The logistics of planning a destination wedding for an overseas couple

08 Nov 2019

Natalia Calvo of Make It Happen BCN, which covers Spain and Southern Europe, details the benefits of working with a local destination wedding planner

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Image gallery

There are many reasons why a couple would choose a destination wedding instead of a wedding in their home country. It is a personal choice, however the vast majority of the factors involved in this decision crop up time and time again. 

Many of our overseas couples prefer getting married in a destination with good weather and even more so if the selected location has beaches. No need to highlight the importance of the gastronomy when celebrating a wedding, the local culture and the traditions in the destination country are another appealing factor. Another motivation for celebrating a wedding abroad is the economic profitability for the couple, depending on the currency exchange rate that there may be in the origin and destination countries.

Planning a destination wedding sometimes involves working, as professional wedding creators, in an event in which there are both local suppliers and providers from the couple’s native country. Not to mention, the demanding logistical attention that this type of event entails.


Image: Liberty Pearl Photography

Once all of these elements are joined together, you find something very complex in your hands. Being able to coordinate, take advantage of and get the most out of these circumstances is a challenge that is too difficult for a supplier that is not in the country of the wedding destination. Hence having a local wedding planner with whom to collaborate becomes indispensable to reap a successful result.

This collaborator must meet a series of requirements such as previous experience, leadership capacity, resources to deal with unforeseen situations, and a decent network of professional contacts that guarantee the flawless execution of the event. Like it or not, when planning a destination wedding our organisational ability as professional planners is alwats challenged. We must manage our time and that of our collaborators very well since, on many occasions, we will share a project with suppliers in different time zones.

It is also essential to have good planning capability to provide a comfortable logistics service for international guests on their arrivals into and departures out of the destination country. We believe that our most interesting skills lie in our knowledge of social protocol.


Certainly, working with a client you do not know and who is also from a foreign country is a difficult undertaking in which you have to prove yourself. The information that is provided to you can make the difference in how the event developes, which is why good communication and transparency in the transmission of information is crucial.

It is fundamental that the local wedding organiser understands the concept and specific needs of the event to transmit it in a manner that is appropriate to the collaborators who participate in it. In this case, an important ingredient to carry out this mission is that the weddng planner of the destination country has international experience and extensive professional competences in a language through which it can be understood with the rest of the participants at the wedding. 

When working with overseas couples, the cultural shock that can arise in some situations must be taken into consideration. Increasingly, we find a mix of cultures within the same wedding. Therefore, our work as local experts is to provide advice on legal regulations and co-habitation rules, usages and customs, as well as the social implications of certain conducts in the country of destination. We find there is added value to be had by including the traditions of the destination country in our couples' weddings. 


Destination weddings can be treated like a family holday and usually comprise a smaller guest list than if the wedding was hosted at home. One of the advantages of working with a local agency it is that they know the habits and customs of the destination country by living in it every day. For example, did you know that Spain has different styles and set hours for doing business according to each province? Or did you know that each region of Spain has its own gastronomic delights?

Another benefit of teaming up with a local agent is the flexibility to make all necessary technical visits, both to suppliers and to venues. This is an important saving in time and travel expenses for the couple. On the other hand, a local partner can lead and control more effectively and closely a team of destination providers because they will most likely know them already and have had a previous professional relationship with them. 


A destination wedding is an extremely attractive aspiration for those professionals in the weddings industry who enjoy their work and are motivated by the challenges, however difficult they may be. While it is true that this is not an experience for all tastes nor every couple, the reality is that the lucky ones who can fulfil this dream will recall it their entire life.

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