Photography: via selectvacations

    Bora Bora, French Polynesia

    If you’re looking for a unique tropical affair, Bora Bora might be the answer to your call. Don’t forget their enchanting Polynesian traditional dancing to liven up your Tahiti wedding. The best time to have your wedding will be during their dry winter season which is between June to October as there is less wind but you still can get plenty of sunshine.

  • Photography: Phil Chester Photography

    Mount Robson Park Canada

    Mount Robson Park is great for rustic destination weddings. With the untamed wilderness and a serene location overlooking a glacier river and a majestic view of Mount Robson, it could be the perfect choice for your destination wedding with an all-natural woodland theme. One thing to consider, this place might not be able to accommodate large number parties and the accommodation available is restricted to a log cabin-styled facilities.

  • Photography: via mymaldives


  • Photography: via weddingguidechicago

    Maui, Hawaii

    Being the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands and known for its undoubtedly breathtaking beach view, Maui will surely give you evocative feelings for your most special day. The western part of this island is surrounded with the world’s most famous beaches with various volcanic black and green or supple white gold sands, where the eastern are encompassed with one of the most scenic drives; 620 curves and 59 bridges, known as Road to Hana. And what is more fascinating that in between these two parts, you can explore a majestic waterfall, lush forest, with gorgeous national park. For resort choices, you don’t have to worry; there are many top notch resorts like Fairmont, Ritz-Carlton, and Four Seasons.

  • Photography: via wineyarravalley

    Yarra Valley, Australia

    This place offers numerous wedding venues to host your party; you can have an indoor or alfresco wedding or even both combination of venues. We bet, anything you pick won’t leave you disappointed because everything in Yarra Valley will be wonderfully prepared. And what is a vineyard wedding without the presence of their best local wine to treat your guests?

  • Photography: via ibizaluxuryrent


    We know Ibiza as the best spot for glamorous beach club wedding parties, but Ibiza also has laid-back spots in some locations that might suit your wedding concept. Either one you choose, you can easily have a memorable wedding after party that will easily take your night away with your beloved guests. In Ibiza, you still can have a wedding based on your budget as there are plenty of vendors available.

  • Photography: via theculturetrip

    Cape Town, South Africa

    This town is nestled between the impressive Table Mountain, a glistening golden beach, and not to forget the scenic award-winning vineyards. Have you already spotted where you want to tie the knot? And don’t forget the best time to get married here is in April with the flowery season uprising and the sunny clear sky.

  • Photography: via luxuryfloridalife

    Carribean Islands

    With the numbers of spectacular islands it has, a good starting point might be to decide which island will be your wedding venue. There is Bahamas, an island with the most entertainment facilities and also the capacity to cater a large amount of wedding guests. There are also Cayman Islands that is well-known for world-class diving spot and one of the highest standards of living in Caribbean and Riviera maya, a place with enchanting cultural and historical background that is paired with a captivating natural view, also St. Lucia, with its famous twin Piton mountains. All of those islands are perfect for your dream wedding in a tropical paradise.

  • Photography: Katie Mitchel Photography

    Castles & Palaces

    Europe is a continent with the most medieval castles. If you always dream of having a fairytale-like wedding, then this is absolutely your best destination There is High Clere Castle in Hampshire, Chateau Bouffemont in France, Hluboka Castle in Czech Republic, Clearwell Castle in United Kingdom, and many more. Look around and pick the one that will make you feel like a princess.

  • Photography: Love Train Studios

    Boracay, Philippines

    In 2013, this place was voted as the second most beautiful island in the world after Palawan. This is truly one dreamy place with its soft white beaches, ocean filled with romantic paraws, and colorful parasails up in the air. We can’t hold back our excitement thinking about a romantic wedding in Boracay, can you?

  • Photography: via the 10thvail

    Vail, Colorado

    Vail Mountain overlooking the Gore Range will give you a quintessential destination wedding experience. One of the most popular wedding spot is the 10th, completed with delectable world-class modern and alpine classic cuisines. Without thinking any of the particular seasons, you could have your wedding anytime as it has beautiful indoor venue. However, for us, winter might be the best as the restaurant will overlook to a scenic snowy mountain.

  • Photography: via topratedflights

    Bali, Indonesia

    Often referred to as the islands of gods, you will be mesmerized with Bali’s amazing venue choices, from green paddy fields to stunning beach views, the choice is yours. One thing you have to jot down, according to the Balinese calendar’s New Year, the Hindus will celebrate a Day of Silence called Nyepi. During that day, no one is allowed to do any daily activities, so do your research and avoid to throw any festivities on that period.

