5 Expert Tips for Planning a Destination Wedding

Carats & Cake’s Jess Levin checked in with top destination wedding planners to get their best advice for big-day travels. Here, their recommendations on what to think about when getting hitched away from home.

Photo by Robert Evans

Do Your Due Diligence

“The one constant piece of advice that has risen to the top over the years for a destination wedding is to take the time to do the research. Taking the time to understand all the attributes and challenges of a property or location will inform so many of your decisions going forward. It is key to understand what resources exist, such as rentals, music, or floral designers. I often recommend if a couple is interested in a particular spot to schedule a quick ‘vacation’ to truly experience the getting there and staying there.” —Michelle Rago, Michelle Rago Destinations


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Couple Shot
Photo By Christian Oth Studio

Make Sure Everyone Important to You Can Travel

“The first thing I have couples think about when they consider a destination wedding is their guests’ experience. Can everyone important to you travel? Is a trip like this within their means? Do their work and family situations allow for them to jet off for the weekend? If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then advance to the next step. However, if there are a few nos, you may have to decide what the priority is: the people or the place.” —Annie Lee, Daughter of Design


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Easton Events
Photo by Ashley Seawell Photography

Listen to the Locals

“We work in different destinations domestically and internationally, and our first step is always to question and listen to trusted local resources about the nuances of their location! They always have the most experience and best advice regarding weather and the environment—from wind patterns to bugs, tide habits, the direction of the sunset, and temperature changes. Knowing these important elements can help in determining your timeline, ceremony, and tenting locations, and they bring to light important amenities that will enhance your guests’ experience!” —Lynn Easton, Easton Events


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Brooke Keegan
Photo by Jose Villa, Stationery by Tiny Pine Press

Consider Your Guests

“The best piece of advice I can give to a client who is planning a destination wedding is to plan enough activities and events for your guests while they are there. They are traveling a long distance to celebrate with you, and they want to actually spend some quality time with you. However, don’t overplan their trip, as you want to give them enough time to explore the destination on their own as well. A great welcome bag with a list of local attractions and activities is always a must.” —Brooke Keegan, Brooke Keegan Weddings & Events

5th Avenue Weddings & Events
Image by Bri Cibene Photography

Carry the Important Cargo

“Take a direct flight and bring whatever you can on the plane with you. Special décor items and the wedding dress should always be packed, never shipped. You don’t want to run the risk of your precious items—or yourselves for that matter—getting lost or stuck in customs.” —Meena Lee-DePasquale, 5th Avenue Weddings & Events


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About the Author

Jess Levin

Jess Levin is the founder & CEO of Carats & Cake, a premier network representing the best in the wedding industry. A native of Laguna Beach, California, Jess attended the University of Pennsylvania before heading to New York to work in venture capital at Burch Creative Capital, where she helped manage investments and brand development for a portfolio that includes Poppin and...


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