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    10 Destination Wedding Ideas for an Unforgettable Summer


    Published by Garden State Bride
    Posted on Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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    Dreaming of saying “I do” under a sun-drenched sky or amidst a quaint European village? You’re not alone! The allure of destination weddings has captivated couples worldwide, offering a blend of unique experiences and breathtaking landscapes. As the search for the perfect ‘I do’ destination becomes more exciting, understanding the array of destination wedding ideas is paramount. From the serene beaches of the Caribbean to the historic castles of Europe, the possibilities are limitless. Equally important is finding a locale that resonates with your love story, ensuring your wedding is not just an event but a cherished memory that lasts a lifetime.

    In our journey together, we’ll guide you through selecting the perfect destination, effectively managing your budget, and the unbeatable perks of hiring a wedding planner. We’ll also delve into the niceties of guest notifications, including save-the-dates and invitations, and navigate the logistics of travel and accommodation to ensure a seamless experience for you and your guests. Additionally, for those keen on extending the celebration, we’ll suggest ideas for planning additional wedding-related events that will enrich your nuptial festivities. Whether your heart is set on luxurious wedding venues, the rustic charm of a garden state bride, or the intimate settings of New Jersey weddings, this article is your compass to planning a summer destination wedding that embodies your unique love story and leaves your guests in awe.

    Choosing the Perfect Destination

    Tips for Location Selection

    When selecting the perfect destination for your wedding, consider the type of backdrop you desire. Whether it’s the rolling waves of a sandy shore or the secluded beaches in Maine, the setting plays a crucial role in the ambiance of your special day[12]. Additionally, it’s essential to research the venues thoroughly to ensure they meet your expectations and are highly recommended by wedding planning experts[12].

    Before finalizing your destination, it’s advisable to consult with a travel agent who can provide insights into various locations and help match your vision with the right spot[14]. They can also assist innegotiating the best deals and managing travel arrangements for you and your guests[14]. Remember to factor in your budget and guest count early in the planning process, as these elements will significantly influence your choice of location[14].

    Popular Destination Examples

    For those dreaming of a tropical wedding, places like Hawaii, Tahiti, Mexico, or the Bahamas offer the quintessential paradise setting, although they can be pricey and require early planning due to their popularity[11]. If you prefer a cooler climate or a mountainous backdrop, consider destinations that offer spring-like temperatures and unique photo opportunities, such as certain mountain getaways[11].

    Beach lovers might find their ideal venue in coastal towns which come alive in the summer. These locations are not only picturesque but also equipped to handle weddings, with plenty of planners, caterers, and florists available[11]. For a unique experience, you might also explore national or state parks that offer natural beauty and are equipped for hosting both ceremonies and receptions[11].

    Always consider the weather and legal requirements of the destination. Some places might be prone to hurricanes or have specific legal stipulations for marriage, which could affect your plans[14]. Ensuring that your chosen destination aligns with both your aesthetic preferences and practical considerations will help guarantee a memorable and stress-free wedding experience.

    Budgeting for Your Destination Wedding

    How to Allocate Your Budget

    When planning your destination wedding, understanding how to distribute your funds effectively is essential. Start by determining who will contribute to the wedding costs. It’s common now for both families and the couple to contribute[18]. Next, prioritize your expenses, with venue and catering typically consuming the largest portion of the budget. On average, allocate about 50% of your total budget to the wedding venue, which is consistent whether you’re at home or abroad[16].

    Consider the size of your guest list as it directly influences catering costs and venue size. A per-head cost is typical for most catering services, making the size of your guest list a pivotal factor[18]. Also, remember to set aside a portion of your budget for unforeseen expenses; a good rule of thumb is about 5% for emergencies[18].

    Ways to Save Money

    Saving on your destination wedding can be achieved through several strategic decisions. Choosing an off-peak season for your wedding can significantly reduce venue and accommodation costs. For example, rates during the high season can increase by up to 50%, so marrying during the low season or shoulder seasons can offer the same beautiful settings at a fraction of the cost[17].

    Additionally, reducing your guest list can dramatically decrease costs. Fewer guests mean savings on food, beverages, and venue space. It also allows for a more intimate celebration[20]. Opting for local vendors rather than bringing vendors from home can save on travel and accommodation costs for these services[20].

    Another effective way to manage your budget is to combine your wedding and honeymoon. This approach not only cuts down on travel expenses but also allows you to negotiate better deals with vendors who often offer packages that cater to both events[20].

    By carefully planning and utilizing these strategies, you can enjoy a beautiful destination wedding without overspending, ensuring that your special day remains joyous and stress-free.

    Benefits of Hiring a Wedding Planner

    Why You Need a Planner

    Hiring a wedding planner can transform your wedding planning experience from stressful to delightful. A planner acts as a coach or captain, leading the entire team to ensure every element of the celebration is in order[27]. They are responsible for connecting with vendors, designing the overall look and feel of the event, and orchestrating the day’s activities[27]. For destination weddings, especially those abroad, a wedding planner tackles additional responsibilities and challenges, such as dealing with cultural differences and managing logistics across time zones[27].

