Tips for Planning a Destination Wedding

Back in 2019 I married my high school sweetheart. We unexpectedly had a destination wedding due to our budget and priorities. My husband and I had a BEAUTIFUL wedding in Los Cabos, Mexico at an all-inclusive resort. It was honestly way better than anything I could have done for myself. It left my family wishing they had a small destination wedding too. 

 It was a relatively easy process, but there were some things we definitely did not think through when planning our destination wedding. In this blog post, I’m sharing everything I wish I knew before we ran off to say “I do”. 

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Newlywed couple on their wedding day kissing at sunset

Giving Notice to Your Guests 

If you want guests at your destination wedding, you’ll likely have to send out save-the-dates early. Your guests will need time to be able to request PTO, save up financially, or get their passports if that’s applicable. When planning a destination wedding, I didn’t think about the logistics my guests would have to plan out. This led to my sister not having enough time to renew her passport and she couldn’t come to my wedding. 

Before planning a destination wedding, reflect within yourself and be okay with people not coming. That is the harsh reality of destination weddings. I was perfectly fine with people not coming, but looking back it still hurt that key members of our family and friend group weren’t able to make it. 

Legally Getting Married

Think about what you need to do to make your marriage legal. Especially if you’re getting married outside of the country, you’ll likely need to be in said country (or state) in order to get legally married. I personally didn’t feel like jumping through all the hoops to get legally married in Mexico (my husband is also a baby and didn’t want to get his blood drawn), so we opted to get legally married in our home state. We then had a symbolic wedding once we were in Mexico. So, a week before we left for Mexico, we got married by a stranger we met off of Facebook in a random downtown bar. How romantic!

Beach wedding ceremony venue settings, white sand with panoramic ocean background, tree in foreground, clear sky, flowers bouquet floral decoration for arch, the roses petal on the aisle walk way. Weave wooden chairs arrangement for guest decorated by white sash organza.

Find a Wedding Planner

I like to consider myself a DIY kind of gal, but I highly recommend getting a wedding planner for a destination wedding. If your destination wedding is at an all-inclusive resort, you’ll likely have a wedding planner included in the wedding package. They will know all the best venues, vendors, and can help plan logistics to make your big day less stressful. If you DIY a destination wedding, you’re at the mercy of google and I believe word of mouth recommendations can help you find some true hidden gems. 

Consider Your Budget 

My husband and I opted for a destination wedding mainly to save money. A wedding plus a vacation at an all-inclusive resort costs way less than a traditional wedding. With that being said, the costs can add up very quickly especially if you want to have welcome/farewell events for your guests.

 I know you want to lessen the burden of your guests since they have increased costs of traveling, but most people understand that weddings are expensive. Make it clear to your guests that there’s no obligation to attend your wedding and (back to point #1) BE OKAY WITH PEOPLE NOT COMING TO YOUR WEDDING. 

Cheap flights with cashback

Family Drama 

Planning a destination wedding will most likely lead to family drama. I am giving you permission to politely remind your family members that unless they want to pay for a traditional wedding for you, then they have no say. This is your wedding and whether you are planning a destination wedding because you love traveling, want an intimate ceremony, or want to save money then communicate that to your family. It is your wedding, and you deserve to celebrate how you see fit. 


I hope that you have found these tips for planning a destination wedding helpful! If you’re still debating on whether or not you should have a destination wedding, I would highly encourage you to check out one of my past blog posts about Why You Should Have a Destination wedding. Happy planning and I truly wish you a beautiful day and a lifetime of happiness!


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