Planning a Destination Wedding? Here’s How You Do It

top view wedding planning essentials

A destination wedding can be a magical experience for both the couple and their guests. With stunning backdrops and unique experiences, weddings like this can create unforgettable memories for everyone involved. However, planning this type of wedding can be challenging. From sifting through destination wedding ideas to choosing the perfect location to coordinating travel and accommodations, there are many details to consider. In this blog post, we’ll teach you how to plan a destination wedding, so you can enjoy a dreamy celebration of love with those who matter most.

Choose the Perfect Location

The first step in planning a destination wedding is choosing the perfect location. While you can always surf the web for the best destination wedding ideas, it’s also crucial to remember that the venue you choose should reflect you and your partner.

Consider the type of scenery you want, such as a beach, a vineyard or a mountain range. You should also consider the climate, the local culture and the availability of wedding venues in the area. Once you have a list of potential locations, research the legal requirements for getting married there and look into travel guides for your wedding so you can experience the best things the place has to offer. Some countries require a waiting period or specific documentation, so checking these details before making a final decision is essential.

Determine Your Budget

Destination weddings can be more expensive than traditional weddings due to the costs of travel and accommodations. Consider your budget carefully and factor in the venue cost, catering, flowers, music and other wedding essentials. Don’t forget about the cost of travel and accommodations for yourself and your guests. It’s a good idea to create a detailed budget spreadsheet to track your expenses and ensure you stay on track. But if you want a more organised planning method, look into hiring a destination wedding planner.

Following the primary calculations, it’s essential to remember potential hidden costs. These could include local taxes, service charges, and even tips for the service providers at the destination. Moreover, costs may arise from destination-specific logistics like transportation within the locale, especially if the venue is remote. It might be prudent to also allocate a contingency budget for last-minute changes or emergencies. This way, you’re well-prepared financially and can enjoy your special day without any unforeseen monetary concerns.

Choose a Venue

wedding arrow sign on tree

Once you’ve chosen a location, it’s time to select a venue. One of the best reasons to choose a destination wedding is that it opens endless venue options. The downside is that couples who don’t have a specific place in mind will have a hard time choosing. But if that’s your predicament, we’re here to help you.

Consider the number of guests you’ll invite and the type of experience you want to create. Many destinations offer all-inclusive wedding packages that can simplify the planning process. Alternatively, you may rent a private villa or host your wedding on a beach or in a park. Whatever you choose, be sure to visit the venue in person or take a virtual tour to ensure it meets your expectations.

At South Pacific Bridal, we offer tropical venues with breathtaking beachfront views and two of Australia’s most beautiful purpose-built chapels in Cairns and Palm Cove.

Choose a Venue That Offers Indoor and Outdoor Options

Choosing a wedding venue is one of the most critical decisions couples will make during their wedding planning process. While some couples may have their hearts set on an indoor or outdoor venue, choosing a venue that offers both indoor and outdoor options can be a great choice. That’s also a handy tip for those planning a beach wedding or any outdoor wedding. Here’s why:

Weather Flexibility: One of the most significant advantages of choosing a venue that offers both indoor and outdoor options is weather flexibility. For example, if it rains on the wedding day, the ceremony can be moved indoors without hassle. No matter what season or weather conditions, couples can still have the wedding of their dreams.

Great Photo Opportunities: Indoor and outdoor venues have their charm. As such, both can provide unique photo opportunities for the couple and their wedding party. With access to indoor and outdoor areas, couples can enjoy the venue’s natural beauty and create unforgettable memories.

Increased Guest Comfort: Couples can ensure that their guests are comfortable throughout the wedding day by choosing this type of venue. Guests who may not be comfortable with outdoor weather conditions, such as heat or humidity, can still enjoy the ceremony and reception indoors.

Flexibility in Wedding Design: With access to both indoor and outdoor areas, couples can have more flexibility in the design and layout of their wedding. For example, they can choose to have the ceremony outdoors and the reception indoors, or vice versa. It allows for more creative and personalised wedding designs.

