What No One Tells You About Planning a Destination Wedding

March 22, 2018 | juliette

photo by Vic Bonvicini Photography

When planning a destination wedding, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and the romance of saying, “I do” in an exotic location. And we totally get it! What could be dreamier than jetting off to a location you’ve always dreamed of or that has sentimental meaning to your relationship? Part of making that dream a reality is ensuring you’re prepared for every obstacle, which is why we’ve put together this list of little-known facts to consider before and during the planning process. These definitely aren’t as exciting as other parts of planning, but they will save you some headaches, sleepless nights, and maybe even some money in the long-run.

photo by Kathrin Krok Fotografie

Time Difference Challenges

If you’re planning from abroad and your vendors are in a different time zone, you’ll need to be flexible with your planning schedule to account for lag time in communication. You might need to take calls at night or early in the morning, depending on your vendors’ schedules. So, we recommend figuring out and writing the time difference somewhere within eyesight of your weekly/monthly planner so you can set up calls at times that will work for you. For those calls, Skype is definitely your best option so you can make as many calls as necessary without racking up a huge phone bill.

Also, if you’re crossing time zones, you’ll want to plan extra time in your destination to recover from jet lag. There would be nothing worse than spending months planning your dream wedding in a stunning location and not enjoying it because you’re exhausted! Plan to arrive at your destination at least 2-3 days before the wedding festivities begin so your body can adjust and you can be fully present for every moment.

Currency Exchange Rates

Exchange rates differ from country to country and fluctuate almost on a daily basis, so you’ll need to keep an eye on the market throughout the entire planning process. A good way to stay on top of your budget is to create a spreadsheet with all the items/services you purchase, the amount you paid in the foreign currency, and how that translates to your currency based on that day’s exchange rate.

You’ll also want to know ahead of time what money you need once you arrive at your destination. Can you pay with credit card, or will you need physical money? If you need physical money, where is the best place to convert it? What is the tipping culture for the service industry like in that country? These are all things you want to know early on in the planning so you can work them into your overall wedding budget.

photo by Catherine Coons Photography

Finding Vendors

If you find a photographer that will travel for your wedding, that’s amazing! Other than your photographer, you should hire vendors, especially a wedding planner, that are local to your destination. The wedding planner will be your eyes, ears, and hands for the details that you simply can’t handle from abroad. They know the lay of the land, will be readily available to handle any issues that require immediate attention, and can recommend other vendors for your dream team. For destination weddings especially, it’s vital to hire vendors you trust to bring your vision to life, which is why it’s best to rely on the expertise of local professionals.

Making It Legal

For weddings in the U.S., marriage license requirements vary from state to state, and can even vary from county to county. Most states require specific identification to get a license, have a waiting period after your license is issued, and set an expiration date. In countries outside the U.S., the requirements vary even more. France, for example, requires either the bride or groom be a French resident for at least 40 days before they can be married and require a civil ceremony before any religious ceremony can take place. Not all countries have the same requirements, so you should do your research early, make a checklist of all the requirements to ensure you can meet them all, and collect all your paperwork as soon as possible. Keep an eye out for required blood tests, documents that must be notarized before you arrive, and extra translation or filing fees. This is one of the most compelling reasons to hire a local wedding planner in your destination because they can guide you through all the legal requirements.

photo by Tricia Victoria Photography

Transportation & Accommodation

If you’re wondering whether you need to pay for your guests’ travel and accommodations for your destination wedding, they answer is no. You wouldn’t pay for your out-of-town guests’ plane tickets and hotels if you were having a wedding at home, so the same principle applies to all of your guests for a destination wedding. If you’re looking for ways to help cut costs for your guests, try to find several accommodations in different price points so your guests can choose what works best for them. You could also try to organize group flight deals for guests coming from the same area.

