What is a destination wedding? A complete guide

If you are planning your wedding, you might see the term “destination wedding” a lot. You might then wonder “What is a destination wedding?”. If that’s the case then, here is a complete guide to learn everything about it!

What is a destination wedding?

A destination wedding is a wedding held in a location that is far from the couple’s home. One of the definitions says that it is at least 100 miles from your hometown. So, a destination wedding can be in a different state or in a different country. A lot of possibilities!
Nowadays, 25% of weddings are destination weddings.

Reasons to get a destination wedding

It’s like vacations!

Having a destination wedding means bringing all your guests in a place you love and spending a few days with them. In fact, it looks a lot like having holidays with your loved ones.

Spend quality time with your loved ones

Usually, a destination wedding doesn’t last just one day. So, it also means that you will have much more quality time with your guests than in a regular wedding. It’s a much slower pace. So, you won’t need to rush to speak to everyone during your wedding reception.
You don’t have just one day to enjoy with your loved ones, you might have a full week.
As it lasts a few days, destination weddings usually involve some activities like exploring the region or tasting some local food. It is then a great way to create some amazing memories all together.

Same place for your honeymoon

It is not always the case but if your destination wedding is in a place you truly love, you might decide to stay in this same location for your honeymoon.

It matches your interests

If you choose a specific location for your destination wedding, it then might be a special place for you. So, destination weddings are much more bespoke events as they represent the couple by being in a place that they love.

You can also choose a location depending on the activities available there. If you want to spend a day on a boat with your guests, you might choose a place next to the sea. If you want to ski, then you might choose to get married in the Alps or in Aspen.
There are so many possibilities for destination weddings that you can be sure that it will be totally customized for you.

Great weather

Another reason why you might want to get a destination wedding is the weather. If the weather is unpleasant in your hometown, then having a destination wedding might be a great way to have a sunny and warm wedding. Think about the South of France with a glass of wine. Yes, that might be your destination wedding.

Fewer guests

As having a destination wedding often implies taking a flight, this might reduce the number of guests attending your wedding. See this as a great opportunity to only spend this precious time with the ones you cherish. No need to invite your great cousin that you only met once. So, once again more quality time with the ones you love and only good vibes!

Where to get a destination wedding?

The location

In fact, you can have a destination wedding almost anywhere. You can choose a place that has a special meaning for you and your fiancée. For example, if your future husband proposed in Paris, you can then decide to get married there.
You can also choose a place that fits with your interests. If you love spending time at the beach, you can definitely get married in an exotic location with sand on your feet.
So, just choose a location that you love. This will make your wedding ceremony even more meaningful.

The legal part

If you want to get legally married at your destination wedding, have a look at the legal requirements of the destination you chose. Some locations do require residency before the ceremony. So, this is something you need to plan ahead.
But most couples decide to first get legally married in their hometown and to then have a symbolic ceremony with their loved ones during their destination wedding.
If you want to get legally married in France, I wrote a blog post about the legal requirements to get married in France for foreigners.

Destination wedding etiquette

Who pays what?

If you wonder about the wedding etiquette, it is important to know that the etiquette doesn’t ask you to pay for everything and everyone but you can if you want to.
Usually, guests have to pay for their flights and accommodation. But even on a regular wedding, some guests have to travel and book accommodation anyway.
A nice gesture would be to offer them bags filled with some presents related to the location of your wedding. A few examples would be a map of the area, local food products, and why not some relaxing and beauty products so that they truly feel on holiday as soon as they arrive.

Guest availabilities

If there are some guests that you really want to be there, ask their availabilities first. Talking with your guests about their availabilities is even more important than on a regular wedding as it will last for a few days and they might need to take some days off.

So, I hope this guide helped you understand what destination weddings are.
If you think about having a destination wedding in France, here is a complete guide on finding the perfect wedding venues in France.

If you have questions about destination weddings, do not hesitate to ask them in the comments section!


  • Thanks a lot for your article! Do you have some recommendation for top places & venues in France / Italy or even Europe? Sometimes having too much choice, we don’t know where to start searching. Thanks

    • Hello Maria!
      It all depends on what you are looking for. Traditional châteaux? Modern venue? But in France, not far from Paris two dreamy venues you should consider are Château de Villette in Condécourt for its magnificent decoration and Château de Bouffémont.
      If you want to talk more in-depth about wedding venues do not hesitate to send me an email at aurelia@aureliaboulenger.com

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