How to Plan an Absolutely Seamless Destination Wedding

Hint: It all starts with choosing the right resort.
Sarah Fine
by Sarah Fine
Updated Sep 11, 2023

One of the biggest perks of a destination wedding goes beyond the wedding itself: It's a chance to get away with your nearest and dearest by your side—enjoying delicious food, drinks and a gorgeous setting along the way. When it comes to choosing a location, the convenience of having everything in one place makes it easier for guests to plan and for to-be-weds to focus less on logistics and more on the exciting details that make everyone's stay memorable. That's why choosing a resort is one of the best (and easiest) ways to ensure that your friends and family have an amazing time. With luxurious amenities, a variety of dining options, on-site activities and a range of accommodations, there's a Hilton resort perfect for every couple. Here's what else to keep in mind to plan a fun-filled event that goes off without a hitch.

1. Nail down the details.

Once you decide the where of your destination wedding (which ultimately comes down to your wedding vision and what works best for you), you can zero in on the when. Pro tip: Consider seasonality, holidays (local and international), weather and any upcoming elections or political happenings when picking your date. And keep in mind, both the timing and how easy it is to reach your destination may affect how many guests RSVP "yes" for the weekend and which events they'll be able to attend. Once you've got the time and place sorted, you can figure out what kinds of discounts you and your crew might be eligible for. Hilton offers group rates for parties of 10 rooms or more, so you can give your guests an early idea of what to budget for. But generally, the further out you plan—and let your guests know what that plan entails—the better your travel, hotel and attendance rates will be.

2. Communicate early and often.

Speaking of planning early… save-the-dates for destination weddings should go out at least six months in advance, so your invitees have ample time to get their ducks in a row. Make sure to direct your guests to your wedding website, where you can go into greater detail regarding any travel requirements, hotel info, transportation options, timing for all wedding events and other need-to-know details as they're determined. When you book your group block at Hilton, you can also share a link to your custom attendee website, where guests can book and pay for their rooms on their own time. Communication is key, of course.

3. Get help from an insider.

No matter how organized you are, it still helps to have somebody on the ground at your destination, whether that's a local wedding planner or a designated events expert at a resort. Whether you're dreaming of exchanging vows on the beaches of Waikiki or against the picturesque sunsets of Sardinia, there's a Hilton team on-site to help bring your dream wedding to life. They'll be key to helping you figure out the big-picture details—after all, they're the ones who know the property, local vendors and surrounding area best—as well as those small touches your guests will surely appreciate.

4. Share handy items (and event info) in welcome bags.

Welcoming guests with gift bags is another special way to make them feel at home (and make sure they have everything they need). Fill a personalized tote with a mix of practical and playful items, such as an itinerary of your wedding events, snacks, travel-size sunscreen and fun items like monogrammed water bottles or flip-flops to change into at your reception so they can dance the night away. Don't forget to include a list of suggested on-site activities—it's a subtle way to encourage everyone to attend the same yoga class or play in a group tennis tournament (hint, hint).

5. Host a welcome event.

Getting the group together the first night gives everyone a chance to either catch up or get to know one another—setting the stage socially for the rest of the trip. As your already-married friends can attest to, the reception passes by in a flash and it's often hard to find time to chat with every guest. A welcome party lets everyone jump right into the celebration (not to mention, vacation). Hilton resorts offer a variety of dining options where you can kick off the fun with an alfresco evening under the stars or invite guests to mix and mingle over cocktails and light bites.

6. Take advantage of the local area.

When deciding where to get married, the resort and its stunning scenery are certainly essential components, but the surrounding area also comes into play. With that in mind, give your guests a heads-up and include a weekend itinerary or a list of suggested activities on your wedding website. Plan an optional day trip, or give guests the opportunity to check out the local shops and sights nearby. While you don't necessarily have to foot the bill for these activities, giving guests the option to attend saves them some research and offers a little bit of built-in fun.

7. Build in some downtime.

Yes, guests are traveling to the resort for your wedding, but they'll also likely want some freedom to explore on their own. Try to resist the temptation to pack your wedding weekend full of activities and events. Whether their idea of paradise is relaxing by the pool, taking a snooze before dinner, indulging in room service, hitting the links or taking a class with a cousin they haven't seen in forever, your guests will appreciate having free time (and so will you!). And while taking advantage of that downtime, you can bet they'll be thinking how glad they are they made the trip.

Ready to start planning? From its variety of locations and accommodations to its world-class dining options and luxury amenities, Hilton resorts offer something for everyone to ensure a truly unforgettable wedding celebration. Learn more about hosting your destination wedding at a Hilton hotel.

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