When I was about a year into my photography journey, a friend from the dental office I worked at asked me to go with her to Destin, FL for to photograph her destination wedding.
Uh yeah, I’m in.
We all know at this point, I hate photographing weddings. I love weddings, and being just on the outside of the industry, but the stress of photographing one of the most important life events of someone’s life is too much for me.
Destination weddings on the other hand are so much more relaxed and fun.
I even brought my best friend and we made it a little mini vacay.
Destination weddings are a fun way to take a little bit of the stress off during wedding planning, plus there are perks as well. Smaller guest lists, all inclusive weddings, beautiful setting for photos, and a vacation are just a few of those perks. The hardest part is probably choosing WHERE to go!
Destination weddings in the United States
The U.S. is huge, so there are a ton of places you could choose just on the “mainland” that are memorable and beautiful. You have the midwest, Florida, the southern coast, Las Vegas, or Colorado, just to name a few.
In the midwest, you could do Branson. I’m including Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg in this as well, because they are similar to Branson. There are small wedding chapels, the Titanic exhibit(not sure what I think about this), and large wedding venues. Because Branson caters to tourism, there will be plenty for your wedding guests to do to stay entertained, and plenty of accommodations as well.
Florida has the beach and Disney World, both of which are the happiest places on Earth. Beach weddings are my favorite. By the way, if you ARE planning to get married in Florida, check out Cami Zi Photography. She is AMAZING at what she does and also the sweetest person you will ever meet. I also love Brett Birdsong in the Destin, Florida/Florida Panhandle area. He’s awesome and will make your wedding day super fun.
Florida beach weddings can range in price from super cheap to super expensive after all is said and done, but it’s the beach and no matter what it will be a blast!
Disney weddings are magical. Obviously. It’s Disney World. The photographer I mentioned above, Cami Zi, used to work for Disney as their photographer but now has her own photography business. Disney weddings range from $3500- 12,000 from what I can tell, but again, they are all-inclusive as far as the wedding goes. Accommodations aren’t included.
The Southern Coast
If you want a beautiful southern wedding, Savannah, Georgia, Charleston, SC, and the beach, such as Hilton Head, all down the coast are ideal! I love these areas because they are filled with history, plus just beautiful locations, in general, within driving distance of St. Louis. Gazebo weddings, traditional church weddings with beautiful plantation receptions, or the beach wedding are all options.
Las. Vegas. These infamous weddings can be as classy, cheesy, or as wild as you want. The famous Little White Chapel is an obvious choice, but for a more classy wedding, the Bellagio has beautiful options.
Colorado has so much to offer as far as destination weddings. It’s such a beautiful state with beautiful landscape. You could choose Denver for historical landmarks. Vail, Aspen, Keystone, or Breckenridge(and many others)have beautiful mountain side views either in winter with snow or in other seasons for just general beauty. You definitely can’t go wrong with anywhere in Colorado.
Destination weddings in Mexico
All inclusive beach resorts usually have amazing wedding venues as well. Riviera Maya, Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Cabo, and the like all have great options, usually all inclusive, as well, for weddings. Who wouldn’t want the beautiful turquoise water as a back drop to their wedding?
Destination weddings abroad
Some other options for destination weddings could include Paris, Greece, Ireland, and so many more options. The hardest thing with weddings abroad will be convincing your wedding guests to go. Some may want the vacay, while others are scared of international travel. Don’t let other’s opinions deter you in your wedding planning. Your perfect day is far more important!
I seriously had so much fun photographing the destination wedding in Florida a few years ago. It definitely was the beginning of my love for Destin.
If you do decide to go the destination route, be sure you take time for the two of you though. With so many family members around at all times, it can become more about family time in a moment that should be about your love.
Tracy Lynn is a boudoir photographer for brides-to-be in the St. Louis area, and a mentor + coach for photographers looking to level up their businesses with better systems and processes.