(Closed) Have u planned a destination wedding on your own?

posted 4 years ago in Destination Weddings
Post # 3
397 posts
Helper bee

@IMMihalaki:  I’m in the process of planning our wedding on my own.  We are in Michigan and going to Vegas.  I have a very small family here, and he has a very LARGE family here.  We could technically invite close to 300 people if we were going to invite all the family.

We started out planning for about 100 to 125 people (9 of that my family, 4 of who were standing in the wedding in some fashion) and I just finally said this is NOT what I want!   I always joked about getting married by Elvis in Vegas.  Now we are doing Vegas just not by Elvis.  I’ll have to find me an impersonator to get pictures with.   


Post # 5
756 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

@IMMihalaki:  we are doing Vegas too. The thing with islands and Vegas is they give you a ton of help. You may be able to find a napa package deal. I really only have to deal with wedding attire , invites and where to have my reception dinner. The hotel package we got includes minister, flowers, room, photographer, guitarist, coordinator, etc… It’s the only way I can plan- with a ton of help:) good luck! Btw I have been to Vegas once and it was aghhhhhmazing! So I don’t feel the need to go back to plan.

Post # 6
670 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

I’m currently in the planning stages of my wedding, (live in ky, wedding in st aug, florida).  I do not have a wedding planner.  I am hiring a person the day off to make sure everything runs smoothly.

One benefit I have is that my FI’s family lives there, so I’ve been visiting quite a bit and know the area to a degree.  I also have made appointments while there so I’ve been doing some of the wedding stuff in person.  Still, when I am in Kentucky, I do most of the communication via email. 

Only problem I’ve been having is getting my reception vendor to contact me in a decent time frame!!!

Good luck with planning!

Post # 8
3907 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I planned a DW in Scotland and we live just outside of DC. I did everything over email, didn’t have a wedding planner. We made one trip to Glasgow to do wedding stuff and that was the first time we actually saw the venue in person (and we’d already paid the deposit on it). 

I found email was fine for communication. 

Post # 9
1123 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

@IMMihalaki:  Well, if it’s any consolation, I’m planning a destination wedding on my own as well. No one we know lives in the Gold Coast, but we decided to have it there because it’s easier for our friends and family to get to than where we actually live.

I’ve been going ok with it so far – I don’t know how I would have managed this a few years ago, before the internet and Facebook. A lot of the vendors and services we’re using have a website and/or Facebook page, which I’ve found very helpful when it comes to making decisions.

We’ve visited our wedding city twice previously, for holidays before we even got engaged, so I guess we know where the centre of town is and which hotels are the most conveniently located, but we never checked out anything wedding related. We plan on arriving on a Tuesday with the wedding on Saturday.

Good luck – and don’t stress. Where there’s a will there’s a way, as they say.

Post # 10
1158 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@IMMihalaki:  I am currently planning my DW.  I will tell you upfront.  It is very stressful to plan by email and phone.  I chose a loaction kind of close, only 4 hours away by car.  I could not imagine not actually seeing where I will get married until the day of.  So I chose something closer, so I could at least drive there and talk with my vendors face to face.

But I have planned every detail myself.  I have spent many numerous hours reading emails, checking references, meeting by phone.  It is very stressful, and itme consuming.  I have found that very consise clear communication is a must.  Reading and writing down details and communicating this was is very easy to misunderstand or miscommunicate.

I would say pick something close to you.  I have made two trips to our DW location to physically meet vendors, and see our venue.  This has been a tremendous help in putting my mind at ease.  But still in the end, wedding planning on your own requires a lot of time, and patience.

Post # 11
6 posts
  • Wedding: March 2014

@MissSangria:  We are (kind of) wedding twins!  We live in TX but are getting married outside Tampa, FL because that’s where FI’s family is.  So glad to hear I’m not alone!


But OP, I have to say, I’m actually really glad to have chosen this route!  You can’t get too wrapped up in the details or stress about having the “perfect” wedding because it’s just not possible from afar (and besides, who’s wedding is perfect anyways??)

I plan almost everything through email, and occasionally phone calls, all the way down to the cake.  I even booked my venue site-unseen, which was moderately terrifying.  I had the MIL & SIL check it out beforehand, although we have very different tastes.  I was able to afford one trip down to FL for planning purposes, and that seems to be all I needed.  So far, everything seems to be smooth.

