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A Bride's Guide: The Quest for the Perfect Destination Wedding Venue

Bride sitting on beach with computer

Hello, my lovely brides! Today, I want to take you on a journey through my experience of finding the ideal destination wedding venue. We'll explore how I narrowed down my options, from a multitude of open tabs to the dream location. Along the way, I'll also share some of the surprising requirements that came with the venues I considered. So, let's dive in and discover the secrets of a successful wedding venue hunt!

Chapter 1: The Tab Frenzy

Like many of you, I found myself lost in a sea of open browser tabs, each representing a potential venue for my dream wedding. Beaches in California, Oregon, North Carolina, Florida, Mexico, and the Caribbean islands were all vying for my attention. With so many options, it felt like the whole world was my oyster. But how did I narrow down the search and select "the one" among these countless possibilities?

Chapter 2: Guest List Realities

To make my decision-making process more manageable, I decided to focus on the number of guests I wanted to invite. This simple consideration quickly eliminated certain overseas destinations that would have posed difficulties for some loved ones to obtain passports or visas. After all, I couldn't imagine celebrating my special day without those dear to my heart. So, farewell to the idea of an international extravaganza. My search was now firmly rooted in U.S.-based venues, where passports were as optional as sunscreen on a cloudy day.

Chapter 3: Theme Revelation

As I delved deeper into the realm of wedding themes, I closed my eyes and let my imagination run wild. Why did I desire a beach wedding? What image perfectly encapsulated the vision in my mind? As I pictured my special day, I knew I wanted to be a barefoot bride, walking down the aisle on soft, white sands. But the allure of the beach didn't end with the ceremony. I yearned for a reception under a starlit sky, with twinkling lights and palm trees swaying in the ocean breeze. This newfound clarity allowed me to refine my search and uncover venues that fit this beach paradise vision.

Chapter 4: The Must-Haves for My Destination Wedding Venue

Armed with a mental checklist, I embarked on the quest for the perfect venue. Here are the must-haves I considered:

  • U.S.-based with no passport requirements

  • Ample beach space for both ceremony and reception

  • Proximity to a backup area in case of rain (or a handy tent solution)

  • Permission to illuminate the beach with magical lights

  • An authentic beach experience, complete with natural entry into the ocean

  • Pristine white sands and a plethora of swaying palms

  • Adequate capacity to accommodate 50-100 guests

  • Onsite facilities for the bridal party to prepare for the big day

  • Budget-friendly options to keep wedding costs in check

Chapter 5: The Video Revelation

When decision time loomed, I turned to YouTube for a dose of inspiration. Wedding videos became my virtual tours, showcasing how couples utilized the venues and how guests interacted with the surroundings. It was through these captivating videos that I found the venue that moved me to tears. It wasn't the perfectly shot cinematography, but rather the genuine emotions and the tangible connection to the envisioned atmosphere. Those videos showed me so much more than static website photos ever could.

BONUS CHAPTER: Venue Demands

Each venue came with its unique set of requirements, adding unexpected twists to the planning process. Here are a few that I encountered:

  • Exclusive use of their catering services, meaning no outside food or cakes allowed

  • The necessity of hiring a wedding planner or at least a day-of coordinator (a true lifesaver, trust me!)

  • A requirement to stay on the property to utilize the wedding space (a consideration for some)

  • Noise ordinances dictating the wedding's end time (no late-night dance party here)

  • Room block policies with minimum booking requirements, often with incentives for larger bookings

  • Bar requirements, including an extra bartender for guest counts exceeding 50

  • Food and beverage minimums, urging me to ensure a guest list of at least 30

  • Mandated specific vendors for lighting, fixtures, and rentals

In the search for the perfect destination wedding venue, we encounter a myriad of choices, considerations, and unexpected demands. It's an adventure filled with excitement and surprises. As you embark on your own journey, remember to define your must-haves, envision your theme, and be open to new possibilities. Embrace the process, find inspiration in videos, and don't be deterred by quirky venue requirements. Your dream venue is waiting to be discovered, and with a little perseverance and a touch of serendipity, you'll unveil the destination where your love story will truly shine.

Sneak peek of my wedding 👀 💕🌴🌊🌺🥰

Planners: Juju Lee Events Florist: Floral Fantasy Photo cred: Lindsay Pinto

Venue: Postcard Inn Beach Resort and Marina Dress: Liv and Love Bridal Suit: Suit Supply Bridesmaids Dresses: Azazie (If you want the ability to stack discounts, use my link to either sign into an existing Azazie account or create a new account)


Now that you've heard my tale, I'm curious to know about your own journey in finding the perfect venue. How did you narrow down your choices? What were the quirky requirements that made you do a double take or think, "Oh, okay, I guess that makes sense"? Tell me in the comments below!

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Makenzie's Design Photography

Hi, I'm Makenzie! Your quirky/fun elopement and destination wedding photographer, and your best friend that will be with your every step of the way till you say "I do!"

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