Advice & Ideas Articles

Wedding in Paradise – Party at Home

Does the idea of tropical wedding bliss make your heart flutter?  Are you concerned about the guests who can’t travel?  Let me start by telling you that you can have the best of both worlds!  Just think about it.  A wedding ceremony in any destination you want, and then a huge party back home where all of your loved ones can attend. We recently did a wedding where the ceremony was in Maui with just family and the reception was held back in Dallas so that the rest of family, friends, and loved ones could join in celebration.  This idea worked exceptionally well for our clients and can be a huge success when done right.

Maui, Hawaii, Donnie Brown Weddings & Events

Purcellville, Virginia winery

First things first, you need to choose your destination!  Are you a tropical/ beach enthusiast?  Does wine and vineyards appeal to your heart?  What about mountains and a great scenic view?  There are a multitude of different options for a spectacular destination wedding.

Here are some beach ideas: Hawaii, New England, Florida Keys, Great Lakes, Miami, Greece, Caribbean, Bahamas, Jamaica, Bermuda, Australia, Fiji, Thailand, Tahiti, Cozumel, Los Cabos, Costa Rica, Belize, and Aruba.

If you are a wine lover, consider: Tuscany, Italy; Napa, California; Sonoma, California; Walla Walla, Washington; Santa Barbara, California; Mendocino, California; Temecula, California; Willamette Valley, Oregon; Lodi, California; Porto, Portugal; Bordeaux, France; Piedmont, Italy; Champagne, France; La Rioja, Spain; Rhone Valley, France; Malborough, New Zealand; Cape Town, South Africa; Yarra Valley, Australia; and Barossa Valley, Australia.

If you’re considering major cities and spots in the USA, look into: San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Dallas, Chicago, New Orléans, and Disney in Orlando or Anaheim.

Some more scenic areas in North America include: Arizona; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Aspen, Colorado; Whistler, Canada; Denver, Colorado; and Provo, Utah.

Maybe somewhere abroad appeals more to you, whether it be scenery, castles, attractions, or whatever else.  If this is the case, look into: Venice, Italy; Rome, Italy; Ireland; Scotland; Loire Valley, France; Paris, France; Norway (northern lights); London, England; Santiago De Compostela, Spain; Sicily, Italy; Moscow, Russia; India; China; and Tokyo, Japan.

As you can see, the possibilities are endless.  There are locations to fit every type of personality and preference.

Stellenbosch, South Africa

Whistler, Canada

Once you pick your destination, you need to fixate on another tough decision: your guest list.  Many couples who want a destination ceremony want to keep it intimate, not just because of the expense of travel fees for guests, but because it can make it even more special.  The guests will be able to celebrate with them for the reception, so why not keep it to a minimum?  Inviting just a few of your closest friends and your immediate family is perfectly acceptable.  This also keeps the cost lower.  If you want to invite several guests, what is the point of have a big reception back home?  This is the point of keeping the ceremony special and different, while celebrating back home with all your loved ones.  Regardless, draft your list, pick your venue and hotel and start making arrangements earlier on to save as much money as possible.  It will also hurt less guests’ feelings if it is just your close friends and immediate family, as you don’t have to pick between guests and make more disappointed if they know several people are attending.  If your guests can’t understand this, it becomes their problem, not yours.  Choose wisely on who you want to attend to ensure your ceremony is as special and memorable as possible.

Sydney, Australia


Another thing to consider is hiring a wedding coordinator.  If your ceremony is not where you live, it can be difficult to make arrangements from a distance, and can become very time-consuming.  A wedding planner can help with making arrangements and can usually recommend vendors if they have worked with them previously.  Your wedding planner can also keep track of details for both the ceremony and reception, so you can make sure all situations are handled both professionally and accurately. Additionally, a good wedding planner that is well-versed with destination weddings will assist you with the cultural differences that exist. It is easy to relay your expectations to a local planner. But that is much more difficult with one from a different country. You have to overcome language barriers and other cultural issues that may cause problems for your event.

New York City, New York

The vendors are another critical part of making your big day a success.  With it being a destination ceremony, you will have to consider using local vendors or flying in vendors from home.  While some local vendors may be fine such as the florist or the caterer, other vendors may be more up to par back home.  When it comes to the photographer and videographer, you want a seasoned vendor that you meet with before the wedding and get to know.  They are the ones to capture your wedding so you can look back and remember all the special moments.  Hiring an unseasoned photographer or videographer will fill you with many regrets for years to come.  Vendors such as caterer, florist, cake designer, entertainment, etc. should be local as they have a tangible service that can be difficult to transport.  You should also consider hiring a wedding planner from where you live, as you need to have several meetings and interactions with them.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Although your guest count will be small(er) at your destination ceremony, it is still completely acceptable to have a small reception dinner.  This way you can have a pre-celebration with your family and closest friends.  Then, when you get back home you can have a massive reception to celebrate with everyone else.  Enjoy researching the endless possibilities for your wedding in paradise!  If you need a wedding planner with experience in destination weddings, give us a call at 214-522-2271.  We would be thrilled to help concoct the wedding of your dreams!




Tuscany, Italy


Photos taken from:

Edmonson Photography