How to plan a destination wedding

Destination Weddings are certainly some of the best events in Cancún and Riviera Maya. It is the magic of the turquoise ocean, the white sand and the emotion of people in love sharing a moment in a wonderful place. And I feel very lucky to live in this awesome place many people dream of visiting!

I have been working as a destination wedding photographer for years and I will share with you the ultimate guide to plan a perfect destination wedding that you and your guests will never forget.


Choose the dreamlike location

Your destination should have hotels with enough rooms for your guests. Also, you need to have the resources to make it memorable. Think that also pictures are part of this event, therefore, consider a place where you can be comfortable and check if there are also cenotes or a landscape that fits your memorabilia plans.

All photos in this article: © Gisselle Photography


Tell your guests a soon as possible

Your family and friends need to know in advance. It is important to give them the chance to find good deals for their tickets, as well as let them plan everything for the ceremony and reception.


Decide if you want to go local

It can be a good idea to consider flowers, plants and local specialties for your reception. You can optimize your budget if you take what your destination has as a typical dish instead of ordering extravagant meals from abroad.


Consider everyone’s budget

It would be amazing if everyone stays in the same hotel as you. But if you think the price might be an issue, find a second option for guests not far away from yours. Check if this place has enough space for everyone before deciding on your date.


Hire a professional coordinator

Make sure to find a destination wedding planner or coordinator. Sometimes the hotel offers this service. Find someone you feel comfortable with, as you will be miles away. It will be much easier to have someone on-site who speaks the language and understands the destination.


Define the dress code

Mexico is a warm place and depending on the season might be possible to wear some fabric or not. Check what works with the heat and also share this with your guests. For example, in Riviera Maya, it is really cool to just feel the soft sand and forget about shoes during the reception.


Exchange rate

Destination weddings are a dream, but you should also know the exchange rate to stay on budget. Also, your guests will appreciate this information in case they want to take your marriage as an excuse for a little holiday.


Your dress should go in the small suitcase!

You have to bring this important wedding element close to you! Do not check in the dress with the suitcase, instead bring it up with you. Have you heard of lost suitcases? Exactly! We do not want that, so better bring it with your carry-on luggage and steam it on the hotel (ask the wedding planner to set this for you beforehand).


Do not forget your Honeymoon

You have planned an amazing event from afar. Be sure to make some plans for the honeymoon, this is only for you and your significant other. The destination wedding will be amazing and fun, guests will be with you and you will enjoy other landscape and activities. However, a lot of brides and grooms say that taking time to relax after the wedding is priceless.


Photos are a central part of a wedding abroad. When having a destination wedding you can get amazing images from the place and also take a bit of it with you. Be sure to find someone who knows around and is able to communicate with you in order to find the perfect moment. The photographer should have a good eye and be able to understand your needs.


Do it in the Mexican Caribbean!


A destination wedding in Cancun or Riviera Maya costs from 2,000 to 10,000 US dollars, there are different type of packages which include wonderful places to have the most emotive ceremony and fun reception.

From a Mayan Ceremony to live Mexican music; from the white sand to a mysterious cenote, there can be something that suits your needs and makes it unforgettable. Some hotels offer discounts for the first year anniversary, so this is something to consider as well.


Let me know how is it looking for you

How is the planning for the wedding coming along? Leave a comment if there are other ideas that could be helpful for destination wedding lovers!


Also published on Medium.