The Joys (and Pains) of Destination Wedding Planning

So with the location set, it was time to delve into the nitty-gritty details. Planning a wedding is already no easy feat, so imagine throwing hundreds of miles and a different country into the mix (yikes!).

Clearly I’ve never planned a wedding before, so with no prior knowledge (other than my kick-ass research and organizational skills) here are the first three things I did to get started…

Start with wedding books. If you are like me, you really don’t know anything about weddings and wedding planning, so start by getting your knowledge on. My favorite site in the world is Amazon, and they have a plethora of wedding-related books, from organizational binders to advice for destination and budget weddings. Here are some of the books I ordered that I found invaluable and subsequently recommended to recently engaged friends:


The Ultimate Wedding Planner & Organizer by Alex A. Lluch / Image:

Google. Google. Google. Whether you are a destination or local bride, Google should be your best friend. I used it to start preliminary research regarding potential wedding venues, photographers, wedding planners/coordinators, and other primary wedding vendors.

Figure out the top priorities for your wedding. For us, we are BIG food and music lovers, so venue/catering and a DJ were our top priorities. Photography was another extremely important element for us. So these were the three areas that we were willing to spend a bit more on for quality.

Side note: the reason I lumped venue/catering together is because since it’s a destination wedding, we wanted a location that was all-inclusive with venue, food, alcohol, chairs, dinnerware, flatware, etc. Luckily for us all the venues we looked at offered these all-inclusive wedding packages. (More on the venue search in the next post.)

After these few steps, everything else started to slowly fall into place. And contrary to common belief, I actually don’t necessarily recommend starting the entire wedding-planning process with a budget. While it’s key to work within budgets, if you’ve never planned a wedding before how do you know how much you will actually end up spending? I approached this with the mentality of first getting a general idea of average costs for wedding-related things, then making decisions from there.

For example, I really wanted a videographer, but any way I sliced and diced the budget, I just couldn’t justify adding another $4k–$5k to the budget. Contemplating running out for some lotto tickets right now!

Image via


Image via


Mrs. Mongoose

New Haven, CT
Wedding Date:
May 2013
Gallery of the Day
Early Days of DIY
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  1. mssquirrel Bee
    mssquirrel 276 posts, Helper bee @ 9:21 am

    I have the exact same issue with a videographer! It is easy for me to find a couple hundred here and there for those little ‘extras’ that we didn’t budget for, but unfortunately, I don’t think there is any way we can swing a videographer. Major bummer.

  2. Member
    shortbread 290 posts, Helper bee @ 9:53 am

    We’re also planning a destination wedding. We’re getting married in Scotland and we live in Texas. I would agree that both Amazon and Google are invaluable resources. They have become my best friend and really main resource for planning this.

    I also think that for me a destination wedding has also eliminated a lot of stress as crazy as it sounds. I cannot obsess about every single detail. I have to hire vendors who I will trust will get the job done with very little face contact prior to the big day. Of course, as the date gets closer I could change my mind and begin to stress out.
    I’m not sure what Canada requires in the way of visas but you may want to check if you haven’t I know I’ll need to apply for a visa three months prior to my wedding. It’s something that would never have occured to me prior to starting this planning process!

  3. gloves Bee
    gloves 190 posts, Blushing bee @ 10:34 am

    Please always, always use Willy Wonka memes in your posts– I can’t help it, most of them actually do crack me up 🙂

  4. msmongoose Bee
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 12:22 pm

    @Miss Squirrel: I’m looking in to some potential video options that are more on the DIY side (and a hell of a lot cheaper). I’ll share in a future post once I figure out what that will be!

    @Shortbread: WOW a wedding in Scotland sounds incredible–do you have family there or will everyone be traveling for it? How much time do you have left before your wedding? I’ve been to Scotland once (Glasgow, for work) and I had an amazing time. The nice thing about Canada is that a visa is not required if you’re coming from the US. I 100% agree with you that while planning from afar can be stressful, it has definitely eliminated the control factor and forced me to put more trust in my vendors to do their jobs.

    @Miss Gloves: Hahaha oh man now I’ll have to try to find some more to include! Glad to make you laugh 🙂

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    September29, Guest @ 6:13 am

    That was my philosophy with budgets, too! I had no idea how much photography, dresses, flowers were supposed to cost, so I did some research and went with the option that was reasonably priced but also of good quality 🙂

  6. msmongoose Bee
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 8:03 am

    @September29: Exactly! Very smart 🙂

  7. Member
    shortbread 290 posts, Helper bee @ 8:58 am

    @Miss Mongoose: My fiance is Scottish (he’s here in the US on a visa) so all of his family is still there. This allows his mom to help us with the planning which has been a life saver. We’ll be married in St. Andrews (St. Salvator chapel) which I’m hoping will be as fairytale like as I imagine. I finally was able to see our church last month and now I can really visualize our day. My fiance went to undergrad in Glasgow. It’s the one place I’ve not been to yet in Scotland.

    Looking forward to reading more on your perspective of planning an out of the country wedding! 🙂

  8. Member
    shortbread 290 posts, Helper bee @ 8:59 am

    @Miss Mongoose: Our wedding is June 1st so we are now at the under six month mark. Yikes!!

  9. msmongoose Bee
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 9:23 am

    @Shortbread: That’s amazing that his mom is actually in Scotland–it’s nice to have someone at the destination for you! While Mr. M and I are doing the majority of planning, we did hire a wedding planner who is based in Montreal to help with a few vendor recommendations (since she’s well connected there) but mainly for day of coordination.

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