    Wedding planners are not just about managing details; they’re about creating experiences. They take the lead on tasks that you might overlook, from the strategic placement of a fork to the timing of each event, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable experience for you and your guests[27]. Additionally, planners help manage your budget and can often secure discounts and better rates through their network[22].

    How to Find the Best Planner

    Finding the right wedding planner involves knowing where to look and what qualities to seek. Start by asking your venue about their preferred planners; these professionals are likely familiar with the venue and have proven their ability to work well in that space[25]. You can also utilize resources like The Knot Marketplace to find highly rated vendors, or explore social media platforms where planners showcase their work and interact with potential clients[25].

    When selecting a planner, it’s crucial to consider their communication skills and how well they understand your vision. A good planner listens attentively and communicates effectively, ensuring that your ideas are brought to life just as you imagined[25]. It’s also wise to read reviews and possibly reach out to other couples who have worked with the planner to gauge their satisfaction and the planner’s ability to connect and build trust[27].

    Lastly, have an open conversation about your wedding vision and expectations. Discuss how the planner handles unexpected challenges and their familiarity with your chosen location. This dialogue will help you feel confident in their ability to deliver a memorable and stress-free wedding[27].

    Guest Notifications: Save-the-Dates and Invitations

    When to Send Notifications

    For a seamless destination wedding experience, timing is everything, especially when it comes to notifying your guests. We recommend sending out save-the-date cards as early as possible, ideally around 9-12 months before the wedding[32]. This early notice allows your guests ample time to arrange travel, save money, and adjust their schedules accordingly. Following up with formal invitations should occur approximately 4-6 months prior to the event, ensuring all details are confirmed and guests are well-prepared[32].

    What Information to Include

    Your save-the-dates and invitations are not just notifications; they are the first glimpse into the style and vibe of your wedding day. At a minimum, your invitations should clearly state our names, the wedding date and time, the venue name, and the location[32]. Additionally, include a method for RSVP and, if applicable, a link to your wedding website[32].

    To truly assist your guests, consider including an insert or directing them to a section on your wedding website that covers more logistical details. This can include travel and accommodation tips, a suggested dress code, and any additional events planned around the wedding[32]. For those traveling from afar, providing information on the expected climate, necessary travel vaccinations, and visa requirements can be incredibly helpful[33].

    It’s also essential to communicate the nature of the celebration clearly. If the event is adult-only, or if children are welcome, make sure this is specified to avoid any confusion[31]. This clarity helps your guests plan better, especially those with young children, and ensures everyone knows what to expect[31].

    By meticulously planning out the notifications for your destination wedding, you ensure that every guest feels informed, prepared, and excited to celebrate this significant milestone with you.

    Travel and Accommodation Logistics

    Booking Tips

    When planning your destination wedding, it’s crucial to consider the travel and accommodation logistics for your guests. Many of our loved ones might need to travel significant distances, which involves coordinating multiple aspects such as flights and accommodations[34][35][36]. To ease this process, we recommend sending out save-the-dates as early as possible, ideally six months to a year before the wedding, allowing guests ample time to make travel arrangements[34].

    Choosing a venue that doubles as a lodging option, like a hotel or resort, significantly simplifies logistics. This setup not only reduces transportation needs but also offers potential discounts and packages, making it a budget-friendly and convenient option[34]. If you’re unable to book accommodations for everyone, providing a list of recommended hotels with special deals can also be immensely helpful[34].

    For those with a large guest list, securing room blocks early is essential, especially during peak travel seasons. Engage with hotels or resorts for group sales to ensure availability and possibly negotiate better rates[35]. Remember, the earlier you secure these blocks, the more likely you are to accommodate everyone comfortably and affordably.

    Transportation Arrangements

    Coordinating travel for a destination wedding requires attention to detail and can benefit greatly from professional assistance. Hiring a travel agent or using a travel booking tool can alleviate much of the stress associated with these arrangements by handling complex logistics like group travel, airport transfers, and ensuring that everyone arrives comfortably and on time[36].

    For larger groups, consider organizing group travel options such as charter buses or coordinated flights. This not only ensures everyone travels together, reducing the chance of delays and confusion, but it can also be more cost-effective[36]. Providing detailed travel itineraries and tips on finding affordable flights will further assist your guests in planning their journey smoothly.

    Always include transportation to and from the venue, especially if the ceremony and reception locations are spread out. Offering shuttle services or arranging for reputable local transport ensures guests can move between venues easily and safely. This consideration is particularly important for guests who are not familiar with the area or for venues that are hard to navigate[37].

    By carefully planning both booking tips and transportation arrangements, you ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience for your guests, allowing them to celebrate this special occasion with you without the added stress of travel and accommodation logistics.

    Planning Additional Events

    Welcome Parties

    Kicking off our destination wedding festivities, welcome parties provide a fantastic opportunity for guests to mingle and settle in before the big day. Hosting a welcome party is not just a kind gesture—it’s a critical element of the wedding weekend that sets the tone for the upcoming celebration[40][41].

