Top Ten Must Know’s for Planning a Destination Wedding

We are always looking for ways to make things easier for couples and their wedding day.  At BHL, we love to share all the fabulous wedding tips to make your wedding planning a bit more simple.  Are you having a destination wedding? Planning a wedding can be stressful and hard work, but having a destination wedding is another story. We are talking new sights, cultures, foods, etc that are added to the list of things to do. We really wanted to know the insight of what is means to plan a destination wedding, so we asked our dear friend, Eric Acuña  to share some tips. Eric had a destination wedding at a beautiful resort in  Cancun, Mexico,  and knows first hand about planning from far away. Here are his top ten tips for planning a destination wedding. Oh, and some amazing photos from his wedding day! Super lovely and gorgeous day. Enjoy and happy planning!

Thamer Bajjali 2012

Budget, Budget, Budget!

When planning your destination wedding, there may be a few close friends and family who may not be able to attend due to funds. Make sure to budget a reserve fund to help those important to you who may need some help. My fiancé and I ended up budgeting for the few people who couldn’t afford to make our joyous event. Money should never separate your from the people who matter the most to you.


Give yourself time

Planning a destination wedding takes time. With a background in the wedding industry, I made sure not to get myself stuck in a pickle. I took advantage of my 16 month engagement. This made most things run seamless and effortlessly. Nothing was rushed and my artistic side had plenty of time to create the perfect wedding. Plus, you may need to give your guest time to request vacation and plan their budget.

Thamer Bajjali 2012

Don’t rain on my parade!

Playa del Carmen is beautiful. However, there’s a time of year when Playa may not be the hot spot for a special event. When planning my wedding, I researched the best time to visit. I wanted to make sure my guests didn’t endure a storm, flood, or hurricane. Bad weather can truly effect your wedding. So, make sure to google the weather history of your wedding date.

Red Carpet Event?

Check the calendar for your destination of choice. Don’t plan your wedding during the Cannes Festival or anything else that attracts tourists and inflates prices. On the flip side, consider tourist accommodations during the off-season. Your guest wouldn’t enjoy a destination when half the restaurants are closed and there’s nothing going on?

Vacation Anyone?

Hire a travel agent!!! Yeah I know, it sounds very 1990’s but, they make everything easier. When I was in Playa del Carmen, my hotel accommodations were not in order due to the hotel’s mistake. So, I called my travel agent (www.sunsettravel) and told them my dilemma. Kelly calmed me down and told me she’d take care of everything. In only 10 minutes, my agent not only fixed everything but, she was able to make a few upgrades for the mistakes made by the hotel. Most destination hotels depend on travel agents to book their rooms, which is an advantage.


Know the laws

Traditional wedding? Same sex marriage? Make sure you understand the laws of your destination. After much investigation, we were informed Mexico City was the only town in Mexico at the time who legalized same sex marriage. This allowed us to come home knowing we still needed to file the appropriate paper work with the State of California. Some countries, regardless of traditional or same-sex marriage, requires the two to be a citizen for a period of time before they can marry legally in their country.


Who’s my vendor?

Having a destination wedding is a once in a life time experience. My family and friends will remember our week long getaway for the rest of their lives. This is why picking the right vendors will be even more important than planning an event close to home. Could you imagine hiring a photographer who you never met? If I’m not fond of their work, do I have to pay them? Hiring vendors from the states maybe more expensive up front but, it will give you an opportunity to pick the best fit for your overall theme and look. Plus, there’s perks to flying your photographer out with your guests. I was able to negotiate with my photographer ( to take photos of the entire trip with all my friends and family. It was money well spent.


Scout your photo opts

When you get to your venue, make sure to scout the best photography spot with your photographer. This will help ensure your photos will be PERFECT on your special day. This will be everything you’ll  look at for the rest of your life.

Thamer Bajjali 2012 Thamer Bajjali 2012

I’m not opening my own retail chain. I promise!

Can I bring my custom gifts? For my wedding, I provided an exclusive swag bag filled with must needed items. When I traveled through customs, they thought I was bringing my wedding items through the Mexican border to sell them in a retail store. They delayed me for an hour and asked me to pay a tax for each item. Looking back, I’d have all the items delivered to the resort during my stay.  This would have saved me tons of money.

Playa, Woohoo! Now what?

Most guests love to use a destination wedding as an excuse to take a well needed vacation. So make sure they have all the local hot spots lined up for them. As the host, I investigated all the local touristy sites. I knew Grandma Rosie would like to see Chichen Itza. While my college daring brother, enjoyed taking a sea-doo around the bay to swim with the Bull sharks. A simple “Local things to do list” can truly make their trip, a once in a life time experience.

Thamer Bajjali 2012

Thamer Bajjali 2012

Photography by Thamer Bajjali  from Petra Calling Photography 

Niloufar Gibson

Niloufar Gibson

Niloufar Gibson is the owner of and has been working in the wedding industry for many years as a wedding and event coordinator. She lives and works in Orange County, CA and created the site to stay connected to the hottest trends and share them with others like her that love this industry.
Niloufar Gibson
Niloufar Gibson

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