South Seas Adventures Blog

How to Start Planning Your Destination Wedding

Destination Wedding Planning - Where to Start

Whether you have just begun the planning process, or have already started making decisions, planning a wedding can easily become overwhelming. Especially with a destination wedding considering so many of the details are planned from afar.

Don't worry though...we've got you covered with these 5 steps from the destination wedding experts at South Seas Adventures designed to ensure your destination wedding goes off without a hitch!

#1 Choose a destination

Whether it’s a beach, historic city, vineyard or the mountains the first thing to consider when planning a destination wedding is the actual location. Things to consider when choosing your destination wedding location are:

  • Weather - what’s it like, hot or cold?
  • When is the best time of year to travel to the destination?
  • Is it a desirable location that your guests could turn into their own vacation?
  • How far will your guests need to travel?
  • Are passports required?
  • What are the average costs for accommodations, flights & activities for your guests?
  • What is the accessibility for older guests, handicap needs and/or children?

#2 Begin Planning the Details

Once you have chosen your destination, you will need to decide if you are going to work with a wedding planner and/or travel agent to assist you with all of the details, or if you will be planning them on your own. If you decide to work with a wedding planner, you will need to choose either a planner local to the destination or one closer to home for you. Whichever you decide you will need to begin planning the details. Here are some of the most important items that you will need to begin researching, and securing for your big day!

  • Wedding Ceremony Venue
  • Wedding Reception Venue
  • Hotel or Resort for Accommodations (with this it’s good to select a few price points)
  • Pre & Post Wedding Activities or Excursions
  • Rehearsal Dinner Venue
  • Day After Brunch Venue

#3 Confirm the Details

Once you have chosen all the details, you should confirm them with agreements and deposits. It’s important to do this before you send any information to your guests to prevent them from having to make any changes to their travel once they’ve made their own reservations. This is also a good time to start researching vendors for day of services such as:

  • Photographer Videographer Caterer (if not included in the venue)
  • Hair & Make-up Music (ceremony & reception)
  • Cake
  • Day of Wedding Coordinator (if you opted to plan the details yourself you may want to think about a day of coordinator to help you on the day of your wedding.)

#4 Get Your Guests Ready!

If you haven’t already you will need to make your guest list, and don’t put this one off! With a destination wedding you want to make sure to send out your save-the-dates as soon as your location and venue have been secured. You want to make sure that your guests have enough time to budget and plan for their travel. Things you will need to do to ensure your guests are well prepared are:

  • Set up a wedding website Save-the-Dates (you will want to send these out at least 6 months in advance)
  • Wedding Invitations
  • Itineraries with suggested activities, accommodations and helpful tips
  • If you chose to work with a wedding planner introduce them to your guests
  • Begin thinking about welcome gifts and thank you gifts for your guests
  • Choose a travel agent to assist your guests’ in planning their travel (Helpful Hint: It’s free to work with most travel agents so take advantage of their knowledge!)

#5 Enjoy the Moment

One of the best things about a destination wedding is that your guests generally arrive a few days before and/or will stay a few days after. This allows you the luxury of time with your friends and family, so that you don’t feel you need to rush to see and speak to everyone on your big day. Be sure to plan ahead so that you can take full advantage of this with some fun activities for you and your guests to do together. Group excursions such as snorkeling, ziplining, scenic cruises, hikes are great ways to spend time and be active with your guests. Optional group meals - outside of your rehearsal dinner and day after brunch plan for casual cocktails or meals that can be optional for your guests to RSVP to. Girls & Boys Day - it’s fun to split the group and have all the ladies do something together such as a spa or pool day while the boys are off for a round of golf or fishing. It allows each of you some one on one time with your guests.

It’s also important to set time aside for you and your soon-to-be spouse, so make sure to work that into your agenda.

Most of all enjoy every moment of your happily ever after!


Ready to get started? Learn more about our Destination Wedding Planning and get in touch with one of our Destination Wedding Experts today!

Margaret Ybarra
Margaret Ybarra

Margaret Ybarra is an innovative marketing consultant with over 10 years of experience forming integrated marketing campaigns through content marketing, email marketing, paid advertising, SEO, SEM, & social media. 

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