Doing Your Homework: Where to Start Researching/Planning for Your Destination Wedding


Did you realize that one-quarter of today’s engaged couples will choose a destination wedding to celebrate the beginning of their lives together? Gathering your closest friends and family and taking off to an exotic or distant locale is no longer something reserved for celebrities and the super-rich. It is reality and totally within your reach. You simply need to know where to start!

Research Your Preferred Destinations

Most couples begin their planning online. You’ll want to narrow your choices down to your top destinations, then compare the factors that are most important to you as a couple. These could include cost and ease of travel, local attractions, amenities offered by the resorts or hotels you’re considering, or any number of qualities specific to your personal preferences and needs.

Enlisting the help of a destination wedding specialist can transform your planning experience, taking all of the guessing and much of the risk out of the equation. While most traditional vendors like photographers, florists, DJs, and coordinators are bundled into packages offered by most all-inclusive venues, you might still want help with travel arrangements for you and all your guests, logistics, or even personalizing your event with local entertainers or other custom features that can be handled by an expert. You can certainly search these online yourself, being careful to read reviews from reputable sources. However, a destination wedding planner can make the entire experience seamless and practically stress-free.

The Destination Wedding Planning Timeline

In general, when planning a destination wedding, the earlier is better for everything. Secure your date as soon as you know where and when you hope to wed – 12 months or more in advance is best in most cases. This not only ensures that you have reserved the venue of your dreams, but also it gives your guests time to make arrangements, save up the resources to fund their travel, and accrue time off with their employers. Ideally, you’ll want to send out save-the-dates 8-10 months in advance. Aim to have all pertinent details available to guest on a wedding website 6-8 weeks in advance, latest.

Understand Destination Wedding Budgets

As you’re allocating your budget to your expected expenses, keep in mind that the average couple tends to spend just under $2000 for accommodations for a five-night trip and about $1,200 on flights. Wedding packages average $4,625, typically inclusive of flowers, décor, music, and the like. Generally, these rates are for all-inclusive resorts, so food, beverage, and many activities are included, but anything personalized outside of the package inclusions could add to the average rates.

The Most Common Destination Wedding Planning Mistake 

The most common mistake when planning a destination wedding is choosing a venue or resort based on family and friends’ opinions rather than taking expert advice from your destination wedding specialist. Not all resorts are created equal, and different personalities are attracted to different features. Your specialist will be able to help you pinpoint exactly which destination is the right fit for you based on years of experience, so trust them!

It’s easy to get started planning your destination wedding today. Follow the above advice, consult with an expert specialist, and enjoy a celebration to remember for a lifetime.

Megan Velez is the Vice President of Product at DestinationWeddings.com, the world’s leading destination wedding, and romantic travel planning company. DestinationWeddings.com has worked with nearly 25,000 couples and half a million guests to plan dream destination weddings. DestinationWeddings.com is one of the award-winning brands in the Celebration Travel Group collection.