Why you should have a destination wedding + great destination wedding ideas to spark some inspo from a destination wedding photographer.
I know what you’re thinking when people automatically think of a destination wedding…. They think, LET’S GO TO MEXICO!!!! I’m here to tell you that. Is not always the case. Destination weddings are seriously so exciting and fun to plan if you know you want to make a full vacation out of it for your friends, family, and even for yourself. There are so many destination wedding locations in Mexico, Saint Lucia , Hawaii, the U.S. and the list truly goes on and on. You have a whole world to pick from for your destination wedding.
I’m going to chat about why you should have a destination wedding and provide you with some really great locations to think about and possibly spark some inspo for you. If you’re on the fence about booking a destination wedding or not read this blog for that great information from a pro destination wedding photographer.
So what exactly is a destination wedding?
A destination wedding is a planned wedding or elopement at a location where you have to fly or drive to. Most of the time it’s a location that you’ve never been before or maybe have only gone once on vacation. But it is a location that you don’t really get to travel to that often. (most of the time)
I can totally see why people think a destination wedding is automatically in Cancun Mexico, Cabo Mexico, or even in Hawaii. (Those are the most popular ones) But I am here to tell you that your destination wedding can be anywhere you want… Here are a few great destination wedding ideas + locations.
Destination Wedding Ideas and Locations
1: Literally anywhere in Europe!
If you’re planning a wedding in Europe whether that may be in Greece, Italy, or even France please just take me with you. Hahaha I’m just kidding! (I am really not let’s chat sometime?) Destination weddings in Europe can be so so fun. It allows everyone you’re inviting to get a chance to experience a new place and culture. I do feel that this location can be a little more difficult to get to due to the facts that: the flights are definitely longer and getting to your location may take days, there isn’t really a large amount of resort chains for the convenience of being picked up from the airport, and you probably wont ever see the venue until you’re actually there on your wedding day. Basically just means that a lot of your wedding planning is going to be from the computer when you’re not physically there.
However the challenge is completely worth it when you’re in that Tuscany sun reading your vows to the person you love so much, or having your first kiss with the person you’re about to marry along the beach in Greece, or popping champagne in the famous under the Eiffel Tower in France. And if you book a RAD destination photographer like aka me and an AWESOME destination planner like Jess DeWitt at dewittplanning or Sydney at wildyinlove__ you’ll be WELL taken care of!
Europe provides a plentiful amount of dreams and opportunities for you to have your destination wedding. I promise experiencing something new together with your friends and family will just be one of those amazing memories to hold dear to your heart. And like how many more opportunities will you get to go to EUROPE???
2: Resorts in Mexico
Now I know I’m not trying to be totally cliche on having a destination wedding in Mexico but I have realized that my couples have really enjoyed the convenience Mexico resorts have! This is what you have to think about…. All the resorts in Mexico have shuttles to the hotel, are pretty much all inclusive stays, and have some of the most beautiful beach views all year round. I believe Mexico is a hotspot for destination weddings just because they make it so easy for couples to plan their wedding. I also really love that in todays time most of the resorts are becoming more lgbtq+ friendly and making sure that that’s in their mission and all couples are welcome to celebrate there love. Looking for a lgbtq+ friendly resorts in Mexico for your wedding click here!
A few resorts in Mexico that I personal love + have heard amazing things about are…
- Paradisus at Los Cabos Cabo Mexico
- Floral Farms Cabo Mexico
- Acre Resort Cabo Mexico
- Royalton Rivera Cancun Mexico
- Dreams Riviera Cancun Mexico
- Haven Riviera Cancun Mexico
3: Wedding venue in Hawaii or eloping on the beach
Hawaii is secretly one of my personal faves.. Destination weddings in Hawaii are exactly how they are online; tropical, vibrant, beachy. I think Hawaii is the perfect destination wedding spot for the luxurious tropical vibes on your wedding day. Most of the time Hawaii is just a flight away for you and your guests, other times it’s going to take you a few days to get there depending on where you are. But just like Mexico, Hawaii resorts have the convenience for shuttling to your hotel and allow you to plan your wedding from the distance and have pretty much everything taken care of! I think the only con of a destination wedding in Hawaii is the resorts + hotel are non-inclusive.
Whether you want your toes in the sand at Secret Beach in Maui Hawaii or say I do in the green mountains at Kualoa Ranch Hawaii is a great spot to have your destination wedding!
Here are some awesome spots you can have your destination wedding or elopement in Hawaii!
- Secret Beach Maui
- Kualoa Ranch Oahu
- The Steeple House Maui
- Wailea Beach Resort Maui
- Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa Oahu
- Waimea Valley Oahu
- The Westin Maui Resort and Spa
- Waimea Canyon Kauai
- Secret Beach Kauai
4: A Caribbean Wedding
The Caribbean is such an amazing place to have your destination wedding as well. I believe so far out of the three that I’ve talked about. Destination weddings in Europe will probably be the more expensive option, then following Hawaii weddings, and lastly destination weddings in the caribbean. We’re talking weddings in the Bahamas, St Lucia, Belize and so much more! Crystal Blue waters are some views that people pay very high prices for. And I have seen my fair share of gorgeous weddings in the Caribbean. I would really recommend having your destination wedding in any of these tropical Caribbean places if you know you want those white sandy beaches and Crystal Blue Water. But also for those who really want to make the best vacation out of it for their friends and family. I love that the Caribbean is really accessible to travel to another resort for your honeymoon or allow you to fly out to different spots to go on your honeymoon. But no matter what you decide, the time that you spend there for your destination wedding will be magical.