My biggest reccomendation, if your budget allows for it: search for venues that “do it all.”  Our venue provides tables, chairs, decorating, day-of coordination, bartender, onsite bride/groom prep suites, etc.  This takes a lot of my plate and, again, kept me from becoming Bridezilla because I just have to shrug my shoulders sometimes and say “I’ll just go with what the venue provides and not worry about it!”

Post # 12
3373 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

FI and I are planning our Bali wedding from Singapore. We have guests coming from Europe, all over Asia and Australia so I guess it’s sort of an equally-inconvenient location for everyone. 

We have engaged the services of a wedding planner, but we’ve also done a bunch of research and one venue-scouting trip so far. We’ll probably do another one or two trips before the wedding to do food and cake tasting, visit our venue (which ironically was one we didn’t see during our trip).

I think we were doing a destination wedding in a developed country (say somewhere in Australia, Europe or US) I would feel comfortable doing it without a wedding planner. Besides, a lot of hotels and venues provide an event planner anyway to give you a hand. I wouldn’t be too daunted by the idea of a destination wedding, especially if it’s within the US. These days with the ability to share information and communicate in a zillion different ways, it’s all pretty easy I think.

Post # 13
397 posts
Helper bee

@IMMihalaki:  I have never been and won’t be going before the wedding either.  I wish I could make it work to go for a few days beforehand but being in school full time until the end of May I won’t be able to.

I have had a few phone calls with the person in charge at the ceremony site, and I haven’t decided yet if we are doing any kind of reception event.  I was thinking of a dinner somewhere, but nothing elaborate.

Post # 14
571 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013


I planned my domestic DW without a planner. It was about 5 hours drive from home, so we did go out to see it before we agreed to have it there though. But that was the only time we went out there before the actual wedding.

It was a bit stressful to plan over email and phone. I had almost zero help because DH and I were long distance, and my 5 bridesmaids had 3 continents between them.

If you’re going to do it, I would suggest finding a place that provides as much as possible eg. linens, catering, utensils, chairs, set up etc. It might cost a bit more to do it this way, but the added stress of dealing with an extra dozen vendors over email and phone is not worth it. We had our wedding at a beautiful lodge that also provided the services of a day-of coordinator, who also acted as our liaison prior to the day. We just had to find our own DJ, musician, florist and photographer. For the photographer, we hired one from close to home and paid for their trip out to the lodge. Everyone else was based on recommendations from the lodge with good reviews. We spoke a few times and I decided I liked them and it worked out great. It’s a bit risky I guess, but if they wanted to keep their status as a recommended vendor, they had to impress me and the lodge’s coordinator.

Post # 15
224 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

@IMMihalaki:  i am planning most of my destination wedding on my own. The officiant I chose is very helpful and includes some basic services and provides helpful suggestions, but i have contacted multiple vendors on my own for arrangements. The only real issue i’ve had is that We are getting married in st thomas…so most people there are on island time, and it is not uncommon for me to not get a response to an email for days or even weeks. I find it frustrating, but i knew to expect that going in. my photographer actually prefers talking over the phone…and (oops) i havent even had an opportunity to call him yet. my date is reserved, ive offered him a down payment but he says i’m good…so it works for me.

I’m not visiting before the wedding so I am just going off research and reviews. I’m not a super particular person, so I think that helps my cause. I simply don’t care if everything goes just right. I want to go and get married and have a great time, and ensure all of my friends and family are having a good time…so as long as the weather is good, the food is edible, and the drinks are flowing, I anticipate that it is going to be amazing. both the ceremony and reception will be on the beach, so it’s a relatively casual affair. My fiance and i love to travel and do so every year, so I’m looking at is a more of planning a vacation with the added bonus of getting hitched and having our friends and family there…

In short – I think it can be done, but you know yourself best. If you want everything to be perfect and if you tend to stress over minor details, it may not be the best option for you. You may get frustrated with lack of immediate response, or anxious if you are concerned everything isn’t going as planned. If you are more laid back, have a little wiggle room in your plans, or do not mind waiting for responses or even being persistent with your wants and needs, then by all means – I’d say go for it!

Post # 16
369 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@IMMihalaki:  What does your gut tell you? Which one would you personally prefer?

Planning a destination wedding on your own is totally doable, especially if you have great vendors. We got married in Kauai and although we had a short term wedding coordinator, we did secure all vendors, venues, and details on our own (plus bought the alcohol). Our WC wasn’t super helpful before she took over full time but our photographer was great about giving us vendor ideas that were within our budget. Have you considered at least hiring a day of coordinator? How many guests are you expecting? We had about 57 and although DH was putting up a fight regarding the DOC, he now says it was our best investment. The internet is your friend!!

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