From Kate’s Crew: The Five Must-Haves for Destination Weddings

September 28, 2016  |  published by Maureen FitzGibbon

Phew! Our frequent flyer miles have been racking up these past few months with back-to-back destination weddings – and we couldn’t be more excited to share some of best tips if you are planning to get hitched far, far away!

First, when in Rome…

We think it is key to infuse the host city, state or country into your event!  All of your closest family and friends have traveled near and far – so, we want them to fall in love with the destination as much as you did!  Maureen FitzGibbon, Wedding Designer, recommends researching local food and customs that could entertain your guests.

“I love when clients embrace the local cuisine!  There is nothing like authentic ingredients from your host city to impress your guest’s palate.”  Signature drinks can be another simple way to let your guests truly experience the destination. And finally, entertainment options are memorable and unique to guests – so, make sure to do your research and highlight a variety of options that your destination and venue have to offer!

Our clients Pam + Rocky embraced some fun flair for their beachy Cancun wedding this July – check out this fire show!  Guests also took home Mexican cigars as their favor at the end of the night.

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Cancun, Mexico – Lauren Muckler Photography 

Secondly, too much information is just enough!

There is no such thing as giving out too many details!  Ensure your guests know where they are going, what they’re doing, when to be where, and what they should wear!  There is nothing worse than a lost groomsmen wandering the resort!

Our Project Manager, Loren Doughty, recommends slipping a map in that welcome box or invitation suite.  Or find a new and creative way to publish the schedule of events for guests upon arrival to the destination!  “I absolutely love using technology where we can for destination events – everyone has their phone!”  We recommend the wedding scheduling app Appy Couple.  As the client, you can load a fully designed and customized wedding schedule, map, photos, and much more!


Riviera Maya, Mexico – Button Up Photography


Cancun, Mexico – Lauren Muckler Photography

Thirdly, location, location, location!

Destination weddings should embrace their natural surroundings.  Whether it be a killer modern motif, like Alyssa + Cody’s recent soiree at the Milwaukee Art Museum…


Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Jenna Kutcher Photography

… or the draping trees and foliage surrounding Maria + Charlie’s ceremony in charming Charleston, South Carolina!


Charleston, South Carolina – Clay Austin Photography

It is so important to design around your environment!  By doing this, you not only infused gorgeous and unique aspects of your destination directly into your special day, but it also can lower the amount of decor needed in your wedding design.  That means more money for other areas of your budget! A win-win!

With that extra cash, perhaps you provide a great welcome package [with those itinerary details!], a welcome party or a hangover send-off brunch!

Fourth, don’t rush!

Get to your destination early and allow yourself time to relax.  Even stay late after the festivities! Traveling is exhausting, so make sure you have time to rest up before the wedding party arrives.  And don’t forget about your schedule after the wedding night – you may be hungover! Do you really want to jump on a honeymoon flight to Thailand still full of Mai Tai?!  Probably not!  Instead, opt for at least one lounge day after the wedding to pack and reflect.

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Cancun, Mexico – Lauren Muckler Photography

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Riviera Maya, Mexico – Button Up Photography

Fifth and final, trust in your vendors!

Alyssa Buth, who just said ‘I do’ in Milwaukee, said that her and her husband Cody “would both agree that it takes a lot of emails, patience and trust in your vendors to make everything come to fruition.”  We would have to agree!  There will be a lot of details exchanged between now and your destination wedding, so make sure you have an amazing vendor team to hold it all together.  “Lock down the vendors you want right way – especially if they are traveling with you,” recommends Alyssa.  Booking early for a destination wedding is always the best bet!

With a great planning team at the helm, the smallest of details will be thought of!  For example, making sure you think about the things that will need to come back home with you!  Don’t overpack – that even means your personal suitcase [not just that wedding suitcase full of sequin linens!].  Kimmy Klipsch, Kate & Company Project Manager, also would say that it is “of the utmost importance to have a designated person at the hotel to receive shipments ahead of the wedding.”  For a recent Mexico destination wedding, Kimmy shipped all the important items early to ensure they arrived on time – think favors, stationery items, and tabletop decor.  Airline restrictions are tight, so there is no reason to fret on the way through security!


Charleston, South Carolina – Clay Austin Photography


Rochester, New York – Magic Moments Photography


Cancun, Mexico – Lauren Muckler Photography


Riviera Maya, Mexico – Button Up Photography

Planning a destination wedding can be a challenge, but we hope with these tips + tricks you’ll be ready to pack those bags and passports!

Check out some more details below from some of our favorite destinations!


Kate’s Crew


Charleston, South Carolina – Clay Austin Photography

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Cancun, Mexico – Lauren Muckler Photography

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Riviera Maya, Mexico – Button Up Photography




Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Jenna Kutcher Photography



Rochester, New York – Magic Moments Photography