October 25, 2019

How to Plan a Destination Wedding

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A destination wedding can truly be magical for both you and your future husband as well as for your guests! But it can also seem overwhelming and out of reach to make happen.

Prior to us planning our destination wedding, Casey and I asked each other what our non-negotiable’s were for the evening. We wanted our first look as we walked down the aisle, he wanted to pick out his suit color, and I wanted a first look with my dad. Once we figured those things out it helped the rest unfold.


We did things a little differently because we decided to have a destination ceremony followed by a reception back home. We wanted a smaller, intimate evening for the ceremony but still wanted to be able to celebrate with all our friends back home who were such a huge part of both our lives and how we got to where we are today.

Once we had these details ironed out and agreed upon, we were able to start planning! 

Planning the Destination Wedding Ceremony

1️⃣ Find your location 🌴Ours was meaningful to us since we met in Turk and Caicos so we found the location first BEFORE picking the date. Having a location that meant something to us was truly the reason behind the entire destination ceremony in itself. It made the magic come to life for both us and our guests. 

2️⃣ Pick a date 🗓 Plan at least 1 year in advance to give yourself and guests time to book. It can be hard for your guests to take time off of work so giving them an entire calendar year can really help! After all, if you want them to be there for that special moment, you do have to be accomodating for them. 

3️⃣ Hire a wedding coordinator! 🙌🏼 You will be planning everything from afar which can make decision making very difficult. If you hire someone who is onsite year round or located in the destination you intend to get married at, it can make the world of a difference! You DO NOT want to attempt to do it alone if there are a lot of moving parts. Once we picked out location on the island, our wedding coordinator started a Pinterest board with me and helped our vision come to life. Quick side note, if you are wanting this day to be magical and as stress free as possible, it is best to not want things in an EXACT way. Let your coordinator create the magic. Inform them of your non-negotiables and paint an image for them, but don’t get too wrapped up in every little detail. The true magic is the moment you walk down the aisle. 

4️⃣ Hire a videographer 🎥 This was BY far our best decision! We hired Cody Wambolt and he was UNREAL. You can watch our wedding video here

5️⃣ We stayed at an all inclusive resort called Club Med Turkoise BUT had our ceremony at a friends house. This made our guests accommodations nearly seamless. They were picked up at the airport upon arrival as well as taken back to the airport on their departure day. Everything was arranged through the resort. Once at the resort, everything was paid for so they were able to fully enjoy their stay as if it was a vacation of their own. 

6️⃣Make little Welcome Bags for everyone upon their arrival. It was almost like a little “Survival Kit” for the week. We included a schedule of activities for the week as well as custom koozies, mini advil packs, pedialyte packs, and chapstick

How our week of events for our Destination Wedding unfolded:

SATURDAY:

Myself and my fiance along with a large number of the bridal party and family arrived a few days early to enjoy some vacation time as well as meet with the coordinator and get any last minute things checked off the list. 

WEDNESDAY:

Welcome cocktail with all our guests 🍹 

THURSDAY:

Boat day outing! This was our huge thank you to everyone who made the far travel 🛳 It was also so nice for our guests to be able to spend a day away from the resort at no cost to them. 

FRIDAY:

Beach day and rehearsal dinner 🍽 

SATURDAY:

Ceremony 💍. We also had dinner and dancing to follow almost as if it was a mini reception. At this point all our guests knew each other so it created a VERY fun atmosphere and we did not need to go around thanking everyone for being there because we had already spent a majority of the week with them. 


After the ceremony, we stayed for a few more days after BUT looking back, I think we would have loved to venture to another location for 2-3 nights to RELAX! You are very emotionally drained after the big day and just want time with your new husband. We did not leave for our honeymoon because we planned our honeymoon for after our reception back home. 

Once we returned home from the ceremony, we started planning the reception. We had already chosen the date and location the year prior, and then gave ourselves about 2.5 months between the destination ceremony and reception to plan the final event. 

Planning Our Reception Back Home

1️⃣ Find a venue 

2️⃣ Pick a date. We chose to do ours 2 months after the ceremony to give me time to plan or organize the evening

3️⃣ Hire a “day of coordinator.” This was crucial! As a bride you do not want to be the main point of contact on the day of. She kept ALL our vendors organized (DJ, Photographer, Photobooth, etc.) and I did not need to be contacted at all! 

4️⃣ Hire an amazing photographer! 🙌🏼 📷 Carina Skrobecki was amazing and knew every detail of the night and caught moments without us even knowing she was there. We highly recommend her if you are in the Seattle area. 

How the evening unfolded:

  • Cocktail Hour upon arrival (we took some photos during this time and then mingled a bit)
  • Ask everyone to take their seats
  • Introduction or grandparents, parents and bridal party 
  • Played our videography from the destination ceremony. We wanted to bring the feel of the evening in Turks back with us for our guests as well. We wanted them to have an emotional connection with the evening prior to us being introduced.  
  • We were introduced as husband and wife
  • First dance
  • Dinner
  • Speeches
  • Father/Daughter Dance
  • Mother/Son Dance
  • Party time! 🎉 

We did go above and beyond but hopefully this was helpful for some of you!  Yes, it was a bit much but we wouldn’t have it any other way!

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