What do you do when you want to create a spectacular experience for you and your guests on the big day? For some, it means planning a destination wedding. With big aspirations of tropical beaches, romantic countrysides, coastal wineries, serene forests or dreamy cliffsides, there’s always a dilemma looming in front of couples when they’re ready to move forward: how to plan a destination wedding.
Before 2020, nearly 20% of couples opted to host their wedding out of town, and with travel restrictions easing up and most people craving a much-needed getaway, destination weddings are going to be in high demand over the next few years.
Hosting a destination wedding doesn’t mean it needs to be hosted internationally either. It could be somewhere you both love to visit on vacation or a new part of the country you’ve always wanted to explore. Whether you want to host friends and family in a cozy chalet in the Rocky Mountains or you’ve been dreaming of swapping vows at a charming resort along the Amalfi Coast, the key to planning a destination wedding is to get organized, research the location and plan in advance. But how can you truly vet a wedding destination without being there — especially when it comes to less-traveled locales? High-tech but easy-to-use tools make this part of the job much easier.
If you’re looking for more ideas on how to plan a destination wedding, consider these tips from some of the top wedding planner experts in the industry:
5 Tips for Planning a Destination Wedding
When planning a destination wedding, you’re coordinating an event that’s intended to create memories that will last a lifetime — for the to-be-wed couple and the guests. For many couples going this route, it’s a prime opportunity to combine both the wedding festivities and the honeymoon into a single location.
For that reason, it’s a good idea to fully consider various destinations both domestic and international to find one that checks all the boxes. As you sit down to plan a destination wedding, keep these tips in mind:
1. Narrow Down the Location
With endless destination options, settling on a single location might feel daunting. To intensify the weight of this decision, couples may want to tie the knot somewhere they’ve never been.
Whether you want to explore your dream spot and plan out an itinerary for the big day or you want to compare different locales before settling on a destination, SkyFi’s high-tech satellite imagery makes it possible. Through its easy-to-use app, wedding planners can obtain on-demand, high-resolution and, most importantly, real-time images and video footage of any location in the world without the added expense or hassle of traveling to the destination during the planning process. To the delight of overwhelmed wedding planners, SkyFi simulates an “eyes on the ground” experience that eases the stress of wedding logistics and activities for guests both before and after the ceremony.
2. Research Destination Accommodations
During the planning process, you want to ensure your destination of choice has all the necessary accommodations for a wedding. Does the quaint, European village have enough lodging for guests? Will the sandy, beachside ceremony be accessible to those who need extra assistance?
These are just some of the questions you should consider when you start to plan a destination wedding.
Additionally, you’ll want to keep an eye on travel warnings or political events that happen in the region, as they might affect travelers, airports, trains and buses.
As health concerns and requirements continue to change and evolve, stay up to date with any news that might affect you or your guests.
3. Keep a Budget in Mind
Even if hosting a destination wedding is non-negotiable, you’ll want to consider how accessible the location is for the guests you want there too. Conduct initial research to understand the total costs (travel, lodging, etc.) your guests will face if they choose to attend your special day. Is that a figure you feel comfortable asking guests to spend? One of the best ways to keep a budget under control is by hosting a wedding at an all-inclusive resort, as the cost of accommodations typically includes food and drinks.
Another important factor is to determine when the wedding will take place. Depending on where you want to host the celebration, weather, vacation time and school sessions are all factors that need to be considered for everyone involved.
On the topic of budget, SkyFi’s satellite tasking capabilities allow you to capture an on-demand image or video of your target location(s) at a reasonable price. A few hundred dollars is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that the location you plan your wedding around measures up to your expectations.
4. Create an Experience for Everyone
One of the biggest advantages of hosting a destination wedding is the ability to treat guests to the special location and activities you’ve chosen. After all, many guests will choose to treat a destination wedding as a vacation, and as such, will likely be eager to explore.
As you sit down to create an itinerary of activities, look for things that highlight the culture and beauty of the surrounding area — guided tours and food and beverage tastings are two activities that interest most visitors regardless of age.
For the more adventurous guests, excursions and outdoor activities are equally as fun and memorable.
Through SkyFi’s accessible app, planners can explore the surrounding areas in a way that makes sense both financially and logically before even arriving.
5. Hire Experienced Vendors and Professionals
Planning a destination wedding can often require coordinating all of the details sight unseen.
Reduce stress during this stage by connecting with local, highly professional and experienced wedding vendors — ideally those who are very familiar with any limitations or ordinances in place in the area. They’ll also ensure you have all the necessary paperwork and marriage documents in place before arriving.
From the moment the wedding party and guests arrive to selecting food or accommodations, these vendors will help make each step as seamless as possible.
What To Avoid When Planning a Destination Wedding
Even with the best planners by your side, there are some things you’ll want to avoid in order to keep the event as stress-free as possible:
Send out invitations well in advance of the wedding. You’ll need to give guests plenty of time to set aside money or vacation days to make it to the festivities. In most cases, six months to a year is enough time to give your guests a chance to make necessary arrangements.
Don’t check your wedding day attire. The last thing you want when you arrive at your wedding destination is to learn that your luggage has been lost. Always carry on the dress and/or suit to ensure you have them in your possession at all times!
Understand weather patterns and seasons. Want a wedding in the Carolinas during summer or in Montana during winter? When planning a destination wedding, always have an idea of what seasonal weather patterns are common in a given area — you don’t want to run the risk of a hurricane or blizzard taking over your wedding weekend.
How to Memorialize Your Wedding Day
Flash forward: It’s your wedding night. The grueling planning process is over, your guests arrived safely, the ceremony was everything you envisioned and you concluded the evening on the dance floor surrounded by your closest friends and family.
How can you commemorate this unforgettable day? Sure, there are the wedding photos and video footage, but how can you honor this memory in a way that’s next-level special? While SkyFi can seamlessly play the role of wedding planning assistant, its capabilities are just as valuable for post-wedding use. Task a satellite to capture a moment in time (from space!) from your special day and cherish the image forever.
The Secret To Planning a Seamless Destination Wedding
Planning a destination wedding is a big undertaking, but with the right tools and resources, it’s easier than ever to create the celebration of your dreams. Allow yourself plenty of time during the planning process, do your research and consider technology a trusted confidante. On-demand satellite images are a must for a bride (or groom) looking to gain an “eyes on the ground” perspective of potential destinations without the burden or financial strains of travel. Through its easy-to-use app, SkyFi allows wedding planners to obtain high-resolution and, most importantly, real-time images and video footage of any location in the world (you can't do that with Google Earth!) without the added expense or hassle of traveling to the destination during the planning process." Download now for access to high-resolution, on-demand satellite imagery at the click of a button. Happy planning!