Destination I Do

Brought to you by the editors of Destination I Do Magazine, we hope you find this blog to be a helpful tool in creating the spectacular destination wedding, honeymoon or romantic getaway you've been dreaming of. Below you'll find inspiring real-life destination weddings, travel deals, recommended beauty and travel products and much more! For even more exciting ideas and planning tools, visit

  • Friday, May 29, 2020

    A Santorini Micro-Wedding

    Words by Kristi Blane
    Photos courtesy of All Bliss Photography

    Attending others’ weddings as a couple can be a great way to figure out what elements you want to emulate and which you’d like to put your own twist to. This is what helped Maggie and Bauer navigate the first big choices in their wedding planning. Ultimately, they decided to have a micro-wedding abroad and a separate, large celebration with family and friends back home. Next decision: where to say, “I do.” 

    “Bauer and I had always talked about going away and having a very small intimate wedding somewhere overlooking water,” the bride says. “Neither of us had been to Europe and we loved the pictures we had seen of the Greek Islands. We thought Santorini would be the ideal place with all the beautiful white buildings and amazingly blue waters.”

    Being entirely new to the area and destination wedding planning, Maggie started searching for real wedding stories out of Santorini. She wanted to know how the couple pulled everything off. That’s when she came across a blog of a couple who were from Charlotte, North Carolina (a city Maggie once called home). Blown away by the gorgeous composition of the photos, she reached out the couple’s photographer, Marylou Dogan of All Bliss Photography. 

    “I was blown away by how friendly and approachable she was! She recommended that I use a wedding planner- and mentioned Stephanie Cisko of Viva L’Event. I talked to Stephanie and was blown away by her go-getter attitude and creativity,” the bride says.

    Naturally, she recruited both women to her destination wedding team. Maggie shared her ideas with Stephanie via a vision board, and the planner got right to work doing all the heavy lifting of destination planning.

    Part of the couple’s vision was to host the ceremony on the balcony of their white cave AirBNB. Unfortunately, they hit a snag later on when they realized the AirBNB had a shared patio space.

    “We tried to resolve this issue with AirBNB and they gave us back a portion of our down payment,” the couple says. “This turned out to be a blessing because the AirBnB we booked after this was even better. Our host was so accommodating and even sent help to move furniture.”

    The rest of the planning process went smoothly, with their planner as the main point of contact. The couple did have to send international wires for payments - which was a little expensive, but well worth it.

    So on their special day, Bauer and Maggie’s only task was to enjoy the day with their five guests, overlooking the bluest waters on Earth.

    Guests' travel to and from the Greek Islands went off virtually without a hitch, but the couple couldn’t say the same. 

    “As always, I overpacked,” Maggie admits. “So, when Bauer’s family left to go back to the United States, we sent back one of our 60 lbs. suitcases. Unfortunately, we had tucked our passports away in this same bag. After a trip to the only police station in Santorini, we were allowed to board our flight to our honeymoon in Italy with the handwritten notes from the Police. Did I mention they were in Greek?! My sister in law was an angel and shipped our passports back to us at our last hotel in Italy and we had no issues getting home.”

    Looking back on their Santorini destination wedding experience, Maggie and Bauer smile, knowing their Greek micro-wedding fit their vision perfectly.   

    Vendors: Photography: All Bliss Photography; Wedding Planning & Design: Viva L'Event; Floral: Betty Flowers Santorini; Venue: The Cave Houses (Airbnb); Catering/Chair & Table Rental: Spicy Bites; Table/Vintage Chest Rental: Weddings & Whimsy; Stationery: One + Only Paper; Calligraphy: Mason Dixon Designs; Wedding Cake: Alexandra's Cakes; Hair/Makeup: Renia Bledaki Makeup & Beauty Treatments; Ribbons: Honeysilks & Co and Tono & Co; Table Runners & Napkins: Linen Lark; Bride's Dress: Pronovias; Bride's Earrings: Olive and Piper; Bride's Shoes: YDN; Groom's Suit: Bonobos; Grooms Tie, Clip & Socks: Tie Bar; Grooms Shoes: Cole Haan; Bridesmaid’s Dress: Jenny Yoo 

  • Wednesday, May 27, 2020

    Mexico Vacation Wedding

    Words by Lauren Ertl
    Photos courtesy of Francisco Salas

    Although Joanna and Mike met in a typical way (at a bar), their story from then on is anything but typical. Only a few short months after they started dating, they traveled to Europe together where Mike admittedly fell in love with "Jo" on a train, resting between cities. "Neither of us was looking for love, but we quickly became inseparable," the couple says. 

    Joanna and Mike answered our questions so authentically that we wanted you to get all the details of their Cabo destination wedding straight from the couple themselves. So, without further ado, enjoy and be inspired by this real wedding interview!

    1. Why did you choose to do a destination wedding?

    We wanted everyone to have a vacation! Come for the martinis, stay for the wedding! We also wanted something more intimate and memorable and we felt we couldn’t do that with a local wedding.

