Huffpost Weddings

10 Things To Consider Before Planning A Destination Wedding

Posted: Updated:

By Kellee Khalil for

While you may love the idea of getting married on the beach, on top of a mountain, or at an Italian villa, planning a destination wedding brings along some unexpected headaches. Here are the ten worst things about planning a destination wedding, plus some tips on how to solve them.

1. Wondering if your wedding is even going to be legal.

Whimsical Mexicos Wedding Captured by Troy Grover Photography

Photo by: Troy Grover Photography on Grey Likes Weddings via

Marriage laws vary from country to country (and even different U.S. states) so do your homework! Find out who is an acceptable officiant (friends ordained on the Internet don't always count), if there is a residency or blood test requirement, and what the marriage license process is. You may find that you need to have a small courthouse ceremony at home first and make your destination wedding mostly symbolic.

2. Booking a hair and makeup person from a distance.

Destination Riviera Maya, Mexicos Wedding Captured by Vida Carson

Photo by: Vida Carson on The Brides Cafe via

We know you looked into the cost of flying your trusted hair stylist to Mexico. But since that likely won't be possible, consult your stylist at home first -- he or she may have a stylist friend at your destination -- and read reviews for any vendors you have to book long-distance. Then schedule hair and makeup trials for the day after you arrive at your destination.

3. Assembling and shipping the welcome bags for your guests.

Photo by: Jen Huang on Inspired By This via

Yes, they look adorable and guests love them but they still might cost a fortune to ship and could get caught up in customs. We suggest asking your bridal party and families to each pack a few welcome bags in their checked luggage (or to pack the supplies so you can assemble them on-site).

4. All the "no" RSVPs you'll receive.

Island Bliss - Purple From elli via

Sure, you knew not everyone could afford to make the trip, but it's still a bummer when people officially decline. Try to remember that it has nothing to do with how much they love you and is mostly about their personal budgets and paid time off.

5. Finding the perfect hotel block for your guests.

From The Club Barbados Resort & Spa on

If you're trying to find the best group accommodations, we're making it way easier to book your hotel room block. It's a fast, free, and simple way to cross that item off your checklist. You’re welcome.

6. Not having your pick of vendors.

Photo by: Barbara Cox Hidden Key Designs on Inspired By This via

If you opt for the more convenient all-in-one wedding package at your resort, you may not be able to get that gorgeous bouquet or super unique wedding cake you want. If you have your heart set on a certain look for your wedding, it might be best to hire a wedding planner who has experience at your destination venue and who can find the best vendors to bring your vision to life.

7. Not seeing your venue in person before the big day.

Photo by: KT Merry on Inspired By This via

If you are planning long distance, you may have to book your venue without seeing it first, which can be stressful. We suggest going beyond the photos on the venue’s website; search for it by name on or do a Google search for "Wedding photography blog [destination name]" to find photos of other weddings at your venue. Seeing more photos of the venue in use will give you a better sense of the lighting, layout and any quirks about the space.

8. Packing.

Photo by: Wynn Myers on Camille Styles via

Packing for any trip is bad enough; packing your wedding dress, shoes, and accessories is definitely the worst. Start as early as possible and making extremely detailed packing lists. To avoid the "I thought you were bringing the wedding rings" moment, list everything you and your partner need to bring, who is responsible for packing it, and what suitcase or bag it will be packed in.

9. Making sure friends and family members all make it to the destination OK.

Classic Australia Wedding Captured by Angela Higgins Photography

Photo by: Angela Higgins Photography on Polka Dot Bride via

From people who wait until the last minute to book flights to sudden storms wreaking havoc on travel plans, getting everyone to the destination can be super stressful. Our advice? Request that VIPs book by a certain date (say, four weeks before the wedding), create a spreadsheet with everyone's flights and cell phone numbers, and cross your fingers that travel conditions are good.

10. The number of people who complain that you're having a destination wedding.

Photo by: Karen Lisa Artistic Photography on Equally Wed via

It's an invitation, not a summons! If people don't want to make the trip, they shouldn't make the trip. As long as you aren't making them feel guilty for not attending (you aren't, right?), they shouldn't make you feel guilty for planning a destination wedding.

More from
Find your perfect wedding dress
10 things to consider when setting your wedding date
How to plan your wedding ceremony

Around the Web

Wedding Problems - Wedding Issues - The Knot

HowStuffWorks "10 Tips for Planning a Destination Wedding"

Guests gripe about destination weddings -

Destination Weddings: 12 Things Every Guest Should Know