Destination Wedding Trends

What's New and Trending in the Destination Wedding World

Destination Wedding on the Beach
Destination Wedding on the Beach. Digital Vision / Getty Images

Just like in fashion, there are also trends in the world of weddings. From color schemes to attire, to the type of cuisine, to entertainment, there are certain elements that pop up and take off like a wild craze, many thanks to the internet. Thanks to the rise in popularity of destination weddings, there are more trends than ever coming out of this subsection of the wedding space, so we tapped a few experts in the space to share what's hot for the coming year.


Increased Technology Use 

According to Megan Velez from, destination weddings are getting more personalized and technologically advanced than ever. "More and more, couples are taking into consideration those who couldn't make the trip for a destination wedding. With technology nowadays, couples are able to use Skype or FaceTime, as well as photo-sharing apps, to include those who couldn’t make it to their celebration from afar."

Increased Personalization 

Creating a more personalized guest experience is another up-and-coming trend. “With an understanding that guests may make sacrifices to attend a destination wedding, couples are increasingly putting extra effort into ensuring that their vacation is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Whether it’s planning an unforgettable excursion or providing luxury accommodations, the guest experience is certainly a consideration that is here to stay.” 

Alex Chalk of Taylor’d Events Group shares that intimate events are more popular than ever since they allow for couples to splurge on the areas that are most important and give their guests a better experience. “Destination elopements are a popular choice for couples nowadays. They’re intimate, incredibly detailed, and staged gorgeously just like any other elopement – just far, far away.

Oftentimes, elopement packages can include full set-up, from photography and videography to catering and cake.” 

Emily Sullivan of Get Polished Events concurs with this trend, saying that customization is the key to a destination event. "Whether it’s focusing on local food and flair, or bringing a little slice of home, couples want the events to be unique and focused on their tastes. This may even mean ‘thinking outside the beach’ and seeking locations that will be easy and convenient for guests to travel.” 

Bringing The Dream Team Along for the Ride

According to destination wedding photographer Mike Busada of Mike B Photography, many couples are opting to bring more of their hometown vendors along for the adventure. “From favorite bands to well-known planners, couples are looking to incorporate some of their favorite things from home and work with people they are familiar with, instead of relying on the talent available at their destination.” 

Creative Photography

Destination wedding photography has evolved along with the rest of the industry to bring in more fun and natural wedding photos for a more authentic feel. “Gone are the days of forced smiles and galleries of boring portrait shots," says Velez.

 Whether it's a post-ceremony "trash the dress" shoot or underwater bridal portraits, photographers are taking advantage of their unique destinations to capture the charm of the landscape along with their couples. According to Velez, many couples are even including their photographers as they explore the resort and go on excursions, which she describes as "a perfect way to not only capture the big day but the whole celebration!”

James Berglie of Be Photography agrees and encourages couples to schedule a day-after shoot with your photographer. "Even when you’re in the land of ‘island time,’ the wedding day can sometimes feel rushed. A day-after shoot can be a great way to create memories and take some off-site photos around town!” 

A Focus on Local

One of the many benefits of destination weddings in the opportunity to bring something unique and new to the table by embracing the local culture, customs, and cuisine.

Velez shares one exciting way that many couples are choosing to incorporate regional flavor into their weddings is by bringing in local entertainment and musicians for their reception! "Whether it’s fire breathers dancing during dinner, a steel drum band at cocktail hour or guests taking a break from the dance floor for hand-rolled cigars, having something that speaks to the area will not only create a fun atmosphere but will also send guests home with memories for years to come.”

Reverse Destination Weddings

Destination wedding photographer Mike Busada of Mike B Photography also weighs in on destination wedding trends. “Because of our proximity to the Naval Academy and the town’s historic charm, I have a lot of clients who plan to have a destination wedding in Annapolis, MD. While Naval Academy graduates traditionally would wed at the Academy Chapel and stay nearby, we’ve noticed that they’ve started to shift a little further out of town and make it a weekend affair for family and friends. Now, they are having a full day of privately guided sightseeing for guests in the city before hosting a casual celebration at a private estate, often featuring things like crab feasts, brunches, local music acts, and other activities that are unique to Maryland. Overall, couples seem to be looking to spend more time showing their guests what they love most about the region!” 

Unique Locations

Not all destination weddings take place on a tropical island or at the beach, for that matter. Alex Quintana of Quintana Events shares that his company's clients are looking for unique venues that haven't been seen before. “We continue to see a strong destination market in Wine Country. Clients are booking our services to find the venues that aren’t highly commercialized or on every wedding blog. They want to surprise their guests, so they’re not able to Google the venue beforehand to set expectations."

Overall, one thing is clear. Destination weddings seem like quite a bit of fun. If you're considering heading on the road for your own big day, check out that outlines the benefits of having a destination wedding.

Happy planning!