best wedding destinations

Where do we tie the knot? How to find your wedding destination. 

Written by Caitlin with Clane Gessel Photography


When you make the decision to have a destination wedding, unless you know the perfect place right from the get-go, the question of how to find your wedding destination location can be a bit daunting. After all, you do have the world to choose from. Here are 5 tips to help you to narrow down the world of options and find your wedding destination.

1. Talk and Listen

best wedding destinations

Talk to your spouse to be, share your thoughts, and listen to what they want.

Find your wedding destination together!  The very first person you should chat with when deciding where to get married is your spouse-to-be. They are the person you will spend the rest of your life with, and together you two need to talk about aspects of your wedding which will be unique to your relationship and your unique story.  Your wedding day is the beginning of a new chapter in your lives together.  Make some decisions together about the overall feel of your wedding day that you want your location to bring.  Is the location going to be intimate? Is it a place that you two have dreamed of uncovering in an adventure together? Or does your location need endless beauty?  Be sure to consider family, travel, accommodations, and ease of transportation.

Brainstorm the big picture with your spouse then give your choice planner a call. Your planner will know or will find out the ups and downs of all of the countries/cities that you are considering. They will also have an idea of the nitty-gritty details of the law (if you are looking to get married outside of the US).  Are you and your partner at a standstill and need someone to bounce ideas off of?  Another great time to give your planner a call.

2. Scout it out

Find your wedding destination

If you can visit, go for it.  How else would you know that this is a capability for your site?

Use your resources to their fullest capacity.  Whether this be Pinterest, Google, or giving the city of your choice a visit, scouting your location is the best second step towards choosing your destination country, state, or city.

When using a search bar in Google or even Pinterest, start simple.  For example “Costa Rica wedding planners” or “Costa Rica wedding photographer”.  Find a wedding planner/photographer, or two, or three and take a look at their blog and website.  See what options you have for possible wedding sites!  At the bottom of the posted wedding, or in some cases in the description, the vendors will be mentioned.  Have a question about a wedding they did?  Shoot them an e-mail or give them a phone call.  Most vendors are happy to help!

Can you get to the city in question?  Go for it.  If your site in question is close enough for a weekend trip and if the trip will not add stress to your planning, why not go check it out?  Especially if you are between cities, giving the cities a visit can help narrow the search


3. Ask

beautiful bride

See the space, ask for a portfolio, and get some face-to-face time with the people at your venue.

After you find your dream city, begin to contact your choice venues.  Email or call the potential sites and ask them about your must-haves, rates, capacity, catering, etc.  This is the one piece of destination planning which will match up with any planning list you will find online.  However, you may not be able to do the initial consultation with your venues in person.  If this is the case and you are unable to meet in person because of distance, use Skype or Facetime for your consultation. These are wonderful resources that brides do not utilize enough!  It helps to interact with the people you will be working with on your wedding day beforehand to be sure that the location and people will be a good fit for you.


Also, ask your potential venue for a portfolio of images from weddings at their location.  Seeing what the space is capable of may help you visualize yourself, your spouse and your friends and family celebrating at the site!


4. Decide

Beautiful wedding destination locations

Think outside of the box. Beach or mountains?

Once you have gathered all of the information, it is time to make the decision.  You could spend years looking and change your mind over and over… but time is ticking.  Decisions can be tough, but don’t overstress. Enjoy the celebration and the process of planning.  Enlist people to help! Throughout the planning process, people ask you if they can help in any way.  Take advantage of that! Allow people to be involved in more than just the day itself, but the planning of it as well.  It will make the day even more special for them.

That being said, you will have plenty of help when the time comes but will have nothing to help with if you do not have the location set. Make the decision to find your wedding destination.  Love a place? Commit to it!

5. Be Flexible

Be flexible to get the wedding of your dreams!

Think of your 4 must-have qualities for your location and stick to them. Examples: 150 person capacity, beach-front, hotel location or close-by (to be sure guests can stay the night on-site), and modern.  If you have too many must-haves, you will run the risk of a couple of dangers: never being satisfied and over-shooting your budget.  Being flexible outside of your 4 must-haves will help you to get the most out of your location and venue.

Also be sure to keep a couple of dates in mind.  The last thing you want is to find your dream location and have your specific day taken.  Having 2-3 dates in mind help you when you find your dream site and one of your dates has been filled, you can ask about the next two dates as well.

Though this list is short, keep these things in mind when location hunting.  It will help you with your stress-free planning and ensure that you find the location of your dreams.  Happy planning!


Did you recently get engaged and want to have the perfect destination wedding?  We’d love to offer more tips on how to find your wedding destination or to photograph your special day – please drop us a line here to start your experience today!

Article by Clane Gessel Photography