Credit: Bryan Gardner

"Many couples choose a spot with significance -- they have family there, or it was where they took their first trip together," says planner Lisa Light, of Destination Bride in Chatham, New York. "Others just want to marry somewhere exotic." To find a locale you'll love, read on.

Consider the Setting

Do you love warm weather or cooler temps? The beach or the mountains? "Think about the experience you want guests to have," says event designer Michelle Rago, of Michelle Rago Destinations in New York City. "And decide whether you prefer a big resort where everyone can be on site, or if you'd rather leave guests free to explore on their own."

Factor in Distance

Figure out how far guests will have to travel and how much it will cost them. Will all your VIPs be able to swing it? "If Grandma won't get on a plane, then revisit your Bora Bora wedding fantasy," says event designer Sasha Souza, of Sasha Souza Events in Napa.

Keep Timing in Mind

High season brings higher prices. For hot spots like the Caribbean, that's January through April, and Europe is hoppin' in the summer. Also work around hurricane and rainy seasons, local festivals, religious celebrations, and large conferences, suggests planner Wayne Gurnick, of Moments by Wayne Gurnick in Tarzana, California. Check the websites for both the visitor's bureau and the area's convention center for info.

Weigh Whether You Need to Wed Ahead

Each country -- and even state and city -- has its own set of rules for what makes a ceremony legit. It gets exponentially more complex when you cross borders. Research local laws at embassy or tourism-board websites. A planner can help you navigate these legalities, but it may be easier to have a civil service at home before departing.


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