Planning Tips & Ideas

Planning any event can be stressful, but when it’s your own wedding, you want everything to be perfect. If it’s a Destination Wedding—that stress level could become overwhelming. But with proper planning it can be everything you want it to be. To that end, we’d like to provide some tips and ideas to lessen the stress and increase the enjoyment of this very special time:

  1. Decide on a location. For ease of travel, affordability, natural beauty, variety of venues and vendors, and essential infrastructure, we suggest Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach! 
  2. Let your wedding party know that you’re having a destination wedding before asking them to commit.
  3. Send out your Save the Dates at least 10–12 months in advance to give your guests the time to arrange travel and time off work. Also, send your official invitations at least 4–6 months in advance.
  4. When scheduling your event, consider the time of year and the weather you’re likely to encounter, and how that will affect what you wear and whether you have an indoor or outdoor ceremony. Also, think about scheduling your ceremony on a weekday instead of a weekend. You’ll encounter less traffic and the price will likely be lower.
  5. If you’re using a wedding planner, choose one who resides in your wedding destination and visit as often as possible before your big day. This gives you opportunities to not only bond with the planner and any other vendors, but to make sure you’re all on the same page. If you can’t visit as often as you’d like, set up zoom meetings. It’s more personal than email and it’s easier to avoid confusion.
  6. While you’re visiting your chosen destination, explore things for your guests to do, like group nature tours and restaurants that feature live music and dancing (we have many!).
  7. When the time comes, arrive a few days early to acclimate and create welcome bags and/or plan a welcome party for your guests. Include useful items in the bags, like lip balm, sun screen, spare sunglasses, and of course, the Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor’s Guide!
  8. Be sure to take advantage of all your chosen destination has to offer. In the case of Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach, that means countless outdoor and water activities, pristine natural settings, fascinating wildlife, multifarious cuisine that will delight any foodie, top-notch fishing, a wide variety of golf courses, and sunsets you’ll remember forever.
  9. Create a Wedding Website and keep it updated. Add a FAQ (frequently asked questions) section and an easy contact form, as well as a detailed schedule. The following sites offer free or low-cost Wedding Website hosting (usually no more than $20 to maintain a site for a full year) as well as other helpful services:
    a. Minted.com
    b. TheKnot.com
    c. WeddingWire.com
    d. WithJoy.com
    e. Zola.com
  10. Email your guests all the relevant event and destination information (like the URL of your Wedding Website, contact information for your event planner, etc.), so even if they misplace a piece of paper they’ll still be in the know.
  11. Many couples planning a Destination Wedding eschew the gift registry, but if you do create one (often those who cannot travel to the wedding like to send a gift instead), be sure that all gifts ship to your home and not your wedding destination.
  12. Consider hiring a videographer in addition to your photographer (there’s usually no overlap) for more vivid reliving later.
  13. Your guests may want to stay a few extra days in Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach as well, so if you’re looking for alone time for your honeymoon, consider moving to a different hotel, resort, or secluded island vacation rental once your reception is over.