Wedding Planning Tips

4 Tips for Planning a Destination Wedding

February 7, 2024

Italy Wedding Planner


Planning a Destination Wedding
Photography: Ashley Spangler

Planning a Destination Wedding

Destination weddings have their own unique challenges. While wedding planning isn’t easy, destination weddings require additional time and attention to detail for a successful result.

In this post, we’ll be discussing our top tips for couples planning destination weddings from a destination wedding planner.

Focus on Experiences

Experiences are what make destination weddings special. Your chosen destination often has meaning, whether it’s where the proposal took place or one of your favorite travel destinations.

One of the best ways to experience your destination wedding is to focus on creating immersive experiences for you and your guests. Immersive experiences are signature of the area, and often have sensory elements.

You can incorporate immersive experiences from small details to unforgettable experiences. For example, you could include a bottle of olive oil from your villa in the guest welcome bags, or for an intimate group you could attend a pasta making class.

These types of unique experiences make destination weddings special, and give you even more quality time with your guests. Destination weddings tend to have more intimate guest counts on average compared to local weddings due to the travel involved, and excursions are perfect for small groups.

Brainstorm ideas by asking yourself what you love about your destination. What do you love about your destination? Are there signature experiences the area is known for? What are the sights, sounds, flavors, and experiences of your destination? Is there anything special about your venue you could incorporate?

Don’t Make Assumptions

It’s important to remember that what is normal or expected varies from place to place. While this may seem obvious, it’s easy to assume something true of an American wedding would be true in another country.

Weddings, venues, and vendors can have differing roles and policies from place to place, and it’s important not to assume anything during the wedding planning process. This is especially true if you are not working with a full service wedding planner to guide you.

Incorrect assumptions can cause issues even in the small details. For example, if you assume your catering company will place your reception dinner menus and place cards and that is not included in their duties, this can put you behind schedule, cause disorganization, and cause unnecessary stress.

Always ask questions. Your vendors want you to have the best experience and want things as organized as possible, and they will be happy to answer your questions.

Planning a Destination Wedding
Photography: Ashley Spangler

Don’t Leave Problems for “Future You”

Oftentimes in weddings, couples get overwhelmed in wedding planning and put off solving problems for later. When a couple is planning a wedding without a wedding planner, this often means the problem is never solved and causes unnecessary stress on the wedding day.

This scenario happens often with small issues. The problem is that these small issues add up, and can eventually create a snowball effect. Then “future you” has problems to deal with on your wedding day, in the heat of the moment, at the last minute. This is unnecessarily stressful and avoidable.

Wedding planning can be overwhelming, for sure. This is why it’s important to take breaks. When you feel overwhelmed, check out of planning for a while and do things that bring you joy and reduce stress. This is why we recommend a wedding planning-only email account. It keeps everything organized, while also allowing you to disconnect whenever you need to. Come back with fresh eyes and find a solution that works for you.

Planning a Destination Wedding
Photography: Ashley Spangler

Make The Easy Choice

In this same vein, make the easy choice. What this means is don’t create unnecessary errands for yourself or your loved ones on your wedding day when a convenient choice is available. An example would be breakfast/lunch on the wedding day while everyone is getting ready. Don’t put this off until the last minute and send a family member for a “quick run” that turns into an hour, puts everything behind schedule, leaves everyone hungry and grumpy, and doesn’t include anything for your vegan bridesmaid.

Instead, make the plan ahead of time, even for the small things. In this scenario, if you’re getting ready at your venue and the caterer will already be on-site, ask ahead of time if you can add snacks, sandwiches, or other bites to your order for getting ready. Alternatively, plan to bring veggie trays, pastries, and snacks with you.

The takeaway is not to give yourself errands or tasks on your wedding day. You will not have time on the wedding day to organize your escort cards, finish your gift bags, or other tasks that can happen ahead of time. Although it can be tempting to DIY things to save budget, it’s often not worth the time and stress for yourself or your loved ones. When possible, outsource to your vendors so you and your loved ones can fully enjoy the day.

Planning a Destination Wedding

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behind rsvp events


American wedding planner based in Paris, France curating unforgettable experiences with art de vivre in Europe and the United States.

As seen in leading publications such as Martha Stewart Weddings, Raela has serviced weddings and brands both stateside and abroad, from the sun-drenched hillsides of Southern California to the resplendent châteaux of France to the lemon trees of Positano. With unparalleled attention to detail, Raela’s specialty lies in creating unforgettable, exquisite, sensory experiences.

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