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Forget Cold Feet! Don’t Make These Classic Destination Wedding Mistakes

Written by Suzy Guese

This blog post was updated on May 11, 2023.

Visions of tying the knot in a Tuscan vineyard or on a remote tropical island often cloud the judgment of couples when planning a destination wedding. While hosting your wedding in a far-flung locale seems to ooze romance, plotting out your big day from afar can open up the floodgates for mistakes and mishaps. Before you book last minute flights for you and your retinue to head to your wedding destination, make sure you avoid these hiccups before getting hitched far away from home.

Selecting a Destination That’s Hard to Get To

While you might think your destination wedding is all about you and your soon to be spouse, couples should avoid making the mistake of failing to consider their guests when picking a destination. If you select a destination that requires a plane ride, then a train ride, and then a ferry, you might cut your guest list in half. Instead, select a place that is closer to an airport. Less transportation for you and your guests will lead to fewer headaches and cut the costs for loved ones trying to make it to your big day. You also don’t want your guests to travel over 25 hours to attend your wedding.

Failing to Send Invitations Early

If you want to ensure at least a few guests at your destination wedding, you’ll need to give them plenty of notice. Many guests require an actual invitation to book their flight, hotels, and transportation. Couples frequently assume everyone knows their date. You might receive an invitation as close as a few weeks before the wedding. The Emily Post Institute recommends mailing Save the Dates in the case of a destination wedding as soon as you have a date and venue. The Save the Date will give your guests ample time to book their travel and plan for the wedding. You can mail invitations 8-12 weeks before a destination wedding with further details for your guests.

Setting a Date Without Checking on Local Events and Festivals

All too often, couples select a wedding date without doing a bit of research on local events and festivals coinciding with their big day. A busy time of year for your destination can mean steeper airfare costs for you and your guests and pricey hotel rooms. Busy events can also lead to chaos at your destination wedding, especially if your venue is hosting another party for that occasion. Be sure you check local activity calendars around your wedding date to make sure there are no conflicts. Also, ask your venue if they are hosting other events on your wedding weekend. You’ll avoid extra costs and chaos if you dodge a major festival occurring at your destination.

Neglecting to Visit Your Destination Before Your Big Day

Couples frequently book destination wedding venues sight unseen. According to Martha Stewart Weddings, this can lead to bad surprises on your wedding day. We’ll take Martha’s word that you should shell out some of your wedding budget to actually go and visit where you plan on hosting your wedding. Make sure the location, venue, and hotels where you and your guests will be staying don’t have any major problems.

You may also like: How to Thank Your Destination Wedding Party

Overscheduling Guests So There’s No Time to Play Tourist

Many of your guests are giving up their vacation days and spending money on last minute flights in order to attend your wedding. Overscheduling the wedding week with wedding-themed events for guests won’t give them any time to play the part of tourist and sightsee. You’ll want to give guests enough free time so they can sightsee and do things they are interested in at the destination. Better yet, incorporate tours and sightseeing into your wedding week and weekend. You can give guests suggestions of things to see, do, and experience in their welcome bag or on your wedding website.

Did you go with a destination wedding for your big day? Share your tips for avoiding any mishaps on the special day in the comments below.

About the author

Suzy Guese

Suzy Guese is a travel writer from Denver, Colorado. She caught the travel bug after taking her very first flight at just three months old—she was headed for Disney World—and has been a total travel junkie ever since. From family car trips across North America to stints abroad in Europe, Suzy travels the globe with her redheaded temperament in search of sarcasm, stories, and travel tips to share with anyone willing to listen. She blogs about her travels at

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