my journal

a place for inspiration

Kennidy Hassell

October 3, 2022

Wondering how to create a meaningful destination wedding? This is such a gorgeous way to tie the knot in style and travel to an amazing place with loved ones, but you want to make sure the experience is as enjoyable for them as it is for you. Travel, especially to an international location, naturally adds an extra layer of planning and budget, so it’s normal to wonder how you can make your wedding the best it can be.

As someone who’s had the honor of filming hundreds of weddings, I’ve landed on a few tips that make a wedding truly special and memorable – and I’m happy to share! Here’s how to create a destination wedding or elopement that’s true to your values, passions, and interests – not only for yourself, but also for your cherished guests. 

Curate your guest list with purpose

How do I personalize my destination wedding? It’s not all about your venue or your decor – it’s about the people that surround you. I encourage you to purposefully decide on your guest list, thinking about the people who truly matter most to you. Those are the ones who need to be in attendance.

Often, once you really think about this, you’ll probably end up with a smaller guest list – but this is a good thing! You can even elope, just the two of you, or invite anywhere up to 100 guests. However, I’d say the sweet spot is around 30–40 people. 

Unfortunately, having someone at your wedding that you only invited to please your parents or relatives can really change the vibe (especially if you’ll be spending a few days together), so take care with your invites. If you’re seriously struggling with a massive guest list, remember that you can always throw a blowout engagement party at home, and invite everyone you weren’t able to include in the main event. 

Treasure and savor the connections

The memories, connections, and laughs that you share with your wedding guests are what you’ll remember long after the trip is over. In my wedding films, these are definitely the gorgeous moments that I want to capture! That’s why I encourage you to slow down, take your time, and treasure those priceless moments with your friends and family. 

A destination wedding isn’t just about the ceremony – it’s about sharing stories around a bonfire, going out for a long, lazy brunch, or staying up late and reminiscing. Everyone you care about has shown up for you, so really treasure those beautiful few days you have together – it’ll also help you relax before the big day itself. 

Plan your toasts and speeches with care

Knowing how to plan a destination wedding is all about event management! A big part of this is the toasts and speeches. Love ’em or hate ’em, you’ll find that everyone has something to say – especially after a few drinks. 

To keep things organized, skip the open mic and select just two to three people in advance to give a toast or speech. Consider giving them a time limit as well, as you don’t want to spend huge amounts of time at your reception on lengthy speeches. Try to pick someone who knows both of you well and has a cache of funny stories –  funny dating moments, what each of you thought of one another after first meeting, etc.

Add some adventure to the trip

Part of the fun of destination weddings is enjoying your gorgeous destination, so plan a fun excursion or two for everyone to do together. This is an awesome way for everyone on the trip to catch up, get to know one another, and settle in, so consider planning it for the day after everyone arrives.

Destination wedding activities can be anything! Depending on your location, maybe a sunset sail, waterfall hike, a group dinner, or just a day of swimming and relaxing at the beach. Think about what everyone coming to the wedding would enjoy, along with their levels of fitness and interests, then book an activity that everyone can be included in. We’ll also get such beautiful and meaningful wedding videography out of your excursion! One bride said her favorite thing they did instead of a welcome dinner was a sunset yacht cruise, which included sailing around the coast with friends, family and lots of bubbles!

You’ve done the hard work…now’s the time to be carefree!

I know the months of wedding planning leading up to the big day have probably been a *little* stressful. However, once you touch down in your amazing wedding destination, the hard work is over and you can completely relax and let your worries float away (tip: a pina colada can definitely help with this). 

You’ve chosen your wedding vendors with care, so let them take care of you! Everything has already been planned just as you want it to be, so you and your family members don’t need to be responsible for anything other than having an epic time together.

Focus on relaxing in the days leading up to the wedding – unwind, turn off your phone, book some time in the resort spa, or just take it easy. You’ve definitely earned it! 

The magic, romance, and fun of destination weddings is just so unique, especially from a videography perspective. If you have any questions about how your wedding video will work in your chosen destination, please reach out – I’d love to chat.

How To Create A Meaningful Destination Wedding