When it comes to planning a destination wedding, one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make is where to hold it. There are a lot of unique destination wedding locations, and your choice will set the tone for your whole wedding.
With a lot of factors to consider when choosing a location, it can be tough to narrow down your options. Here are some tips to help you choose the best location for your destination wedding:
Table of Contents
- How far are you willing to travel?
- What will the weather be like?
- What are the legal requirements to get married there?
- What language(s) are spoken there?
- Is there a personal significance to the location?
- What is the cost of a destination wedding in the location?
- What venues are available to you?
- What is the overall vibe of the location?
- What is the food like there?
- What kinds of excursions do you want to go on?
- What festivals/sightseeing opportunities are there?
1. How far are you willing to travel?
The first thing you need to consider is how far you and your guests are willing to travel. If you’re planning a destination wedding, it’s likely that not everyone will be able to make the trip. Some locations may be more accessible for you and your guests than others. If you’re on the East Coast, Cancun may be an easier flight than Panama.
You should also factor in how long of a flight it will be for your guests. Your local airport may not have a direct flight to the location, so consider how long of a layover you’re willing to have before your connecting flight. The last thing you want is for people to be too tired from traveling to enjoy your wedding.
2. What will the weather be like?
You don’t want your wedding day to be a washout, so it’s important to factor in the weather when choosing a location. While many destination wedding locations are year-round tropical paradises, you’ll still need to consider the weather wherever you go.
If you’re getting married in the Caribbean, be mindful that hurricane season is from June till November. If you’re looking at having your nuptials in Costa Rica, check if it’s an El Niño or La Niña year.
3. What are the legal requirements to get married there?
Before you can say “I do,” you’ll need to take care of the legal requirements for getting married in your chosen destination. Every country has different requirements, so it’s important to do your research ahead of time.
You’ll need to find out if you need a blood test, how long you have to stay in the country before getting married, and what documents you’ll need. The US Embassy in the country can help you with this.
Alternatively, you can have a legal ceremony before you leave and a symbolic ceremony at your destination.
4. What language(s) are spoken there?
If you’re not fluent in the language spoken at your destination, it’s important to find out what language or languages are spoken there. In many cases, English is spoken as a second language, but this isn’t always the case. Spanish is the primary language across Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. But some countries’ national languages are English, French, and even Dutch.
If you’re staying at a resort, you’ll be able to communicate with staff in English just without any issues. But if you head out on excursions or want to visit local restaurants and markets, learn a few words in the native language to help you get by.
5. Is there a personal significance to the location?
When it comes to destination weddings, many couples choose a location that has personal significance to them. Maybe you have family ties to the country or you took a memorable vacation there.
If you’re looking to honor your heritage, you can get married in the country where your ancestors are from. This is a great way to incorporate your culture into your wedding.
You can also choose a location that holds personal significance for you and your fiancé. Maybe it’s where you had your first date or a place you’ve always wanted to travel to.
6. What is the cost of a destination wedding in the location?
Budget is always an important consideration, especially when it comes to destination weddings. While many couples think they need to spend a fortune on their dream wedding, that’s not always the case. There are plenty of affordable destination wedding locations out there.
Do some research to see what the average cost of a destination wedding is in your chosen location. Once you have an idea of what you can expect to spend, you can start planning your budget.
7. What venues are available to you?
Not all venues are created equal. When choosing a location, you’ll want to consider what types of venues are available. A large tourism hub like Riviera Maya will have more resorts and venues than a small island like St. Martin. If you fall in love with a specific resort brand, check to see where all of their locations are.
Look at each location ahead of time to see what venues are available in your chosen destination. Once you have an idea of what’s out there, you can start narrowing down your options.
8. What is the overall vibe of the location?
When it comes to destination weddings, there are a lot of different vibes to choose from. If you want a more relaxed, beachy feel for your wedding, then the Dominican Republic or Jamaica may be perfect for you. But if you’re dreaming of a luxurious, fairytale wedding, then a location like Maui may be more your style.
Think about the overall vibe you want for your wedding and use that to guide your location choice.
9. What is the food like there?
One of the best parts about destination weddings is getting to sample the local cuisine. Mexico has a huge variety of regional dishes, so you’ll be able to find something to please everyone. The same goes for other countries in Central America and the Caribbean.
Read up on the local food scene to see what you and your guests will be able to enjoy.
10. What kinds of excursions do you want to go on?
Different locations have different activities and excursions. In the winter, you can go whale watching in Cabo, but the waters of the Caribbean are more swimmable and better for snorkeling. Costa Rica and Hawaii both have volcanoes to explore. If you’re more into history, try the Yucatán Peninsula to explore ancient Mayan ruins.
11. What festivals/sightseeing opportunities are there?
If you want your wedding to coincide with a particular festival or event, figure out when it is and factor that into your decision.
In Oaxaca, Mexico, the Guelaguetza festival in July is a rich celebration of the local culture featuring concerts, exhibitions, and folk dancing. If you’re a music fan, Jamaica has lots of reggae festivals during the summer.
Flip through some travel guides to see what kinds of festivals and sightseeing opportunities are out there.
Do your research and factor in all of these factors when choosing a location for your destination wedding. With a little bit of planning, you’re sure to have a wedding that’s everything you’ve ever dreamed of. When you’ve narrowed down your location options, it’s time to start planning the rest of your destination wedding!