Getting married and planning any wedding can be nerve wracking. However, planning a destination wedding involves its own set of challenges. Whether you are having your wedding on a tropical island or in your own country, if you’re not familiar with the area and don’t know the sort of businesses and services that are available there, you may find yourself very frustrated and confused.

To make your destination wedding planning more fun and less stressful, we’ve put together this list of things you definitely should not do, so that you don’t have to learn from your own mistakes.

Don’t do it alone

Don’t kid yourself into thinking that it will be cheaper if you plan it all yourself. Trying to find a perfect venue, suitable for you and guests, caterers, reliable and fantastic entertainment, decorators who work to your tastes, florists who turn up with fresh flowers in the right colors and a hair and make-up artist who will give you the look you want with no local expertise is guaranteed to result in disappointment. Find a local planner who can recommend professionals and services that are trusted and reputable.

Find a local planner


Photo Credit: Lano Lan /

Don’t use a planner from your own area or an agency. ‘Local’ is the operative word. Make sure that your planner lives and works in the destination you have chosen and that they will be there on the day to troubleshoot. It will save you money and many headaches in the long run. If something goes wrong on the day, you don’t want to have to deal with it yourself. A good local planner will be able to solve problems quickly and smoothly without disrupting your special day and stressing you out.

Choose your vendors

While finding a local planner is very important, you do want to have some say in choosing your vendors. A planner may have favorites for all sorts of reasons. They may even get a kickback for recommendations, so ask them to supply you with a number of options for you to choose your vendors from. Then you can interview the vendors yourself to find the best fit.

Find your photographer independently


Most planners include photography in their package. If you care about your photography, don’t take up that option. Find your photographer independently. Look at websites for photographers in the local area. You can find the best ones through international professional wedding associations and directories. Make sure to use a photographer who is familiar with the destination. If you’re traveling abroad, bringing a professional photographer with you may cause immigration difficulties, so check on the local laws. You don’t want your wedding photographer deported. Using a local photographer will normally result in better images anyway as they’ll know the best locations and natural light for fabulous photos.

Don’t rely entirely on online reviews

When choosing your planner don’t rely entirely on online reviews. Reviews can be made up. Spend time talking to the planner. Meet, if possible, and if not possible in person, have video conferences. If you know someone who lives or works in the area, ask them what they think of the planner or what their reputation is like. Most areas have local message boards of forums. This is a good way to get some honest, local feedback about the planner. A good planner won’t mind you checking them out. In fact, they’ll be pleased because they’ll know you’ll hear great things about them.

Give your guests options on accommodation

Don’t arrange for all guests to stay at one location. Different guests will have differing budgets. Give them a selection of accommodation but make sure that arrangements have been made to get them all to the venue on time.

Confirm guests attendance


Don’t be casual about guests and RSVPs. Set a firm date by which you need to have their attendance confirmed. Once they have confirmed, don’t just leave them hanging. Send out detailed information packages about the destination along with any itinerary you have set, so that they can plan accordingly.

Dress right

Don’t get wedding clothes that are inappropriate for the destination. If you are going somewhere hot and sunny, lightweight and loose is what you should be wearing. If you are going to be somewhere cold or rainy, make sure that you will be comfortable by having coats that flatter your wedding clothes to hand as well as umbrellas.

Wind down


Don’t plan a schedule after the wedding out of obligation to your guests. If you’re going to organize activities with them, at least give yourself some time to wind down on the day after the wedding. After such a big day, you’ll want to relax and reconnect.

Your destination wedding should be as much of a vacation as it is an event. Make sure you plan everything well in advance so that you can truly enjoy the experience.