Enhanced Guest Experience: With more venue options, guests can enjoy the beauty of the outdoor space during the ceremony and then move indoors for the reception. It allows for a change of scenery and atmosphere, making the wedding day more enjoyable and memorable for everyone.

Coordinate Travel and Accommodations

airplane route drawing dotted hearts

Travel and accommodations can be significant expenses for destination weddings. Consider negotiating group rates or booking a block of rooms to save money. It’s important to work with a travel agent or wedding planner who can help you coordinate flights, hotel reservations and transportation for your guests. You may also want to provide your guests with a list of recommended activities and restaurants in the area.

Plan Your Wedding Details

After you’ve picked out the dreamy location, secured the perfect venue, and sorted out the travel and lodging logistics, the intricate part of the planning begins. Here’s how to make every detail count:

  • Local Wedding Planner: Partner with a wedding planner, someone who knows the terrain. They can guide you through local regulations, help you understand the nuances of customs, and introduce you to reliable vendors they’ve worked with.

    Partnering with a local wedding planner is an investment in serenity for your special day. They bring a wealth of knowledge about the area, ensuring your wedding complies with local regulations and respects cultural nuances. Their established relationships with vendors mean you get trusted services without the legwork. With their guidance, every aspect of your event is thoughtfully considered, from venue to vendors, logistics to legalities, making your wedding planning journey as stress-free as an idyllic walk down the aisle.

  • Capture the Moments: Handpick a photographer whose style resonates with yours. Whether it’s candid shots, formal portraits, or a mix, ensuring you’re on the same page will make for cherished memories.
  • Floral Finery: Zero in on a florist who can bring your vision to life, whether it’s wildflower charm, classic roses, or exotic blooms.
  • Set the Mood with Music: From local bands to DJs or even traditional tunes, decide on what will get your guests grooving.
  • Add a Personal Touch: Think beyond the usual. Personalised favours, unique table centrepieces, or decorations that mirror your journey as a couple can add that extra sparkle to the day.

Remember, the details, no matter how minute, contribute to creating a wedding that’s unmistakably “you.” Embrace the process and let your personality shine through every choice.

Should You Choose a Location with a Unique Chapel?

If you choose a venue that offers indoor and outdoor options, go for one with access to a unique chapel. While many couples opt for traditional churches or event spaces, there are many benefits to choosing a special chapel for your wedding.

Choosing a location with a unique chapel is a fantastic way to add a touch of romance and charm to your special day. After all, a unique chapel provides an intimate and picturesque backdrop for exchanging your vows and starting your new life together. Moreover, it creates a sense of awe and wonder, leaving a lasting impression on you and your guests. Plus, a unique chapel can also serve as an ideal venue for capturing stunning wedding photographs that you’ll cherish for a lifetime. With its exceptional beauty and charm, a unique chapel will undoubtedly make your wedding day feel like a fairytale come true. And if it so happens that you’re planning a garden wedding with a unique chapel and a waterfront view, read our blog on how it’s done. But if you need a little more convincing on why you should choose this type of venue, read on and explore the many benefits of doing so.

Memorable Experience

One of the main benefits of getting married in a unique chapel is that it creates a memorable experience for you and your guests. A special chapel can offer stunning architectural features, natural landscapes, or historical significance that will make your wedding ceremony truly unforgettable. You and your guests will be able to cherish the memories of your special day for years to come.

Flexibility and Personalisation

Many unique chapels are not affiliated with a specific religion or denomination, which can offer more flexibility in the type of ceremony you can have. This allows you to tailor your ceremony to your personal beliefs and preferences. Additionally, many unique chapels allow couples to personalise the ceremony space, including decor and seating arrangements, letting you create a memorable wedding that reflects you.

Unique Photo Opportunities

wedding ceremony setup with waterfront view

Unique chapels often offer incredible photo opportunities not available in more traditional settings. Whether it’s a striking architectural feature, a natural landscape, or a historical backdrop, the photo opportunities at a unique chapel can help you create beautiful and memorable wedding photos.