Guest Count

As a general rule, you should expect anywhere from 30% to 50% of the guests you invite to a destination wedding to decline. This means that, if your venue is flexible with the number of guests it can accommodate, you could invite more people than you would have for your at-home wedding. But, if your venue has a strict capacity, you should overestimate how many guests will accept to ensure you don’t go over the limit. Be sure to consult this handy guide for ways to cut down you wedding guest list that also explains how to send your invitations in waves so you don’t go over the number you, or your venue, have set.

photo by Maggie Grace Photography

Holidays and Peak Travel Season

For those heading to a popular tourist destination, make sure to check peak travel seasons and research any national holidays before setting a wedding date. If budget is a concern, choose a date in a “shoulder season” and maybe even consider a weekday wedding to avoid the weekend rush. Even if budget isn’t a concern, you don’t want to be competing with large crowds, inflated hotel prices, or hotel unavailability. You also don’t want to arrive and realize an attraction you or your guests wanted to visit is closed for a holiday. So, take some time to read travel blogs, TripAdvisor reviews, and talk with your wedding planner about the best times to travel to your destination before you set your heart on a date.

Transporting Wedding Essentials

If your destination is a plane ride away and you’re planning to bring decor or other wedding items with you, you might want to consider shipping items rather than packing them in your suitcases. You’ll need to account for shipping time and extra expense, but it could be worth it to avoid headaches at the airport or risk your bags getting lost. If possible, we highly recommend renting your decor through a local rental company rather than curate items at home that you have to transport. The one thing you never want to ship is your wedding dress! Keep that beauty with you at all times to ensure it gets there safely. Most airlines allow brides to carry their dress onboard for an extra fee, and you might even be able to get a sweet flight attendant to hang it in first class. Either way, just make sure you’re able to steam your dress when you arrive.

Are you still on the fence about a destination wedding? We’ve got some tips on what to consider when deciding between a local or destination wedding!

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This Couple Surprised Their Guests with a Gorgeous Boranup Forest Wedding Among the Trees

March 22, 2018 | juliette

Eleanor and Alvin’s Boranup Forest wedding was full of epic surprises from beginning to end! The couple asked their guests to meet them at a decoy location and then bused them into the forest to keep the ceremony location a secret. But then Eleanor and Alvin got an even bigger surprise from the owners of Leeuwin Estate when a helicopter showed up to take them on a sunset trip above the coast and the forest before arriving at their reception. As you can imagine, this wedding was full of joy and energy, which Black Bird Tale managed to capture in impeccable detail. It was also full of exceptional decor and florals, including some of the prettiest cascading arrangements that Natural Art Flowers created and hung from the rafters of the clear marquee reception tent.

The Couple:

Eleanor and Alvin

The Wedding:

Boranup Forest and Leeuwin Estate, Margaret River, Western Australia



From the groom: I opted for a navy three-piece suit for the day and a classic black tuxedo for the evening. I paired these with a watch given to me by my parents, a red and blue striped tie, a tie-pin from my in-laws, and brown leather shoes from one of my favourite shoemakers – Church’s. All our accessories (old and new) were given to us by our parents and have plenty of sentimental value. 

From the bride: When browsing through the web for potential wedding designers, I came across a dress made out of the most beautiful crochet lace that I knew I wanted on my wedding dress. I approached the designer with an idea in mind, and she crafted a timeless and unique two-piece gown that is just as comfortable as it is stunning. Since my gown was a two-piece, she also made me a pair of white pants I could change into for the after party. I paired the dress with a set of jade earrings my mother gave to me when I was 14 and light mauve heels. In the evening, I wore a diamond necklace given to me by my in-laws.

When we decided to have our wedding in Boranup Forest, we thought it would be fun to keep the ceremony venue a secret and surprise guests on the day. We gave specific instructions to guests to meet at a designated spot at a specific time and hired buses to shuttle them to the venue. They then had to take a 200m walk further into the forest before reaching the clearing where the ceremony was set up. I don’t think any of them expected a wedding in the woods amongst the towering Karri Trees. What they didn’t realize is that we actually hinted a little drawing of the Karri Trees on our invitations.

After the ceremony, the two of us went to the beach to take several portrait shots and when we were done, our photographer told us that there was just one last venue she wanted to take us to for some final shots. We were then led to a large field where we found a helicopter parked. She revealed that the helicopter was for us and we didn’t believe her at first. Turns out, Leeuwin Estate (our reception venue) organized the helicopter ride as a surprise for us and our vendors were all in on it! We were treated to the most amazing aerial view of the sunset against the coastline and Jackson (the pilot) even did a loop around Boranup Forest to look for our ceremony spot before we arrived to Leeuwin Estate in style. It was pretty epic and our guests were in hysterics!

