How to Plan a Destination Wedding

Wondering when to have a destination wedding? How much in advance should you inform the guests? Who should pay for accommodations? Here’s how to plan a destination wedding.

How to Plan a Destination Wedding


Destination must have all of the resources you need. It also has to be safe. Make sure there are no political issues, health concerns or travel warnings.


Provide booking websites and recommendations for accommodations. Secure as many group rates as you can. Provide a group rate for flights, in addition to the hotel room blocks. Also check about group rates with local transportation companies (car rentals, shuttles). Don’t set the wedding date until you are sure there’s room availability for everyone.

Hire a planner

Find a coordinator or planner that specializes in destination weddings. Have an expert take care of everything, instead of spending hours on the phone.

Visit the venue in advance

You should see the venue once before the booking and again 3-4 months before the wedding day (to finalize the details). If it’s not possible for you to make the second trip, arrive at least 5 days earlier, to make all the decisions and to have make up and hair trials.


Set up meetings with rental companies and florists in your destination. Ask the venue for referrals. If you want to bring specialists from home, you should cover their lodging and travel costs.

Additional events

Guests will enjoy additional activities. Welcome party is a very popular choice – it can blend with or follow the rehearsal dinner. You can also organize tastings or group tours. You don’t have to plan every single activity for the guests, but take the time to compile some recommendations for the days surrounding the wedding. Provide contact information for best restaurants and local activities.

Unexpected expenses

Be sure to include unexpected expenses in the budget, such as airport transfers, baggage fees, shipping costs and non-vendor tips.

Local marriage requirements

Different countries have different legal requirements. You might need birth certificate, medical certificate, letters of intent, proof of residency. Educate yourself far in advance and make sure you have enough time to get everything together.


For international travel, you’ll need a valid passport. For domestic destinations, you’ll need a driver’s license. Double-check the expiration dates. Depending on the country, you might need a list of previously visited countries or health records.

Welcome bags

Assemble welcome bags for your guests. Include local maps, sunscreen, water bottles, treats and snacks – be sure the items fit the destination and wedding theme.

What are your thoughts on how to plan a destination wedding?

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