Destination Weddings

Wedding Blog: Tales of a Planner

Wedding Ideas and Planning Tips from Industry Professionals here at Ybarra Events

Wedding planners are more than just event planners. We're designers, problem-solvers, coordinators, budgeteers, part-time therapists, and friends to the couples and families who are entrusting us to help them with their events. Since we're on friendly terms now, here are some tips and tricks to the trade of navigating wedding planning! 

Jet-Set Nuptials: Tips for Traveling to Your Dream Destination Wedding

 Written by: Katie Pierce

Destination weddings always sound like either a dream or an absolute nightmare. They’re thrilling, and the memories (and wedding photos!) created wouldn’t ever be replicated anywhere, but they are notoriously difficult to plan and execute. From selecting the perfect location to navigating travel logistics, there are numerous factors to consider when jet-setting for your dream wedding. 

Whether you're envisioning a beachside ceremony or a romantic mountain retreat, careful planning and attention to detail are essential for a seamless experience. In this guide, we'll explore essential tips for traveling to your dream destination wedding.

Photo: Rebecca Skidgel Photography 

1. Choosing Your Dream Destination

Choosing the ideal location is the very first step in organizing your destination wedding. Take into account elements like the destination's general atmosphere, local attractions, accessibility, and weather. Whether you envision an intimate ceremony on a secluded island or a grand affair in a historic castle, choose a location that resonates with both you and your partner.

7. Dealing with Language and Cultural Differences

Navigating language barriers and cultural differences can be challenging when planning a destination wedding. Consider hiring a local wedding planner or interpreter who can help facilitate communication with vendors and navigate cultural nuances. Learning a few basic phrases in the local language can also go a long way toward making connections with locals.

8. Preparing for Weather Conditions

Weather can be unpredictable, so it's essential to prepare for various conditions when planning a destination wedding. Have a backup plan in case of inclement weather, whether it's securing a tent for an outdoor ceremony or relocating to an indoor venue. Provide guests with weather-appropriate attire suggestions to ensure everyone is comfortable throughout the event.

9. Creating an Itinerary

To make the most of your destination wedding experience, create a detailed itinerary for you and your guests. Plan pre-wedding activities such as welcome dinners, sightseeing tours, and group excursions to explore the destination together. Providing guests with a schedule of events will keep everyone organized and ensure they have a memorable experience.

10. Communicating with Guests

Clear communication is key when planning a destination wedding, especially when it comes to informing guests about travel arrangements and logistics. Create a wedding website or send out informational emails with details about accommodations, transportation, and local attractions. Encourage guests to RSVP promptly and ask any questions they may have.

11. Finalizing Details

As the wedding day approaches, double-check all the details to ensure everything is in place. Confirm reservations with vendors, review your itinerary, and coordinate with your wedding planner or coordinator. Delegate tasks to trusted friends or family members to alleviate stress and ensure a smooth execution of your wedding day plans.

12. Enjoying Your Dream Destination Wedding

On your wedding day, take a moment to soak in the beauty of your surroundings and the love of your partner and guests. Embrace the unique experience of a destination wedding and create lasting memories with your loved ones. Whether you're exchanging vows on a sandy beach or beneath the stars, cherish every moment of your dream destination wedding.

13. Post-Wedding Considerations

After the festivities have ended, there are still some post-wedding tasks to attend to, especially if you've been married abroad. Ensure you have all the necessary legal documents, such as your marriage certificate, translated and authenticated if required. Send out thank-you notes to your guests and take time to reflect on the magical experience of your destination wedding.

Photo: South and West Photo

Photo: Hawaiian Pix

Photo: Ksway Films

Photo: Photography by Aubrey

Photo: Dani Padgett Weddings

2. Researching Legal Requirements

Before jetting off to your dream destination, it's essential to familiarize yourself with the legal requirements for getting married abroad. Each country has its own set of rules and regulations, which may include residency requirements, documentation, and permits. Researching these legalities well in advance will ensure a smooth and hassle-free wedding experience.

3. Budgeting and Planning Ahead

Since destination weddings may become expensive, it's important to set and stick to a reasonable budget. Take into account costs for travel, lodging, venue rental, food, and decorations.  Planning ahead and prioritizing your spending will help you stay within your budget while still achieving the wedding of your dreams.

4. Booking Accommodations and Travel

Once you've chosen your wedding destination, it's time to book accommodations and make travel arrangements for you and your guests. Look for hotels or resorts that offer wedding packages and can accommodate your group size. Consider logistics such as transportation to and from the venue and any special accommodations for guests with mobility issues.

5. Selecting Local Vendors

Finding reliable vendors in your destination can be challenging, but it's essential for executing your wedding vision seamlessly. Research local photographers, florists, caterers, and other vendors who specialize in destination weddings. Reading reviews, asking for recommendations, and scheduling video calls can help you vet potential vendors and ensure they understand your vision.

6. Packing Essentials

When packing for a destination wedding, consider both your wedding attire and everyday essentials. Pack your wedding dress or suit in a garment bag to prevent wrinkles and damage during travel. Don't forget to pack sunscreen, insect repellent, and any medications you may need, especially if you're traveling to a remote location.

Wedding Travel Don'ts 

Planning a destination wedding involves navigating various travel-related challenges to ensure a seamless experience. Here are some travel pitfalls to steer clear of:

    • Ignoring Travel Restrictions: Stay updated on entry requirements and visa restrictions.
    • Overlooking Transportation Logistics: Plan airport transfers and shuttle services to prevent transportation hiccups.
    • Underestimating Packing Needs: Make a checklist of essential items and pack strategically.
    • Neglecting Travel Insurance: Invest in comprehensive travel insurance for protection.
    • Failing to Plan for Currency Exchange: Research local currency and exchange rates.
    • Skipping Health Precautions: Stay updated on vaccination requirements and pack essential medications.
    • Underestimating Language Barriers: Learn basic phrases or use translation apps to overcome language barriers.
    • Ignoring Safety Concerns: Research safety and security at your destination and take necessary precautions.


Planning a destination wedding is an exciting and rewarding endeavor that allows couples to celebrate their love in a unique and memorable way. By following these tips and staying organized throughout the planning process, you can turn your dream wedding destination into a reality.

From choosing the perfect location to saying "I do" surrounded by loved ones, a destination wedding offers a one-of-a-kind experience that you'll cherish for a lifetime.

For more wedding inspiration, check out Ybarra Events’ Blog!

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About the Author: 

Tara Ybarra, Co-Owner and Event Planner for Ybarra Events, has been in the Wedding Industry for over 20 years. From Photographer, to Wedding Cake Artist, to Florist, to Officiant, and now Wedding Planner, her accumilated experience, paired with her College Courses in Event Planning, have given her the experience she has today. Blogging gives her an opportunity to share that knowledge with her readers. 

Ybarra Events is located in California’s spectacular Napa Valley. Ybarra Events are the pièce de résistance of wedding planners. Run by the dynamic duo of Tara and James Ybarra, they help couples organize, design, and plan their nuptials at some of the most fabulous and luxurious wedding venues in Napa, Sonoma, San Francisco, and Beyond. Chat with them today to start planning the wine-country wedding of your dreams.

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