Let's just start off by saying this...I am not an expert in the destination wedding arena. While I have planned weddings in my area for brides who are coming from out of town, and I have planned weddings for brides in other states, I have never planned a wedding outside of the country. But I will tell you this, I do know of some tips on what to consider when choosing a destination for your wedding so here it goes!
1. What is the meaning of "destination" to you? My wedding was 45 minutes from my house and all of my guests had to at least travel an hour and a half to get there, the other half flying in from Northern California or other states. So while this was a destination for most of us and not exactly close to my house, I wouldn't personally consider my wedding a destination wedding. So how far do you want to go?
Across the state? Another state? Across the country? Across the world? Make sure you have the answer to this question before you start any searching.
2. Now this is extremely important and probably the most important part of choosing a destination wedding. What is it that you are looking for that you cannot find in your hometown? Now this is the reason many of us travel to have a wedding - because we don't have what it takes to achieve our wedding vision. So consider why you are choosing a destination for your wedding. Do you want a beach setting? Do you want a rustic setting? A lot of redwood trees? Or do you just want to get away for a vacation??
3. What theme are you looking for? Going off of number 2, you need to consider your theme or vision. I have had so many brides come to me and say, "Jenn, I want a destination wedding. Where should I go?" Well there is no way I can possibly answer this question because you are the only person (and your fiance, of course...well...maybe) who knows what you want! Jamaica is going to be a completely different destination than London so make sure you have a vision before choosing that destination.
4. Budget. Of course, everything always seems to come down to budget. Why can't we all just win the lottery and have our dream Pinterest wedding?? Well, that's another topic we can talk about another time. But of course, budget is going to come into play no matter who you are. And it will, of course, differ based on where you live! A New York destination wedding is going to be more expensive for us over here in Southern California than it will be for those of you in Massachusetts. And the reason is airfare! Airfare is expensive and you just can't get away from it! So when considering that destination, remember that you will somehow need to get there before actually having the wedding, and this is a cost that may or may not be very significant!
5. Are you inviting guests? If you are going to be inviting 250 guests and you want them all to attend, unfortunately this is probably not going to happen if you are getting married on the other side of the world. So consider your guest list when choosing a destination. While everyone wants to be there for your big day, not everyone can afford to just take a week vacation and fly their entire family to the other side of the country. If it is just going to be the two of you and/or close family and friends, then make sure everyone who you couldn't get married without will have the chance to attend. Just remember that we all have jobs and families and finances that we need to take care of!
Once you have all of these answers in place, of course there are going to be millions of destinations you can choose from. But at least you have it narrowed down a bit!
And I know I have mentioned it before, but I would HIGHLY recommend visiting www.everafter.com if you are considering a destination wedding. They help you plan your destination wedding FOR FREE! They will help with costs, refer you to destinations that fit your budget and vision, and best of all, they have been to all of these destinations so know EXACTLY what you will be getting! If you can't afford to travel to check out the venues, they have already done this legwork for you! So there is no need to worry about showing up at a venue on your wedding day that no longer exists...and yes, that happens :/
Hope this helps a least a little bit to help you narrow down that wedding destination!