Intimate Atmosphere

Many unique chapels are smaller than traditional churches or event spaces, which can create a more intimate atmosphere for your ceremony. This can significantly benefit couples who prefer a more private and personal ceremony. An intimate setting can also make your guests feel more connected to the ceremony and create a sense of closeness and community.

Supporting Local Communities

Choosing a one-of-a-kind chapel for your wedding can also help support local communities. Many unique chapels are located in small towns or rural areas, and hosting your wedding there can help support the local economy. Additionally, chapels like these are maintained by local organisations or volunteers, so hosting your wedding there can help support their efforts and preserve the cultural and historical significance of the chapel.

Choose All-Inclusive Packages for Better Planning

Planning a wedding can be an overwhelming and stressful experience, with countless details to manage and decisions to make. However, couples can look forward to a seamless and stress-free experience by opting for an all-inclusive wedding package. These packages offer comprehensive planning assistance, a curated selection of venues to choose from, vendor coordination, customisation options, stress-free logistics, cost savings, and the peace of mind that every detail will be taken care of. With all the benefits these packages offer, couples can focus on what truly matters – celebrating their love and creating unforgettable moments on their special day. 

When considering an all-inclusive wedding package, it’s essential to remember that while most of them include the reception, there might be variations in what is covered. Avoid any surprises or disappointments by double-checking the specific venue inclusions of the wedding package you are interested in. Pay close attention to the venue options offered in the package, as some exclusive or unique locations may not be part of the standard offering and could require additional fees. Additionally, some packages might have restrictions on guest count or time slots, so it’s vital to clarify these details in advance to ensure they align with your vision for the wedding day.

By conducting a thorough review and open communication with the wedding venue or planner, you can clearly understand what is included and what might be considered an extra cost. Moreover, inquire about any particular locations or upgrades that can be added to the package to make your day truly exceptional. This proactive approach will enable you to make an informed decision that suits your preferences and budget, ensuring a delightful and worry-free wedding celebration.


That said, here are some of the perks you can enjoy with an all-inclusive package: 

Simplify Planning Process

One of the main benefits of all-inclusive wedding packages is that they simplify the planning process. With these packages, a single vendor or venue handles all of the details, including catering, decor, entertainment and other wedding essentials. This allows couples to focus on the fun aspects of wedding planning, such as choosing their attire, creating a guest list and selecting a honeymoon destination. But with destination weddings, you already have a wedding venue and honeymoon destination in one.

Cost Savings

All-inclusive wedding packages can often be more cost-effective than piecing together all the different components of a wedding individually. When working with a single vendor or venue, couples can negotiate a better price for their wedding package and may save on additional costs such as transportation, setup and cleanup fees.

Streamlined Communication

happy couple talking to female wedding planner

Communication can be much easier and streamlined when working with a single vendor or venue. Instead of dealing with multiple vendors, couples can communicate their needs and preferences to a single point of contact. This can help avoid miscommunications and ensure all details are handled according to the couple’s wishes.

Expertise and Experience

All-inclusive wedding package providers often have great expertise and experience in planning weddings. They may have relationships with other vendors and venues and access to resources and tools that can help streamline the planning process. This can be especially beneficial for couples planning a wedding from afar or who may not have experience with wedding planning.

Reduced Stress

Finally, all-inclusive wedding packages can help reduce stress for couples. Planning a wedding can be an overwhelming and time-consuming process, and having streamlined communication for all wedding-related details can help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety that can come with wedding planning. This allows couples to relax and enjoy the lead-up to their big day.

Plan Your Destination Wedding with South Pacific Bridal

At South Pacific Bridal, our wedding planners in Australia are renowned for their skills in creating magical and unforgettable weddings. With access to two of Australia’s most beautiful purpose-built chapels and stunning destination wedding venues, you can say your “I dos” in a truly romantic tropical paradise. Moreover, our all-inclusive wedding packages can take care of your every need. Download our brochure today, and let’s start planning your picture-perfect wedding.

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