How to Prepare for Your Destination Wedding in 2025

Destination weddings are an increasingly popular choice for couples who want to celebrate their love in a unique and memorable way. However, planning a destination wedding can be challenging, especially if you don't speak the language and are not there to check everything out in person. Here are some tips on how to prepare for your destination wedding and make sure everything goes smoothly.

There are different things to think about when you're getting married abroad.

Updated March 14, 2024

The first three steps are interchangeable in timing; it all depends on what you value the most. If you're dead set on a location/venue, that's your first step.

When looking for a location and venue, look for a place that has the perfect combination of scenery, weather, and cultural attractions that represents who you are, and that your guests will enjoy. If you're legally looking to get married there, research local laws and regulations. And really focus on that weather; do you really want to get married in Tuscany in the summer when it's 40°C+? Let me give you some more advice on getting married in Europe.

For weddings in late June-August, I might suggest going to a more northern region, like looking into getting married at Lake Como, around the Alps, Iceland, or Norway. 

September-November has a lot more options, almost anywhere is great. Tuscany and south of France will be cooling off and in the end of October you will get beautiful autumn leaves in some places. If you want those gorgeous leaves, check out anywhere around the Alps and Dolomites.

December-February is for all of you winter-wonderland seekers. I suggest (again) the Alps, Dolomites, Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Iceland. They are all places that you can really get proper snow and have those magical, cozy feels. If you like downhill skiing/snowboarding, go for the Alps/Dolomites. If you prefer cross-country and reindeer rides, go for the Nordic countries. If you want to see the northern lights, definitely the Nordic countries or Iceland.

April-early June is good for those who like colourful flowers. You will find the lavender fields in the south of France beautifully blooming, and it's a lovely time of year to be there. By June, you can already go swimming because it's warm enough, so if you like to swim I might suggest the French Riviera or Amalfi Coast. Spain and Portugal also have a lot of great options. The Greek islands will also have a nice temperature and less crowds.

Lake Como, Italy in October

Choose the Right Location

If photography is your biggest priority, make sure your dream photographer is available, no matter where they're based. Or, find the perfect photographer in the general area that you're looking (I'm based in Europe, so let's connect!).

This is a very personal thing for everyone because you need to choose not only a style that you like, but also someone that you vibe well with. Don't just go for the cheapest option (though please do if you like their style!), really investigate these people, see what they offer, and if it works well for you, your partner, and whatever kind of wedding you're having.

Pro tip: your photographer should help you at least a bit with your timeline as getting those photo spots in there are very important! The smaller the wedding (or elopement) the more involved your photographer will be with your day, and the more help they are likely to provide with that timeline or suggestions on what to do and who else to hire.

Choose your photographer

If you just want things organized, and you don't want to run into issues or setbacks, then hiring a planner should be your first priority.

A destination wedding can be more complicated to plan than a traditional wedding, so consider hiring a wedding planner who specializes in destination weddings. A professional planner can help you with everything from booking vendors and venues to handling travel arrangements for your guests. They can be particularly handy when you don't speak the local language and are not physically at the location to check things out yourself.

It can also be a big plus for getting in touch with your vendors, as when you hire vendors from Italy (for example), they will be running on the slow-paced "Italian time" (they're living la dolce vita, can you blame them?!) and may not respond in a timely manner. So getting a planner to deal with all that is much less frustrating! I happen to know a wonderful planner, and you can find her here.

Tuscany, Italy wedding

Hire a planner

It's so important to communicate with your guests to ensure that they know as many details as soon as possible of your destination wedding. Send out save-the-date cards and invitations well in advance, and provide your guests with information on travel arrangements, accommodations, and local attractions. People will likely need to arrange transportation together once they are at the airport, so perhaps book a private shuttle that everyone can take at the same time, then no one has to worry about car rentals and parking (which can be a pain in Europe)!

Send out Save the Date's

Create a timeline that outlines all the tasks you need to complete leading up to your wedding day. This includes booking accommodations and travel arrangements, choosing a venue and vendors, sending out invitations, and finalizing details like menus and decorations, and not to mention how the big day will go. Make sure to include deadlines for each task and set reminders to stay on track.

When it comes to the day-of timeline, your photographer and planner should both be fully involved. Your photographer will know the best times for photos and should have the professional knowledge to let you know different options for how your day can look.

Create a timeline

Despite your best efforts, things can still go wrong, but that's ok! Be prepared for the unexpected by creating a contingency plan for any possible scenarios, such as bad weather or flight delays. Your wedding planner can help you figure out backup options where necessary, but just make sure not to stress if something happens.

Vancouver Island, Canada wedding

Plan for the Unexpected

Don't forget that this is the best day of your life! Enjoy, relax, and have fun. You chose this destination because you knew it was going to be an incredible experience for everyone, and don't worry, everyone is having the best time ever.

Preparing for a destination wedding requires a bit of extra planning. Choosing the right location and planner will help you immensely with the task ahead, but even if you don't have a planner, don't be discouraged. Your wedding will work out beautifully and everyone will love the excuse to go on vacation for a celebration.

Enjoy the Experience

As a destination wedding & elopement photographer, I am very happy to share my years of expertise with you and give you more tips and tricks to help you make your destination wedding come true.

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