Not sure if you’ve noticed, but destination weddings are *so* hot right now. Airbnb wedding locales, travel-themed nuptials, and all of those crazy-cute map invites are becoming go-tos for couples craving major wanderlust when it comes to their big day. If you and your boo are all about the trend and ready to navigate the tricky business of planning a destination shindig, we’ve got some tips for you with this step-by-step guide from wedding expert Renée Strauss. Now, grab your passport and get ready for the journey of a lifetime!

1. Decide on the perfect destination. Now that you decided on traveling for your wedding, you have the entire world (literally!) to choose from. Whether you’re hoping for a tropical, international, or urban-chic vibe, narrow down your search by considering locations that are close to your heart, like a fave family vacay spot or that magical city where the two of you met.

2.Determine your ceremony style. Once you’ve chosen your location, you two lovebirds have to decide whether you want a civil or symbolic ceremony. Keep in mind that the former requires research, time, and likely some pro assistance in completing the required paperwork, whereas the latter is easy peasy and completely customizable.

3.Work with pros on the ground. Trying to plan a destination wedding with a non-local planner can be a challenge since they’re probably unfamiliar with the region and property you’ve chosen. This means you may pay for the time they take to do research and reach out to other planners. Instead, opt for a pro that’s already there and recommended by your venue. It will save you tons of time and big bucks!

4.Schedule a pre-planning trip. If you have the budget and time, exploring the locale IRL would be ideal. You and your S.O. can scout the grounds, meet the pros face-to-face, and explore the area for your guests. Plus, you’ll most likely come back with lots of inspo and bonding from the trip.

5.Create a wedding website. Keep your friends and fam in the loop with a wedding site that has all the deets of your jet-set adventure. After all, no bride-to-be has time for constant text messages from guests asking for hotel recommendations, attractions, and restaurant suggestions. Feel free to include local maps as well so your peeps can get to know the area before they arrive.

6.Hand-carry your gown. Can you imagine checking your gorg gown at the airport, only to find out your suitcase was lost in transit? No, thank you! If you’re taking a plane, take your dress as a carry-on so you can keep an eye on it the entire time. If you’re driving to your destination, you’ll want to make sure your dress has plenty of space to spread out to prevent wrinkles.

7.Arrange a welcome reception lounge at the location for your guests. After traveling far and wide to share in your special day, loved ones will def be in need of a little TLC. If all your guests are staying on the same property, take the opportunity to set up a table of welcome bags in the lounge and greet your friends and fam as they come arrive. This adds a more personal touch than having the hotel hand goodies out at check-in, and is also a great conversation starter for guests that don’t know each other.

8.Bring a collapsible duffel or suitcase. You should instruct your guests to send gifts to your home address ahead of time so they don’t have to be hauled to and from your wedding locale, BUT there’ll always be a few who miss the memo. Just in case, pack an empty, collapsible bag so you can send gifts home with your fam instead of toting them on your honeymoon.

9.Enjoy your big day! Your wedding day is meant to be a joyful celebration of your marriage. It can be easy to get wrapped up in all the planning and totally stress out about every detail, but after the party, you get to spend the rest of your lives together, and that’s the part that really matters!

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(Photo via Belle Destination Weddings and Events)