Deciding on a destination wedding is a huge step for a couple. It’s not easy to take the less traditional path, especially when it comes to weddings. I personally love when couples choose to opt-out of the ordinary and take their special day outside the country. That being said, choosing a destination wedding comes with its own unique challenges and is by no means easy to organize. I’ve shot in 3 continents and have seen the craziness behind the scenes of a destination wedding. Having the world to choose from sounds romantic but can also be dizzying from the number of great options. My hope is to spark ideas that guide you toward the place that’s going to make a lasting, special memory. Here are some pros and cons to popular wedding destinations all over the globe!
Italy Destination Wedding
Notable Locations: Tuscany, Florence, Amalfi Coast
Places like Positano and Tuscany look like they’ve been pulled from someone’s dream and imposed into real life. It’s one reason why Italy is one of the most desired destination wedding locations for both Americans and Europeans. For a destination wedding photographer, it’s usually at the top of the list of bucket-list destinations. Italy is known for its charming towns, romantic culture, and abundance of natural beauty. Italy is also a highly sought-out destination for honeymoons, making it the perfect place to start your well-deserved vacation. It’s nearly impossible to have a bad wedding experience in Italy, which makes it a no-brainer for a destination wedding. Choose Italy for your wedding if you’d call yourself a foodie and love the idea of sipping old-world wine on the Mediterranean sea.
For Americans, a destination wedding in Italy may seem idyllic but presents some challenges. 10+ hour flights and round-trip tickets starting at $500-700 mean it’s not the most accessible place for every guest. In my trips to Italy, I’ve also noticed a significant language barrier, especially outside the large cities. Italy’s not only expensive to get but, unlike places like Mexico, it’s still expensive once you arrive. Attending a destination wedding in Italy is a commitment, so be very intentional with your guest list. With all that being said, the pros definitely outnumber the cons for a destination wedding. It’s hard to imagine anything outweighing a wedding ceremony in the Tuscan countryside.
Hawaii Destination Wedding
Notable Locations: Kauai, Maui, Oahu
The breathtaking islands of Hawaii are what often come to mind when people think of paradise. I’ve recommended this mountainous marvel for those who want to elope in Hawaii but it’s just as great for a wedding destination. Right up front, Hawaii has the big convenience of not needing a passport for those who live in the United States. Beyond convenience, there’s an indefinable quality about the culture that draws people in. Something about the aloha spirit never fails to make an impression on visitors. Plus, if you’re interested in a beach wedding, it’s hard to find a better place for one. I’d call Hawaii the right fit for your wedding if you love a salty breeze or consider drinking coconut water while swinging in a hammock the perfect afternoon.
Everyone loves a tropical climate but it’s not the best for weddings. For much of the year, a wedding in Hawaii means heat, humidity, and lots of rain. Having a Hawaii destination wedding at the wrong time of the year can almost guarantee rain on your wedding day. Not only that but from June-November it’s hurricane season and Hawaii is under threat every year. If you’re the kind of person who wants an outdoor venue, make sure you find a Hawaii wedding photographer who plans accordingly, something everyone should look for in a destination wedding photographer. Additionally, because of the desirability as a wedding destination, vendors often charge an arm and a leg. In the end, the weather can be navigated around and a wedding is going to be expensive no matter what so don’t let these cons steer you away from a Hawaii destination wedding.
Greece Destination Wedding
There are several reasons why Greece is my favorite country in Europe. I don’t think I’ve been to another place that wowed me with beauty so soon after arrival. The mainland is rich with beauty from olive farms and vineyards to over a dozen rolling mountain ranges. Personally, I’m completely enamored with the islands in Greece. The deep blue of the Aegean is stunning and becomes the perfect place to swim and sail in the warm months. It’s also hard to imagine a more beautiful backdrop to a wedding than on an island like Santorini. Lastly, I don’t know too many guests who would mind taking a summer vacation on any one of the Greek islands. Choose a wedding in Greece if you love island hopping, and can’t get enough of Mediterranean cuisine. If you need more convincing you should have a destination wedding in Greece, check out five reasons to get married in Greece!
Greece shares a lot of the same advantages and disadvantages of an Italian destination wedding. From the United States, it’s very far and quite expensive to get to. Hardly anyone outside of tourism speaks English, so it’s not the easiest to get around. Plus, during the high season, it’s full of tourists and the rates for the year are at their most expensive. That being said, the first destination wedding I shot in Greece was totally worth it. It’s easy to beat the tourists and enjoy the heat of summer when you go sailing around the islands with your guests. It may be expensive but it’s hard not to spend a fortune on a wedding, so you may as well do it somewhere amazing like Greece!
Mexico Destination Wedding
Notable Locations: Tulum, Cabo San Lucas, San Miguel De Allende
Out of the locations I’ve mentioned, I reserved my absolute favorite for last. Arguably one of the most underrated countries for weddings, Mexico has the same exceptional qualities of any popular Caribbean or European wedding destination. It’s packed with amazing beaches, rich culture, and has an added level of convenience and affordability. Mexico has chill, surfer-welcoming pacific coast beaches in the state of Oaxaca, bohemian jungle paradises in towns like Tulum, and tourist-friendly cities with gorgeous clear water in Playa Del Carmen. As a bonus, The cost of a flight to a Mexico destination wedding is more than likely going to be the same as any domestic wedding. For those who want to hear more about the options here, make sure to look over where to get married in Mexico. Book a destination wedding in Mexico if you love colorful towns and consider strangers friends you haven’t met yet.
As far as disadvantages go, there aren’t too many for Mexico. Most of the places to get married have big English speaking populations, with the exceptions of the rural areas. The coasts get particularly warm in the summer, but it’s hard to mind when the ocean is so accessible and inviting. It’s easy and affordable to get to from the United States. Mexico doesn’t present any big challenges as a fantastic place to get married. A few states are experiencing issues with violence but nowhere that’d be considered popular for a destination wedding, and certainly not in the places tourists visit. As a Mexico destination wedding photographer, I’ve encountered zero safety issues in any of the places I’ve shot weddings. At the end of the day, I couldn’t recommend Mexico more as a great destination to tie the knot in.
Destination Wedding Photographer’s Final Thoughts
Every country I listed is worth the challenges that come with getting married there. Mexico has an incredible culture and so much variety between charming towns and bustling cities full of culture. Italy connects with me because I’m half-Italian and it’s one of the first countries I traveled abroad to visit. Greece has a special association in sparking my love for travel and wanting to become a destination wedding photographer. Hawaii is where I envision the tropical version of myself, surfing every morning and spending more time in the ocean than on land. Whether or not it’s on this list, I love helping brides in the midst of planning for their destination wedding. For anything destination wedding photographer related, make sure to reach out! Fill out a form submission or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss the destination that will make for an unforgettable wedding day.