One and Only Palmilla Resort, Los Cabos Mexico

Your wedding is an event that you’ve dreamed about for years, possibly your whole life.  You already know that you want your big day to be someplace special, but you may not be aware of everything you need to  think about when planning a wedding far from home. From fairytale castle to sun-swept beach, here are the things to consider when booking the destination wedding of your dreams.

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One and Only Palmilla Resort, Los Cabos Mexico

First of all, consider your head count. Do you prefer a big party with 500 guests, or an intimate celebration with only close friends and family? An exotic destination will automatically prune the guest list; France and Fiji are lovely, but the flights to get there aren’t cheap. Far-flung weddings almost by definition are more intimate, because only the people closest to you are likely to be able to come. If you do want a bigger party, don’t despair! There are plenty of beautiful destinations closer to home that will let you have a bigger guest list: Florida instead of the Bahamas for gorgeous beaches, Quebec instead of France for Continental charm. You don’t necessarily need to go far to get the scenery you crave, and you can have beautiful destination wedding photography to commemorate the big day regardless of the country you’re in.

One and Only Palmilla Resort, Los Cabos Mexico

Second, think about the logistics. Are there constraints in your schedule that determine when your wedding will take place? If so, take local weather patterns into account. Beach weddings during hurricane season can be dicey, and that romantic castle in Scotland will be bitterly cold in any season other than summer. If you’re going international, do you and your confirmed guests all have passports? What are the legal requirements for your wedding to be recognized both in the destination and back at home? To avoid any unpleasant surprises, make sure that your nuptial plans take the nitty gritty details into account.

El Careyes Beach Resort, Careyes, Mexico

Finally, how much control of the wedding details do you need? Many resorts and cruise lines offer wedding packages that include an in-house planner, and you also have the option of hiring an outside planner if you so wish. Having someone else handle all the little details—the wedding photographer, the flower arrangements, the cake decorations, etc—can be a huge relief for many couples, but this type of planning isn’t for everyone. Think about how much control and input you want for your wedding. The more relaxed you are about the possibility of different parties handing the details, the happier you’re likely to be with a faraway destination like Thailand or Ecuador.  The more you want control, the happier you’ll be with places that are more culturally similar, like England or New Zealand.

El Careyes Beach Resort, Careyes, Mexico

Thinking about these issues in advance will help you work out the type of destination that will work best for your needs. Once you know where you’re going, relax and enjoy the ride! A destination wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Bon Voyage!

Cabo Azul, San José del Cabo, Mexico

Laura Carroll is a writer for Barnett Photo, a San Diego based wedding photography company with over thirty years of experience. Barnett Photo specializes in luxury destination wedding photography. Laura is an avid traveler who has lived, worked, and traveled in 19 countries around the world.

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