Expert Destination Wedding Tips


August 5, 2019
Words by Jennifer Stein
Photos courtesy of Sanaz Photography

JoAnn Gregoli, of Elegant Occasions by JoAnn Gregoli, is not only a Master Wedding Planner with the Association of Bridal Consultants, but an expert on destination weddings. Below, she’s sharing insider “wedded wisdom” she’s learned through years of experience planning weddings away.

12 Expert Destination Wedding Tips:

  1. Liquor Packages: You might consider “consumption” as an option for an open bar – if you have a mixed crowd, consumption may work out to cost considerably less per person than a full-price open bar.
  2. Site Fees: Know what the site fees are for each and every area you’re considering using for your event.
  3. Sound Restrictions: Always ask your venue about noise restrictions – you may envision the after party going until 2 a.m., however the property may have a 10 p.m. cut-off. A way around this at a smaller, boutique property would be to consider a buyout.
  4. Never Assume: Never assume something is going to be included with your site fee. Check if linens, chairs, tables, cutlery, etc. are included in the price.
  5. Hire Experts: Consider hiring a planner who is a travel specialist in destination weddings. Not everyone is a destination/travel specialist and you would hate to be his or her test couple.
  6. Get Insured: I would recommend having both wedding insurance and travel insurance. Anything can happen and you should have insurance to protect yourself.
  7. Ease of Access: When choosing your destination, consider ease of access for your guests. Most will prefer direct flights, however if not possible, try to limit the connections to one.
  8. Rain Options: Be sure to ask and inquire about back-up plans and weather contingencies for all your wedding event locations.
  9. Wedding Attire: Never check your gown or the groom’s suit into your suitcases…always carry on the plane. Let the airlines know ahead of time, most allow the gowns to be placed in the first class closet. This same tip applies for bridal party members.
  10. Lost in Translation: Be as specific as you can on every detail. What you expect may not be what is provided (i.e. a jazz band may not be a true jazz band, but a brass jazz band).
  11. Group Travel: Consider booking group travel to get a discount on airfare. Groups of 10 or more traveling in the same direction, departing from the same airport may be eligible for group discounts. This will vary from airline to airline.
  12. Flower Treatments: Always ask your venue’s florist if they spray their flowers. Islands are notorious for spraying white flowers any color your heart desires.
Destination Weddings at Hyatt Zilara and Hyatt Ziva
Hyatt Ziva and Zilara Destination Weddings
Black couple getting married in Jamaica
Jamaica Destination Weddings
Destination I Do Podcast
White couple getting married in Punta Cana, DR
destination wedding couple throwing rose petals in costa mujeres
Iberostar Weddings

Find a Vendor

Access our list of vendors based on your destination location.