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Destination Wedding Planning Tips

$99 Virginia City Nevada Wedding Package

The first destination wedding I ever booked was my own. It was many years ago in Virginia City, Nevada, in a little chapel in the back of the Silver Queen bar. For $99, I got a justice of the peace, a garter, an old time photo and a bottle of pink champagne. There was even a jackalope on the wall. It was perfect—for me!

It’s not your typical wedding, though, and not even close to what I book for most clients these days. Picture being barefoot on the beach against a backdrop of the Caribbean’s turquoise waters. Or saying “I do” while floating in a gondola in Venice with a photographer capturing the moment from the shore. Or carrying a bouquet of wildflowers down the aisle of a small, stone chapel in Ireland.

Hawaii Wedding Package

The options are endless, but they all share one similarity—they are no-fuss weddings. That’s exactly what I give every couple who sits at my desk and asks for help. Maybe this is your second wedding or you already have children. Perhaps you are renewing your vows or simply want a ceremony that is small and under control. Destination weddings are about the couple, not about the party. This is not your classic church wedding with a reception for 300.

However, trying to plan a destination wedding on your own is a complicated business. It’s such an overwhelming process to figure out. There are endless websites, and you really need to know what you are looking for. That’s where I come in. I’ve been designing the perfect destination wedding for couples for years, and each one is more special than the last.

Wedding check list

I have no expectations when clients arrive. Most have no idea of budget, location, dates, anything. All I ask for are two lists—one of definite attendees and another of maybes—as well as how much you want guests to spend. The most important thing is numbers. This will dictate where you go, and weather will dictate when you go. When you leave my office, you’ll take away a mission, purpose, place, date and budget. It’s an easy, pain free process, where you go from no knowledge to complete knowledge in two hours.

Then I take it a step further and set up the Knot. I enter all the details of the wedding, everything anyone needs to know, and provide examples of different packages—all complimentary. So when guests ask for details, you simply point them toward the website and have them call me. It’s hassle free for the couple.

Nervous about the details? Don’t worry, we’ll walk through every step together.

What about the official paperwork, you say? Do it before you go…in the states. Trust me on this. If you try to do it in your destination, you may find you have to be there several days or sometimes months in advance. The country may even require blood tests. Don’t make things harder than they need to be. Remember, these are “symbolic” destination weddings.

Example of a package

But how much is it going to cost me? The question is, “How much do you want guests to pay?” The average is $1,200-$1,400 per guest, but we can go lower if needed. That’s all inclusive—flights, four nights at a five-star resort, meals, everything. And the wedding itself? Here’s the best part. Most resorts have free wedding packages. That’s right. You get it all—wedding venue, wedding coordinator, flowers, a reception—all for free, as long as you meet the terms, such as five rooms booked for three nights. Remember, it all goes back to the numbers. Every place is different, though, and I’m here to guide you through it—and protect you from the common traps, such as booking a resort that churns out weddings throughout the day. This is about you, not you competing with ten other brides for time and space.

What if I decide to go to the Caribbean and a hurricane hits the weekend of my wedding? First off, I will never book a wedding in the Caribbean during hurricane season. But you’re right. Although we try our best to plan for everything, the unexpected can happen, which is why I always have you purchase travel insurance. It’s the answer to every problem.

What if I have kids? There’s a resort for that. We’ll book you a place with kids programs and babysitters to make sure the kids are entertained so you can relax and enjoy your cocktail. We’ll pick five or six places and then play with the options. Whether you want pristine beaches, amazing pools, golf courses, or access to jet skis, there is a resort that fits everyone’s personality.

Just keep in mind, whether you picture yourself standing on a cliff with the sunset framing your photo or getting hitched at an Elvis drive-through in Vegas, I can create the perfect package for you and your fiancé. Let me worry over details, so you can start enjoying the rest of your life together.

Interested to find out more? Sign up for my next Destination Weddings travel talk or send me an email at

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