Mindy Weiss’ Top Tips for Your Destination Wedding


June 13, 2024
Words by Jennifer Stein
Photos courtesy of various

Celebrity wedding planner, Mindy Weiss, is known for her fun and innovative designs along with her long list of celebrated clientele. Not only is she a sought-after party planner to the stars, but she’s been creating events around the world for decades and has created ways for you to tap into her expert knowledge.

Mindy Weiss surrounded by floral lined aisle with wedding chuppah in the backgroundPhoto by Jose Villa

Her MasterClass, Wedding Book and Wedding Organizer all help guide you through the wedding planning process with insider advice and tips from one of the best in the business. We were lucky enough to have her give some of her top tips to couples planning their own weddings away. 

Photos by Sergio Sandona

Since destination weddings aren’t just one-day events, what’s the best way to make the other events (rehearsal dinner, welcome reception, etc.) feel special and unique compared to the wedding, yet make the whole weekend feel cohesive? 

“The events surrounding the wedding are really great opportunities to personalize. How you met, your favorite things, it’s all a buildup to the wedding. It’s important not to take away from the wedding day but to use these celebrations to create more excitement. The common thread through all the events is always you – the couple. That being said, you want to make sure that there aren’t any parts of the other events that look anything like the wedding. Don’t use the same colors, the same level of formality, or repurpose larger décor items. The wedding should be more formal, and these events a bit more fun and casual. The lighter, more fun, and less dressy the event, the more humor you can infuse as well. These are usually the parties where friends tell stories that are really funny and sometimes a little risqué. These moments are great for the night before, but not the wedding day. Provenance Toast Builder can help guide friends through that process so that everything is event-appropriate. But more fun and more humor is definitely on trend for the night before.”

Image courtesy of Provenance

What are some ways to make guests feel welcomed before they even arrive at the wedding? Are there ways to engage them before the wedding so they get more excited about the overall experience?

“I love sending a note and reminders the Monday before the wedding. At the beginning of the week, tell your guests how excited you are that they will be traveling with you for your wedding. Then use it as an opportunity to remind people of the important stuff – weather, attire requests, options for hair and makeup, and so on. You can also share fun activity ideas they can do during their free time and get them excited about the destination as a whole.”

Photos by John & Joseph & Sergio Sandona

What’s the best way to let the destination influence the decor without it feeling cliché or too “on the nose?” 

“I often tell couples, it’s not a good idea to have a fancy ballroom hotel wedding on the beach in Hawaii. You have to remember why you chose that place, look around at where you are, and make sure the event design is cohesive. Otherwise, your guests won’t feel comfortable (think high heels on the sand). But you also don’t have to have a Hawaiian-themed wedding because you’re getting married in Hawaii. Just do what feels right for the setting and it will feel good to everyone. Then be sure to share information and answer questions before guests arrive so that everyone is at ease, no matter where you are.”

Photos by John & Joseph & Sergio Sandona

What is your favorite gift to give guests in a welcome bag? 

“I like to make welcome bags practical and thoughtful. Think about the reason for a welcome bag. It comes down to helping your guests have a better experience, like spending less money on snacks when they arrive at the hotel. So typically we include snacks, savory and sweet. Does the hotel offer free water for guests? If not, include water. You can go a step further and personalize the water bottles for the event if you like. I always personalize bags by including the couple’s favorite items that go well with a welcome – a drink, indulgence, or anything really. But I don’t personalize the bag itself. I try to select a bag that guests would be excited to carry throughout the weekend (and beyond). Rather than putting the couple’s names on the bag, we want guests to bring these home and continue to use them so consider a graphic, a word, or a motif on the tote instead. If the wedding is in Santa Barbara, the bag could just say ‘Santa Barbara.’ The goal is they’ll use it forever! Because I think ‘practical and useful,’ including small emergency items like Band-Aids, ChapStick, and Aspirin. Those items are always appreciated and easy to take home if they don’t get used right away. And if the couple is on a budget that doesn’t allow for welcome bags, a personal note is lovely, it goes a long way, and doesn’t cost a thing.”

Photos by John & Joseph & Sergio Sandona

When it comes to decor, what’s new that you’ve never seen before and you’re really loving?

“Personally, I love flowers that are more artful and stylized and not so overdone. Art installations that people are fascinated by when they walk into a room are really special. It’s not about overwhelming the guests but creating visual points of real interest.”

Photos by John & Joseph & Sergio Sandona

With the emergence of technology in the wedding industry, how can couples leverage virtual/technical elements in their destination weddings? 

“Well, you can always use technology to buy my two bestselling books! The Wedding Book and The Wedding Planner & Organizer are great tools for destination weddings. But that’s not all. Many couples having destination weddings think they need to use a local officiant whom they have never met – which isn’t true! If you want the ceremony to feel more intimate, consider having someone close to you do it. You can ask a friend or family member to get ordained online (which is very easy and quick), sign the official marriage license, and handle the legal piece before you leave (it’s much simpler than handling it while abroad), then use the Provenance’s Ceremony Builder to weave your love story into a personalized wedding ceremony script for your friend to deliver like a pro. Even if they have never done it before, the Provenance online tool walks you through everything you’ll need to know and makes the whole ceremony creation process very seamless.”

Photo by Provenance

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