Congratulations you are getting married!
This is such an exciting time in your life, and I am sure you can’t wait to get started on all of the planning. Already you must be thinking what is the perfect wedding location for you.
In the beginning, we take anywhere from minutes to hours, to days to be over the moon, crazy ecstatic that we are engaged and then we switch right into wedding planning mode.
Where are we going to get married? Who will we invite? What will it look it? All the ideas and visions and plans start swirling through your head uncontrollably.
This is a great thing, it’s super exciting. Who doesn’t want to plan their dream wedding and share with everyone all the plans they have for the perfect day?
Sometimes couples have already talked about where they are going to get married or what the dream day would look like. Others haven’t even touched the topic and now they are engaged and exploring all that could be for their special day. SUPER EXCITING!
When it comes to planning a lot of people ask me where they should start, what is the most important thing to do first? I don’t really think this is a one answer fits all kind of thing. It’s so different to everyone where the best place to start is.
Don’t get me wrong I can tell you all about budgets and vendor contracts, these will come, but when we are talking about the actual true start of the planning process this is the personal part. This is finding out what really matters to you both and talking about it, writing it down, and getting on the same page.
You will really want to take some time to chat with each other and no one else first to make sure you as a couple are on the same page. That you both know what the perfect day would look like for YOU.
Then you can start talking to others and looking at logistics.
When you take this time … which trust me you should really take this time to talk to each other, discuss the 4 pillars.
It is so important to understand what you both want from all these areas of the wedding. In areas where you are not on the same page, talk about it, find the balance. This is your first task on the road to your marriage, find balance.
Taking this special time and having this openness with each other will make the whole experience so much more stress-free and enjoyable as a couple.
Now that you have chatted these things through and have a good understanding as to what both are looking for it’s time to look at the fun decision of choosing the perfect wedding location for you.
This really is the most exciting time as the world really is your oyster and you can get married anywhere in the world that you desire. It used to be so much more limiting but now getting around is so easy and destination weddings are the norm.
These are things that you will want to consider when you are choosing the perfect location for you:
Now this is not just for you but for your loved ones as well. If you are eloping and it is just the two of you, I think that things like travel time are much less of a constriction but if you are having a wedding and inviting family and friends you will want to consider how big of a trip is too big of a trip.
I personally think that anything 10 hours and under is fair game. Now for some people even this could be challenging so really think about who your guest list would entail and how this would affect them.
Are long travel times doable? Not only physically but for length of stay. If taking a 8-10 hour flight most guests would want to consider taking an extended trip for up to 2 weeks making this their annual holiday. Is that amount of time doable for your guest list?
Also, remember that long hauls can mean time changes and that can mean jet lag. How will this make you and your guests feel? Will this affect timing and your overall wedding day?
2. Are there size capacities?
If you are travelling to a small island do, they have venues that can hold your guest count?
Are there enough accommodations available for everyone?
Is there flight capacity for everyone?
When travelling to other destinations there is not always the capacity to hold larger groups for a weekend or more. You will want to research to make sure that the destination you are looking at has room for your ideal guest count.
Autocamp Yosemite is a super fun and unique wedding destination venue but they have a capacity of 48 people.
Santa Caterina in the Amalfi coast is stunning but can hold 45 max.
Sassaba Africa– a dream, but can take 25 max.
Now you do not have to stay in a boutique space but before you fall in love with a space make sure it has the capacity for your invite list.
3. What is the local currency?
It is always good to look at the local currency and see what the exchange rate is. This will play a large factor in working with not only your own budget but also understanding if it will make it more expensive and less reasonable for your guests.
Keeping within budget is so important but also having certain things will be important for you so understand if the exchange rate will affect that. In some cases, you will even find it’s in your favour and a great reason to get more bang for your buck. For example- if you live in the states are looking Morocco the exchange is hugely in your favour at .11 to the Moroccan dollar.
4. What are the local logistics?
There are many things logistically that can affect your wedding based on the location. For example, in Paris you need to be in the country for 40 days before you can legally get married there. If it is on your important list to make sure your wedding day is fully legal and binding, then this would not be an option. If you don’t mind getting your actual marriage license before or after in another country, then this can still be on your list.
Some countries don’t allow live music on a Sunday, or ceremonies after sunset or any drinking after midnight.
It is so important to understand the local logistics of where you are considering making sure they work for all of your other dream elements before diving in.
5. What is the local weather like?
If you are set on having a July wedding in some places this will be rainy season or hurricane season so having a wedding outside may not be possible. Depending on the time of year there can be weather restraints that can really affect your big day. If you are specific about wanting a Christmas snow wedding, know the reality of snow in your location.
It is good to know what the local weather locks like to help you either in choosing the location or choosing the perfect date/ time of year to get married.
6. How safe is the destination?
Having your wedding should be a memorable time and you should feel nothing but ease and relaxation. Be conscious of how safe the location is that you are looking at and if there are any things you need to know regarding safety.
This can be anything from understanding if the tap water is safe to drink, to local plants and animals that can be dangerous or current political issues that are causing safety issues.
Make sure to check if there are certain vaccinations or medications that are required for certian destinations.
Know your locations risk factors and weigh them out for you and your guests.
7. Can it check most of your boxes?
Take that list you both made of the must haves and don’t cares and see how many of the boxes each location checks. If a sunset ceremony, in the sand, with no humidity in January is your must haves than the Caribbean is going to be the place for you.
If Christmas wedding in the snow with a castle for 400 people to sleep in is your must haves, then Lausanne lakeside castle in Switzerland is the place for you.
If 10 people on adventure safari in the outback off the grid is on your must haves, then Zebra Hill is for you.
There are so many amazing places in the world and you can love them all but you just want to make sure that the destination you choose checks most or all of you must haves list (for both of you).
8. What are the local vendors like?
When having a destination wedding it can be challenging to plan from a far so choosing a destination that has great local vendor support is key. You want to have people with their feet on the ground that you can trust and rely on in order to remove unnecessary stress.
Research who the local vendors are, reach out, see how quick they respond and how helpful the response is.
Always remember to follow your gut and make sure there is a reliable connection.
If having a small intimate venue talk to the venue, they may offer these services. IF not, they will have great planner recommendations. If having a large wedding reach out to a planner or if you find a vendor you love (photographer, florist, make-up artist) reach out and ask them for their recommendations. If you find one person that you love because they are on top of things and make you feel safe odds, are they work with like-minded people.
Finding the right destination may seem like a process but the key to all of this is to make sure that you are enjoying the process. Make it a date night. Order pizza and a bottle of wine and research together. Dream of what your wedding could look like in all different destinations and venues. Its super fun to think about all they could be even if they are not what ends up happening.
If you are so busy and just can’t even think about researching locations don’t stress, there are people that can help you with this. There are many services that help with destination wedding planning and location research., including ourselves. Lets chat about it!
Just know that the perfect location is so personal to you and what you desire as a couple. As well as how it will fit in your overall vision. However, if you take the steps above I am sure you will find the PERFECT wedding location for you, your Hubbs and all of your loved ones.
We would love to know where you are considering. Leave us a comment below on your top picks or where you are getting married, and we will happily share any information we have on your destination.
I’m Amanda Jane and I’m your lead planner and CEO at Direction Events. I founded Direction in 2018 and with 15+ years currently in the wedding and hospitality industry, I help soulmate-level couples plan their dream weddings in Stunning Grand Cayman and beyond.