  • Photography: viawildalpine

    Denali National Park, Canada

    Getting married in an Alaskan landscape with glacier views and an icy aisle, why not? You’d need a thorough preparation and warn your guests beforehand how cold and slippery it’ll be. Alternatively, this could be a perfect fit for your elopement destination wedding idea and as this location is quite remote for a wedding, it is better for you to get the wedding packages that arrange your transport as well. You will need to take a float-plane flight to enter a glacier wedding venue.

  • Sumba Islands

    Another island in the eastern part of Indonesia known to be a heavenly hideout, Sumba’s natural topography will make you fall head over heels. With a challenging terrain, this place is the perfect getaway if you’re planning to have an elopement, or a very intimate wedding with only 10-20 guests. Although it’s hard to find vendors locally, you could opt for the package deals from a few luxury resorts in Sumba.

  • Bandung Pine Forest Camp, Indonesia

    The breathtaking Pine Forest Camp is located in the city of Bandung, West Java and will be such an excellent choice for your rustic wedding. The exact location of this lush forest is in Lembang, approximately 14.1 km from the main city, the good thing is, it is still possible for you to arrange your guests accommodation in the hotels around Bandung but if you are a kind of adventurous type, they also provide a campground for accommodation.

  • Photography: via businessinsider

    French Riviera

    French Riviera has such an effortless beauty with lavish resorts alongside the coast line. This place will easily win your heart over. If you do want to celebrate your wedding here, then the best time will be starting late September. Don’t worry if you want to have an elegant wedding, this place is the home for many top delicacies of a fine French dining. All of the gorgeous venues are filled with a twist of rich historical French culture; try to visit Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, Hotel du Cap Eden Roc, Chateau de la Napoule, and also Domaine du Mont Leuze and experience it yourself.

  • Photography: Amanda Temple

    St. George, Bermuda

    St. George is the home to the famous Unfinished Church. With the beauty of historical architecture, this is a winner if you are planning to have a vintage yet elegant destination wedding. As the location is outdoor, then it is better if you have your wedding on a bright summertime rather than winter as the windy day can ruin your decoration and looks easily.

  • Photography: via huffingtonpost

    Lake Tahoe, Sierra Nevada

    This is another effortlessly beautiful place that will give an instant romantic vibe for your destination wedding. You’d be surrounded with scenic beaches of magnificent Alpine Lake nestled high in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains when declaring your marriage vows. What could be more interesting than that?

How to Trim the Expenses of Destination Wedding

Destination weddings are exciting and yet expensive, since most of the plan would require you to pay for plane tickets, book a block of rooms for your guests' accommodation and transportation rental for them to get around. Just as Ayodya ─ one of Jakarta's best wedding organizer ─ says, the problem that most couples encounter when deciding on a destination wedding are budget and guest count. So if you're having an issue with these two areas, read these tips to trim the expenses of your destination wedding.

1. Hire local vendors
This is the most efficient option when having a destination wedding. Instead of paying up all the airfare and accommodations fees for the vendors from your hometown, you can actually find the best local vendors in your wedding location. Ask around and do some research before deciding which ones to hire. Our resourceful vendor list will be a great tool for you to plan a wedding miles away from home as you can select the vendors you need based on their location and price range.

2. Double check your guests list
When having a destination wedding, you'd have to build your guest list carefully. Make sure you invite the people who are genuinely willing to put out an effort to travel and celebrate with you.

3. Know the local calendar
Different countries have different holidays as with certain cities with their public holidays. To save yourself from a high wedding expense, find out your destination peak seasons in order to avoid higher charges, especially for the venue.

4. Be thorough with the decoration
Destination wedding is identical with stunning views or majestic architectural buildings you can't find anywhere else to create a lasting impression for your guests. Too many decorations might end up looking tacky. Embrace the beauty of the venue and think why you chose to get married in that place. Remember that, sometimes less is more.

5. Choose the right venue
Remote islands might be an appealing destination as it's far from the buzzing city crowd. But when you choose to host your wedding in an unfamiliar venue, you need to spend extra because there probably aren't many wedding vendors available in the area. There are still many stunning and breathtaking places you could choose with resourceful vendors available.

The Timeline of Planning a Destination Wedding

After all the details, here we'll give you the comprehensive destination wedding timeline to be your guide, you can also print it out and pin it to your wedding board. It's only a reference as everybody has different preferences and schedule. Before stressing over the preparation time, you can follow the basic timeline down below.

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