Eight Top Tips Destination Wedding Planning

From Scotland to Spain and Ibiza to Italy, here are our top tips for planning a destination wedding…

As destination wedding photographer’s, Liberty Pearl Photo & Film Collective have had the privilege of photographing weddings across the globe. We have snapped gorgeous couples saying their wedding vows in Ibiza, Spain, France, Cape Town, Ireland, Scotland, Belgium, Santorini and Tuscany.

Planning a destination wedding, surrounded by your closest friends and family, sounds so appealing. And believe us, when it’s done well it is a magical day. But there are many things to consider if your dream day is to go according to plan. After photographing many destination weddings across the world, we have seen things play out perfectly, as well as seen hurdles couples had to jump to get hitched abroad. As destination wedding experts, here are our top tips on what you should know when planning your wedding day abroad…

Choose your destination wedding location wisely

It sounds like an obvious thing to say, but thinking about what kind of destination wedding you both want in advance can save a lot of problems further down the line. If you want a wintery wedding with a long, dark evening filled with flickering candlelight, look at somewhere like Iceland. While if you’re chasing the sun head to the Mediterranean in the height of summer. Check the weather averages for the time of year you plan to marry, and always have a backup option if you plan to have your ceremony outside. Likewise, think about the culture of the destination you plan to marry in. If you want a laidback vibe, think about hosting your wedding at the coast in Greece. Is all out glamour more you? Jet-off for a city in Italy. 

Take time searching for your destination wedding venue

Once you’ve chosen the country, start the search for your destination wedding venue. As you are looking ask yourself these questions. Is the venue suitable for all of your guests? How organised does the venue seem to be around arranging visits. Are you happy with the responses to any questions you have? When you are planning a destination wedding, it is well worth checking if your selected venue has hosted other destination weddings before. And, if you don’t speak the language of the country you’re due to marry, check that there’s at least one fluent English speaking member of staff at your venue. Otherwise, you may struggle to communicated your ideas effectively.


Visit your destination wedding venue before the big day

Make sure you have visited the location and the venue at least once before your wedding day. While you are planning your destination wedding, you will be trying to envision your day. Heading to your venue before the big day is vital for you understand what to expect on your wedding day.  It will also help you to imagine how you can decorate the space. Visit at the time of year you are due to marry if you can, to get a feel for how the venue will look in a similar lighting. The more you have seen, the easier it will be for you to make an informed decision.

Find your destination wedding photographer

Find a photographer that speaks your language. We mean this both in terms of mother tongue and in terms of photography style. Your photographs are the only record that you will have of your wedding day once it’s all come to an end. If you were getting married in the UK, you would want to meet or at the very least want to speak to your photographer beforehand, so it should be no different if you’re getting married abroad. Choosing a photographer that will travel to your destination means you can meet them (UK or at your venue) in advance of the wedding and even have an engagement shoot if you desire. Choosing a photographer who also speaks the same language as you, means that there are no misunderstandings and you’re able to let them know what you’re after.

Be aware of any local marriage requirements

This can be where a lot of couples run into difficulties. The legal side of getting married in a different country can be complicated. Did you know for instance that if you’re planning a wedding in France, you have to arrive in the country at least 40 days before you get married? Check the terms and double check with your venue or destination wedding planner well ahead of the big day. 


Avoid micro-managing during your destination wedding

WBear in mind, things are different from country to country. While in the UK an order of the day will be very specific and time-bound, abroad you might find things are a bit more flexible. Don’t keep a constant eye on the clock! Many tropical islands, for instance, run on “island time” – with things happening when they happen. Avoid the temptation to micro-manage from afar and instead just schedule in regular check-ins with each of your suppliers so that you feel reassured before the wedding day.

Hire a destination wedding planner

We’d always recommend having a planner who can oversee the whole wedding for you. They can act as a go-between for all of your wedding suppliers. Then you can rest-assured on the day, that someone else is organising the flowers and arranging the tablescapes.

Remember why you chose to have a destination wedding

A destination wedding often means you have a little less control with the finer details. Being farther-a-field, you can’t whizz down the motorway to sample the cake or choose the flowers for your bouquet. You wouldn’t have chosen a destination wedding if you were overly concerned with how the napkins will be folded or how the favours will be presented. Remember why you chose your destination and embrace the local culture, weather and you’ll be sure to have the best day ever!

We are a team of six female photographers and Videographers. We cover weddings nationally and internationally. We cover everything from two hour elopements to  full day weddings to three day Asian weddings. We’ve been fortunate to capture several destination weddings and have many more planned for the coming year. If you would like to talk about your photography requirements, do please get in touch.

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