    One of the most delightful ways to welcome your guests is by organizing an evening beach picnic. Imagine the soft sand under your feet and the soothing sound of waves as you all enjoy a relaxed gathering[40]. For a more adventurous welcome, consider a sunset yacht ride. It’s an exceptional way to let your guests soak in the beauty of the destination while enjoying some onboard hors d’oeuvres and cocktails[40].

    Incorporating local culture into your welcome party can also offer guests a unique experience. In destinations like Mexico, traditional Kermesses—local fairs with games and entertainment—are not only fun but also serve as a perfect ice-breaker for your families and friends to bond[40].

    For a more inclusive celebration, think about extending the invitation to all your guests rather than limiting it to close family and friends. This approach transforms traditional rehearsal dinners into a more engaging event for everyone[40]. Adding special touches like a themed masquerade or a pool party can further enhance the casual and fun atmosphere of your welcome party[40].

    Lastly, greeting your guests with personalized welcome kits upon arrival at their accommodations can make a significant impact. These kits might include items like sunscreen, lip balm, and other essentials that will make their stay more comfortable and enjoyable[40].

    Post-Wedding Brunches

    After the excitement of the wedding day, a post-wedding brunch is an excellent way for the newlyweds to wind down and spend additional quality time with their guests. This event is especially appreciated by those who have traveled from afar and provides a casual setting for more intimate interactions[43][44].

    The timing of the brunch is crucial; it usually takes place the morning after the wedding but can be adjusted based on the overall wedding schedule and guest departure times[43]. Offering a range of brunch timings can accommodate guests’ needs, allowing them to join at their convenience[43].

    When planning the menu, it’s essential to cater to various dietary preferences and include both breakfast and lunch options. Setting up interactive food stations, like a build-your-own mimosa bar or a bespoke omelet station, adds an element of fun and engagement to the brunch[43].

    The location of the brunch should also be convenient for your guests, ideally within walking distance from where they are staying. If the majority of your guests are at the same hotel, hosting the brunch there or at a nearby venue can ease logistics[43].

    In terms of budget, while you want to create a memorable experience, it’s also important to consider cost-effectiveness. Opting for simpler, high-quality menu options can help manage expenses without compromising the enjoyment of your guests[43].

    By thoughtfully planning these additional events, you ensure that your wedding celebration is not just a single day of joy but a full weekend of memorable experiences that your guests will cherish forever.


    As we’ve explored the enchanting world of destination weddings, from the picturesque sceneries of beaches and historic castles to the detailed intricacies of budgeting, planning, and celebrating, it’s clear that these weddings offer a unique blend of adventure and romanticism tailored to your love story. By embracing the journey of choosing the perfect destination, managing logistics effectively, and incorporating vibrant additional events, couples are bestowed with an unforgettable experience. The thoughtful consideration of each aspect, from the initial notifications to the final farewell brunch, solidifies the foundation for a truly memorable celebration that resonates well beyond the day itself.

    Finalizing your destination wedding with the right accommodations can enhance the comfort and enjoyment of your guests, making your celebration even more remarkable. For those looking to secure the best deals and accommodations, consider partnering withGarden State Bride, where we promise to beat any other website’s offerings, ensuring your guests’ stay is both luxurious and affordable. As your wedding unfolds into a beautiful narrative of love, unity, and unforgettable memories, let the essence of your chosen destination and the joy of your celebration echo in the hearts of all who attend, leaving a lasting imprint that cherishes the beginning of your lifelong journey together.


    1. What are some affordable destination wedding locations in India?
    India offers several budget-friendly destination wedding spots. Some of the most popular and affordable ones include Pondicherry, known for its beautiful beaches; Kerala, famed for its scenic backwaters; Daman & Diu; Goa, popular for its vibrant nightlife and lovely beaches; Uttrakhand, known for its serene landscapes; and Rajasthan, famous for its royal palaces.

    2. What is a typical budget for a destination wedding?
    On average, a domestic destination wedding costs around $28,372, which includes travel expenses for the couple. For international weddings, the average cost is about $27,227. Although international weddings might be more expensive per guest, they typically have smaller guest lists.

    3. Which locations are considered the best for a destination wedding?
    Some of the top destination wedding locations recommended by the Travel Channel include Tulum, Mexico, known for its stunning beaches and Mayan ruins; Lake Tahoe, Nevada; Vermont; Colorado; Belize; Charleston, South Carolina; Ireland; and the Island of Hawaii. Each of these locations offers unique scenic backgrounds perfect for wedding photos.

    4. How can you enhance the experience of guests at a destination wedding?
    To make a destination wedding memorable for guests, consider providing a list of wardrobe suggestions with your invitations, arranging transportation from the airport, setting up a welcome lounge at the venue, writing personal welcome notes, offering ideas for leisure activities during downtime, and organizing special events tailored for different groups, such as a ladies’ or gents’ day out.


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