Because we had a spring wedding, we capitalized on the beautiful scenery that Margaret River provides and chose outdoor venues with lots of wood and greens. We wanted the styling elements to complement the killer setting we already had in hand and opted for a clean, elegant, and eclectic look. We love the idea of contrast and went for a lush white ceremony set up in the middle of the forest , a clear marquee with lots of fairy lights in the middle of a lawn overlooking the field and trees, and a black tie wedding right in the midst of nature.

Our best advice to couples planning their wedding is to take the time to source and get to know your vendors because it is important to trust the team of people you engage (especially if you are planning a destination wedding). We also strongly encourage couples to convey what they want to vendors, but also leave room for vendors to work their creative magic, which brings us back to the point of engaging vendors you are confident in. That way, you get to be surprised when you see your wedding day come together.

The Wedding Team:

Photography – Black Bird Tale
Ceremony Venue – Boranup Forest
Reception Venue – Leeuwin Estate
Floral Design – Natural Art Flowers
Cake – Bake the Cake
Videography – The Wedding Tape
Wedding Dress – Caramel & Co.
Groom’s Apparel – Kevin Seah and Church’s


Congratulations to Eleanor and Alvin, and a huge thanks to Junebug member Black Bird Tale for sharing this gorgeous forest wedding with us! Looking for more stunning floral inspiration? Check out the epic florals in this Portland wedding inspiration at The Rookery Bar!

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What to Wear to Your Spring Bridal Shower – 2018 Spring Bridal Shower Dresses

March 21, 2018 | nicole

photo by Giving Tree Photography

Spring has officially sprung and wedding season is upon us! In the final weeks of wedding planning, your to-do list might just be through the roof, so we’re here to offer a hand. Need help deciding what to wear to your spring bridal shower? Look no further than these gorgeous white spring bridal shower dresses! From eyelet to lace and from flutter sleeve to off-the-shoulder, we’ve rounded up over spring bridal shower dresses with your favorite trends, silhouettes, and styles. Let’s get to shopping, shall we?

Under $100

ASTR Lace Midi Dress

ASTR Lace Off-The-Shoulder Midi Dress

NSR Taylor Eyelet Midi Dress

Eloquii Tiered Sleeve Dress with Keyhole Neckline

WAYF Ruffle Wrap Dress

Socialite Ruffle Faux Wrap Dress

Leith Eyelet Jumpsuit

City Chic Mesh Floral Sundress

WAYF Blouson Midi Dress

Love, Nickie Lew Ruffle Body-Con Dress


Eliza J Laser Cut Fit & Flare Halter Dress

CeCe Tiered Peated Crepe Shift Dress

Eloquii Embroidered Flutter Sleeve Dress

Free People Counting Daisies Embroidered Off-The-Shoulder Dress

Adrianna Papell Halter Shirtdress

Eloquii Ruffled Sleeve Off-The-Shoulder Dress

French Connection Whisper Light Sheath Dress

ModCloth Defining Divine Midi Dress

Ali & Jay The Left Bank Pleat Dress

Eloquii Corset Detail Dress with Full Sleeves

French Connection Lula Sheath Dress

Free People Pavlo Babydoll Dress

Eloquii Floral Detail Fit and Flare Dress

CeCe Flutter Sleeve Pintuck Dress

Chelsea28 Textured Double Layer Dress

Eloquii V-Neck Sheath Dress

ModCloth Through the Bluebells A-Line Dress

Maggy London Lace Flare Hem Midi Dress

City Chic Lace & Chiffon Dress

CeCe Scalloped Shift Dress

ModCloth Destination Dreaming Midi Dress

Eloquii Studio Eyelet Wrap Dress

Chelsea28 Mixed Media Dress


Over $200

Lilly Pulitzer Kinley Halter Dress

Anthropologie Gridded Lace Petite Dress

Anthropologie Galloway Wrap Dress

Anthropologie Farm Rio Isolde Dress

Anthropologie Cynthia Rowley Ruffled Dress

Anthropologie Antik Batik Roma Maxi Dress

Anthropologie Leslie Maxi Dress

Anthropologie Antik Batik Flutter-Sleeve Lace Maxi Dress

P.S. We also rounded up our favorite winter bridal shower dresses in case you’re looking for something with a little more sleeve-action!

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