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Our Best Destination Wedding Advice | Jake + Genessa Photography, February 10, 2020.

The idea of a Destination Wedding seems so magical and adventurous, and if we weren’t wedding photographers, we would also have no idea where to start! “Where should we go?”, “Are there laws for this kind of thing?”, “How do we make it official?” SO many questions. But, being wedding photographers for a while, we’ve picked up a few handy-dandy tips that should begin the process of planning your destination wedding a bit less scary, and a bit more exciting! Here is Our Best Destination Wedding Advice for 2020!

Our Advice: Do Exactly What You Want

First things first.

This really is something you need to consider. What do you guys want? It honestly comes down to your guys’ vision for your day. Do you envision a remote, serene setting with those you love standing beside you? Or do you want a lively party in Spain? Are you the adventurous, hike-a-mountain kind of people? Or would your rather be sunbathing on the beach? If you both sit down and go over some things that are “musts”, finding a matching location, vendors, etc. will be that much easier.

*Insert Shia Labeouf’s “Just DO IT”*

Destination Weddings – Finding the Right Location

Whatever your desired location, there are some things to take into consideration.

Okay. So you’ve talked, and maybe narrowed it down a bit. But there are a lot of “tropical”, “mountainous”, and “beachy” locations in the world!

  1. You should always consider the date of your wedding, and look up the weather for that time in the places you’re browsing through!
  2. When searching for a location, you also want to remember your budget. We want to assure you that it is 100% possible to have a destination wedding without blowing 50k! You just need to evaluate what you really want to invest in. Here are some of the cheapest wedding destinations: In South America: Mexico, Aruba, Jamaica, and Hawaii. In Europe: Croatia, Portugal, Spain, and Italy. In Asia: Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
  3. Pick a place that can be your honeymoon location also. Destination weddings are unique in that way– you don’t have to go too far to find honeymoon-worthy locations.
  4. Lastly, your location should be one that’s meaningful to both of you. Somewhere you guys met, somewhere you both love, somewhere that is your happy place. The place where you said “I Love You”. If you’re just starting to plan your destination wedding, the very first thing you need to look for is your location, because after you’ve got that pegged, everything else falls into place really nicely.

Who To Invite to Your Destination Wedding

Who should we invite? Should we pay for everyone’s flights? Would everyone be willing to come if they had to pay their own way?

Being a destination wedding, things can get kinda tricky when inviting people. The point of a destination wedding is kinda that you’re doing things your way. In a way, it’s more personal. The people you have standing beside you on your wedding day should be the ones who would fly all the way around the world for you. Consider who in your life have stood by you no matter what— those are the people who should be standing beside you here. We’ve seen destination weddings with 15-30 people. And I’ve also seen 200-guest destination weddings. It’s up to you. There are no rules telling you how many people you can invite— it’s about you and who you want to be there.

On Flights: we’ve seen couples pay for the flights of their immediate family, and the rest come on their own. Another option is to offer free accommodation and food during their stay– that gives people incentive to come.

Destination Weddings – How to Make it Official

Now… to the legal stuff. ‘Cause it matters too.

Your wedding day not only deserves to be documented by photographs, but officially documented and filed. 

First things first— reseaarch! If you have a location in mind, try googling “Marriage License” followed by that location. That will give you all the info you need! Some factors you can also look into are: Do you need a local officiant? Is there a wait time between applying for the license and actually getting married?

For destination weddings in Spain (’cause that where we’re based), here are some marriage requirements you’ll need to look into. We also wrote a blog on everything you need to know about getting married in Ireland. Check it out here.

One really helpful thing we always tell our couples is that you can skip all the fuss of paperwork and legally get married in your hometown at a courthouse. Then, travel to your desired location and do the actual wedding event and celebration on the official date, which makes the pre-planning easier for you guys. 

Destination Weddings – How Much $$ Can We Save?

While Destination Weddings might seem like a lot of money, you can actually save in a lot of areas. You might spend a bit less because of the guest list, but things inevitably can add up. Here’s our best destination wedding advice when it comes to saving $$:

  1. Book early, and always be looking for deals on flights. Track some flights from different websites to see what’s the average price, and also look at different dates to see when the flights are cheaper.
  2. Keep the guest list small. Catering depends on how many guests you have, so it can cut down the costs quite a bit!
  3. Hire a wedding planner. They know more about how to save money in the area than anyone else. You will not regret the money you spend on a planner.
  4. Fly into a large airport. You would be surprised how much cheaper it is to fly to the biggest airport in a country! Even if you have layovers, it’s the best thing you can do to save money.

Important note: Because you’re having a destination wedding doesn’t mean you should spend less on your vendors. Your planner, florist, etc. won’t charge less because it’s a destination wedding. With that to say, in ten years from now, you’re going to be glad that the vendors helping document you wedding day were 100% there for you and working their butt off to make it worthwhile. Invest in what matters to you!

How do We Find The Right Photographer?

Since we’re destination wedding photographers, you’re getting the real deal, from someone who knows the industry. To be completely honest, we would love to photograph your destination wedding, BUT we don’t want you to hire us just because we said that. We want you to hire us because you love what we stand for and our work. We keep telling people that they’re not trying to find the best photographer, they’re trying to find the right photographer. Here’s how you know:

  1. Just because they’re the cheapest photographer in the area shouldn’t be the reason you hire them. There are so many thousands of talented and kind artists out there who do amazing work who are in your budget.
  2. You need to love their work. Check out their Instagram. Pinterest. Their website, and what they stand for. This includes their editing style– if you’re not sold on how they edit their photos, there’s someone better for you out there.
  3. You need to feel like you can trust them 100% with your wedding day. This is probably going to be the best day of your life (or one of them). Do you trust your photographer to OWN the day; to do their job effectively and professionally? If you feel like you need to give out pointers, it’s a sign that you don’t fully trust them, and that means you guys aren’t the best fit.
  4. Hiring a local photographer isn’t always necessary. Most photographers (like us) travel for weddings. What matters is that you connect with their work.

Within our best destination wedding advice, we thought to leave the best for last. And, the most important. Your photographer will make or break your destination wedding. Did you know that of ALL the things you invest in on your wedding day, the only thing you actually keep after the day is over are your memories? Your photos.

Here are some other related blogs:

What You Didn’t Know About Destination Weddings

First 5 Things to Do After Getting Engaged

Top 10 Wedding Venues in Spain

Why You Need to Take Trash the Dress Photos

Thank You

We truly hope Our Best Destination Wedding Advice has been helpful for you as you plan your wedding day. We’re so happy you stopped by!