Here are some awesome Caribbean resorts to host your wedding and/or elopement!(:
- Royalton Saint Lucia – All inclusive resort
- Sandals Saint Lucia –
- Piton View Wedding
- The Cove Elueuthera
- Coral Sands Harbour Island
- Half Moon in Montego Bay
- Couples Sans Souci in Ocho Rios
Jamaica, Turks and Caicos, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Aruba, Cayman Islands, St. Kitts and Nevis, Anguilla, Barbados are some other really great Caribbean to have your destination wedding at!
5: A U.S. National Park or State Park
If you are like heck no tay, I am tired of the beachy destination wedding ideas… I want to explore a national park here in the United States! I Say you are someone who loves the forest of Yosemite National Park, or want to experience the mars red rocks in Moab Utah, or are just like I just want to be with my boo in the middle of the desert at Joshua Tree National Park. I can literally list off 15 of my top National Parks to have your destination wedding or elopement at. The possibilities are endless!
A few things to note that if you do decide to have your destination wedding or elopement in a national park that most of the time these moments are meant for smaller crowds of 2 to 25 people and maybe even only 10 people. I really wouldn’t recommend having more than 25 people at your destination wedding in the national park unless you’re okay with getting a larger permit for your crowd. (but most of the time national parks have restrictions on size of crowds for your wedding in the park) However, I do know that some national parks have their own private venues within the park and those are some really great options to Google if you want to have a larger crowd.. So I think this is a great option for those who want a really small wedding or for those who still want to have somewhat of a bigger wedding but still enjoy that specific National Park. Most of the time it can be just a drive away for your guests or an easy flight to wherever you need to go but at the end of the day it can be a new place for you and your partner to enjoy!
Whatever you decide to do and wherever you decide to go… I want you to remember that your day should be planned Around Your Love Story. I know that sometimes it can be hard if some friends and family cannot make it but if you have the desire to experience something new with your person and this is calling on both of your hearts I just wanna encourage you now TO GO FOR IT! I promise it will be the best adventure of your life.
Okay so I provided some really great locations and destination weddings ideas that can spark inspiration. so lets go a little bit more in detail about why you should have a destination wedding. These are all my best reasons that I’ve compiled about being a guest of a destination wedding, being a photographer at a destination wedding, and all the research I’ve done on destination weddings.
I want you to know that I’m not telling you you should plan your destination wedding just so that you can vacation. I’m telling you that you have a destination wedding because you AND your significant other deserve a vacation.!(: I feel that the best part is that you can be truly unplugged for your wedding and enjoy the process of travel together, relaxing at your destination, enjoying all the perks this new or exciting place has to offer. I also feel like traditional wedding days are just like super chaotic and there’s so much going on at once and have to do this and when you get the opportunity to make your destination wedding a vacation everything you have to do pretty much gets done on the other line and you’re only having to travel with the things that you need to bring for your wedding. I mean I can completely understand how it can be stressful to plan a wedding far far away but no matter what you do or how your plan if you are surrounded by the people you love and have done your absolute best in planning your day that is all you can do. You just get to sit back and enjoy it!!
So book your wedding, get that fun vacay in, and have the time of your life!
I touched a little bit on convenience when I chatted about destination weddings in Mexico. This industry has made it so convenient for people to be easily picked up from the airport and shuttled to a resort. It also can be really convenient because it’s going to be an easy plane ride for most of the gas or an easy drive. (again depending on the location you pick) But it is also so convenient for the extra time you will get to spend with friends and family who travel as well!
However, it may not be as convenient if you have important older guests who are not comfortable with traveling or are not able to travel. I would really look into options live streaming your wedding or having a separate celebration with those people who are not able to travel. But if you want to travel and experience all the fun just go for it! People who love you will support you know matter what! Just make sure to give those guest that are unable to attende some extra love!
3. Adventure + Memories
I’m a firm believer that you cannot put a price tag on memories and adventure. But when it comes down to being with all the people that you love the most and all of you are adventure-seeking memory-making people destination weddings are PERFECT for that. I’ll never forget the first destination wedding I ever got to photograph. It was in Cabo Mexico at Paradisus resort. From the beginning we were welcomed with warm arms from all family members. I had the opportunity to hang out with them, to see them by the pool and get to know my couples friends and families even more. it was just a really cool experience to see how well everybody was getting along, all the fun things I got to do, and the big old party the wedding day turned out to be!
And that leads me to my next and last and most important reason why I should have a destination wedding!
4. Friends + Family Time
So I want to make the perfect equation for you. When you pair a vacation + the convenience + the adventures and memories you know you’re going to have with all of your friends and family =’s the perfect destination wedding! Your destination wedding should include all the fun things that make you both happy. But also be such a joyous time for the people you want to spend it with. Destination weddings usually give you the most amount of time to be really intentional with your wedding guests. (cause they freaking traveled all the way out there for you… you’re going to be so grateful!) I’ve seen so many tradtional weddings where my couples don’t even get a chance to talk with all the guests and family memebers! I feel that wherever you plan to have your destination wedding whoever you invite and is able to attend you’ll get to savor that special time with them and hold it forever to your heart.
I really hope you enjoyed all these fun tips and inspiration on why you should have a destination wedding! I hope what ever you decided to do and however you decide to celebrate that it is filled with so much fun, happiness, and love! If you are interested in booking vendors… aka a wedding photographer let’s chat because I would LOVE to hear all about your special day!! Click here if you want to reach out for your moment!