The First Steps to Planning a Destination Wedding

It may be more complex than you think.

“A destination wedding is a great choice when you wish to host an intimate affair in a unique environment,” shares Lorrie Betsill Neilson of Unveiled Hawaii. She also notes it’s a handy way to lower the guest count. The downside of hosting nuptials in a faraway land is that it can make planning much more arduous. Of course, hiring a full-service event company like Unveiled Hawaii can be an immense help, but there are still plenty of decisions the couple will have to make on their own. 

how to start planning a destination wedding
Photo by Nancy Cohn Photography; Planning & Design by Posh Parties

Usually with destination weddings, a location is the first thing that’s decided upon. Likely, you and your beloved had an idea of where you wanted to tie the knot even before you were officially engaged. Once you know where you want to get married, it’s best to find a planner who is accustomed to destination weddings, whether they are local to the region or will be traveling alongside you. Unless there’s a resort where you have been vacationing for years, it will be helpful to have a professional to help you find a venue. 

In comparison to local nuptials, invitations should be sent much earlier. Once a date and venue is secured, you’ll want to get started on your save the dates – they should be sent out a year in advance. Lean into the theme, have the save the dates and invitations fit with travel or the locale where the wedding will be held. Don’t forget to set an earlier RSVP deadline as well. If you are having décor or rental items shipped out, you will need to account for travel time and may need to have your final head count sooner. 

Be cognizant of the fact that a destination wedding, while potentially a fun vacation, is also often somewhat a burden on your guests. Pamper them as much as you can, starting with generous welcome baskets. Tailor your location choice and, more importantly, accommodations to fit the needs of your attendees, be that family-friendly activities, outdoor adventures, or nightlife.

For more tips, learn the secrets to an effortless destination wedding, how to plan your floral design, and invitation inspiration

Authored by: Emily Lasnier