How To Find The Perfect Location For A Destination Wedding

TereFor some couples, settling on a location for a destination wedding is simple. They have always known where they wanted to get married and the announcement of the actual wedding is just a formality.

Other couples however, don’t have it this easy. They ponder over every detail, ask everyone their opinions, and then continue to mull, not being able to make a decision.

So if you are one of those couples that needs a little help selecting a location, don’t lose hope.

From the islands in the Caribbean to the castles in Spain, there is a location out there that will make you and your significant other quite happy.

Here are the key steps in the selection process.

Step 1: Choose the kind of destination wedding you want

It used to be that every destination wedding involved a beach, an island and a deep blue ocean.

With the recent surge of destination weddings, however, the concept of what constitutes a destination wedding has been expanded.

Now, you can have a destination wedding almost anywhere. They can include vineyards, European castles, skiing in Vail, or an exotic Thai wedding.

This is not to say that you cannot have a traditional type of destination wedding in the Bahamas, or a Disney wedding, or even a wedding in Vegas. We bring it up to show you that there are many choices out there.

Here is a list of the most popular types of destination weddings:

  • City wedding
  • Vineyard wedding
  • European Wedding
  • Castle wedding
  • Ski wedding
  • Island wedding
  • Adventure wedding
  • Cruise wedding
  • Disney wedding

Once you know what type of destination wedding you want, then it’s time to select a city.

Step 2: Choose a destination based on the kind of destination wedding you want

Once you have narrowed down to a type of destination wedding, then it’s time to look into all the possible cities where this dream can become a reality. Start by compiling all the cities where your wedding can be hosted.

For example, if you are looking to have a city wedding, then list all the cities that you would love to have it in. After you have compiled this list, place the cities in the order of most favorite to least favorite.

In order to narrow your choices, answer the following questions:

  • What kind of climate do you prefer?
  • What kind of atmosphere do you want? Laid back (Miami) or fast paced (NYC)
  • What kinds of activities do you want for guests?

In order to refine the list further, remove cities that are either not affordable or are too far for you and your family to travel to.

What will be left is a list of cities that are close enough and affordable enough for you to have a destination wedding in.

Select one of these cities and start looking at wedding venues.

Step 3: Select a property that will host your wedding (resort, Park, Villa)

The kind of wedding venue you ultimately select will reflect your sense of style and taste so be careful about rushing this step.

If you need help, consider hiring a wedding planner (even if it is for a day or so), to help you select a venue that is both reputable and affordable.

Things to consider when selecting a reception venue is location, ambiance, design, reputation, and total capacity.

Consider doing some research and reading online reviews on each location you are considering to ensure that you are dealing with a company that can make your dream day a reality.

As part of your research, ask for photos of previous weddings along with some references from previous brides. Then make sure you call those brides to ask them what they liked and disliked about the venue.

Accommodations are another consideration that needs to be addressed. How far is the nearest hotel? How many rooms do they have? Do they offer a free shuttle to the wedding venue? Read How To Get Free Shuttle Service To A Wedding When You Block Hotel Rooms.

When looking for hotels to block rooms, consider getting group hotel rates first (to get group rates for hotels, fill out this form). Once you get rates from all the hotels near your wedding venue, then ask to see if they will offer a free shuttle or a bridal suite for free (make sure you do this before you sign any contracts).

Once you have a location for your reception and a hotel for guests, it’s time for the final step, selecting a ceremony location.

Step 4: Select a site for the ceremony (Chapel, beach, terrace)

In most cities, a ceremony location is usually a church, a synagogue or another religious institution.

However, if your wedding is on an island, that may not be what you are looking for. In this case, you may have to scour out some beaches, or a terrace overlooking the ocean to have your ceremony.

Here are some creative options for ceremony locations:

  • Beach weddings
  • Park or garden
  • Art galleries
  • Aquariums and zoos
  • Private estate, country barns, and castles
  • Winery
  • Ski Lodge
  • Sports Venue
  • Theme parks

Before booking, make sure that you take a trip out to see the place for yourself. While researching online is a great way to get started, it would be foolish to sign a contract for a ten or twenty thousand dollar wedding without actually seeing the place.

If you don’t have the time, then have a wedding planner take live pictures and email them. If the ceremony location is as good as it looks online, then you can make your decision with confidence.

Selecting a wedding location is not as difficult as it seems as long as you follow the above steps. Instead of wasting time looking at all the cities, you will have narrowed down your choices at every step to come upon a location that suits your sense of style, and budget.

What to do next?

Check out the most popular destination wedding locations.

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