    2. How did your family and friends respond to the decision? If any of them had a negative reaction, how did you resolve it?

    The most sensitive issue was cost. Unfortunately, it was more expensive for most of our guests and we had some that simply couldn’t afford to come. It was difficult, however, we selected an all-inclusive resort so they didn’t have to spend a single penny once they arrived and we asked them not to buy us any wedding gifts to help there as well.

    3. How/why did you choose the location/destination? Did you run into any issues specific to this destination and how did you resolve them?

    Cabo San Lucas is about a 2-hour flight from our hometown in Los Angeles. It was far enough away to be a destination and yet close enough where most of our guests could attend. It’s also tropical, beautiful and just plain fun.

    4. How would you describe your overall experience of planning a destination wedding?

    An absolute nightmare! Ha. Just kidding. We were introduced to our wedding planner from one of our friends and we couldn’t have been luckier. We simply could not have coordinated a destination wedding without a local team on-site to negotiate with our vendors, communicate clearly and coordinate all of the deliverables. They even hand-crafted all of the flower arrangements and table cards to stretch our budget further. Overall, they made it very turnkey for us and they greatly exceeded our expectations.

    5. Did you use any resources when planning your destination wedding that you feel would be helpful to other couples? i.e. books, a wedding planner, referrals?

    If you’re set on having a destination wedding, make sure you work with someone that speaks the local language and can fight on your behalf. Language barriers can easily cause unexpected charges, inaccurate deliverables and additional stresses.

    Also when booking hotels, flights, etc don’t forget about Costco. You can buy packaged deals directly on their site and the discounts were so high that it easily made up for the costs of the membership.

    6. Did you include any do-it-yourself projects in your wedding/reception? If so, please describe them.

    We had a welcome table with “take a shot and take a seat.” This was really fun and we worked with our wedding planner on-site to set up the display and hand-write all of the cards with cheeky nick-names for a few of the guests.  

    7. What were the travel logistics like for your guests? Did you run into any issues and how did you resolve them?

    Los Cabos has a pretty well-organized airport so we were lucky not to have any travel issues that weren’t easily resolved.

    8. How were you able to coordinate with vendors from afar? Did you run into any issues and how did you resolve them?

    We had some trouble with the hotel in that our guests found cheaper rooms despite an initial guarantee from our hotel that they were providing our guests with the lowest rates. This caused some confusion from our guests, however, we subsequently negotiated to remove any minimum room blocks required by the hotel. Our wedding planner was also instrumental in negotiating this deal.

    9. Do you feel you spent more or less money by choosing to do a destination wedding?

    We definitely saved money with a destination wedding because we would’ve had twice as many guests with a local wedding. We wanted a more intimate wedding and that’s exactly what had.

    10. How do you think your wedding would have been different had you not held it away from home?

    We would have had a lot more guests. They can add up very quickly with plus-ones, extended friends or acquaintances that just happen to live close by.

    11. Overall, do you have any special advice you would like to share with our readers to help prepare them for their day?

    Yes! So often the most memorable moments are the unplanned ones, such as the hilarious sunburns, the surprise afternoon pool party, the unassuming parent taking a shot, the deep late-late night conversations and more.

    Our advice to future couples: don’t over-plan your wedding day! Leave room for the unexpected to happen.

    Vendors: Photographer: Francisco Salas; Planner/Florals: Bonnie Chase from Bliss Events; Ceremony/Reception Site: Grand Fiesta Americana Golf & Spa; Stationery: Lucky Lady Paper; Gown Designer: Grace Loves Lace; DJ/Lighting: Alex Dj Cabo Events; Hair & Makeup: Los Cabos Makeup

  • Adjusting Your Spring Wedding to Fall

    by Lauren Ertl

    If you are one of the many couples that had to postpone their spring destination wedding to the …

  • Oregon Outdoors Real Wedding

    by Kristi Blane

    There’s no place like home. Ariel, like Dorthy in The Wizard of Oz, believed this to be true. …

  • Real Wedding, Maui Style

    by Kinsley Brown

    It’s no surprise that Maui is a hotbed for destination weddings. With the stunning sunsets …

  • Pro Tips for Online Venue Scouting

    by Lauren Ertl

    If you aren’t quite confident flying yet and/or simply don’t have it in the budget to …

  • Northern Michigan Real Wedding

    by Lauren Ertl

    For Alison and Eric a destination wedding in northern Michigan checked all the boxes: the outdoor …

  • Lofty New York Wedding Inspiration

    by Lauren Ertl

    When Pantone announced Classic Blue as their color of the year, planners from Sugar Rose …

  • A Stunning Sarasota Wedding

    by Kristi Blane

    Merrill, like many brides dreaming of their wedding day, had her sights set on a destination …

  • A Simply Sweet San Diego Wedding

    by Kate Darnell

    Lynette and Alexander decided on San Diego, California due to their international guest list. & …

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