Planning for a Destination Wedding

Your ceremony and reception should be a reflection of who you are, your style, what you like, what inspires you both, and how you live and enjoy life.

Weddings bring families together. They’re a blend symbolic traditions that mean a lot to you and your families, and the celebration of your new family and your vision for the future. Celebrating your wedding in a special destination is one more way to bring meaning and beauty to your ceremony.

Planning a destination wedding is a big job! You’ll be coordinating not just the ceremony itself but also travel, lodging, local requirements for officiating and and for your venue, and managing the details of the reception. This may be one of the biggest events you’ve ever planned, so we’ve pulled together a few resources to help.

Making Plans


If you’re planning a wedding, you’re undoubtedly amassing a collection of ideas for themes, colors and styles for everything from the wedding party’s clothes to the tablescapes at your reception. 

Your ceremony and reception should be a reflection of who you are, your style, what you like, what inspires you both, and how you live and enjoy life. Some places to find inspiration for building a theme, a color scheme and a style:


  • Consider the setting: What would echo the destination of wedding venues like a beach, a garden, or a stately mansion?

  • Consider the mood you want to create: How do you want your guests to feel?

  • What season will it be at your destination wedding? Warm season color schemes tend to be bright or pastel, and cold weather wedding colors tend to be darker and richer.

wedding venues

HomeAway homes that make beautiful wedding venues include property #475085vb in Ojai, CA, and property #408831vb in Los Angeles


The traditions you add to your wedding ceremony reflect the parts of your heritage and families you want to honor. 

Some of the quirky wedding traditions that remain popular have their roots in past culture and its popular wisdom, like the traditional English rhyme, “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,” giving symbolic meaning to parts of what a bride wears to symbolize family, origin and future good fortune. The flowers in bouquets that brides and bridesmaids carry are a modern spin on traditions where brides carried herbs or garlic - to ward off evil spirits. 

Even taking a honeymoon trip evolves from old Norse tradition where the bride and groom went into hiding for 30 days. A family member or friend brought them honey wine each day. 

Weddings aren’t and shouldn’t all be the same. When you design your wedding, you’ve got unlimited options to incorporate meaningful elements and symbols into your ceremony, and choosing the place for a destination wedding is another way to customize your day.

Choosing Places

You might start narrowing your destination choices based on travel distance or proximity to your friends and relatives. You'll also be choosing a place based on your style and the kind of wedding you're planning, from serene and scenic to sophisticated and swanky. Kauai's stunning beaches, Charleston's charm and Las Vegas's glitz are just a few of the features that couples love in these favorite wedding destinations.

A whole house or whole estate makes is a lovely event venue. You can also find homes anywhere in the world near beaches, chapels and other special venues that provide lodging for your whole wedding party. 

Look for "Events Allowed" in the description of the home rental listing you're looking at or contact the owner or property manager to find more out about hosting a small wedding, reception or celebration on the property.

suitablilty events ojai

Events are allowed at this Ojai, California, estate, HomeAway #475085vb


Preparing for a Party


If you’re inviting friends and family, you’re not only planning a ceremony but a party as well. Wedding receptions mean planning for space to eat, mingle and dance. You’ll need to budget for music, decoration, food and drink.

palm springs p268581

A reception at HomeAway property #268581 in Palm Springs

If you serve alcohol at your wedding, the costs of an open bar alone can be 10% or more of your wedding budget. Wedding alcohol calculators estimate providing enough beer, wine and bubbly for guests to have one drink each per hour during the reception. 


You don’t have to figure it all out alone. A good wedding planner and a group of willing friends and relatives are invaluable for managing the research and logistics of the big day.

Plan a wedding fit for royalty at a castle!

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