DESTINATION BLISS: Tips for Planning Your Wedding Away

Karen Bussen, Celebrity Wedding Planner & Author
Do you envision exchanging vows with your toes in the sand, a blue sky painting the perfect backdrop behind you and your groom? Or maybe you see yourself saying “I do” atop a mountain, or in an ancient castle? If so, a destination celebration might be just the ticket to your perfect wedding. Here are some of my top tips for transporting your Big Day to far-far away.

First stop: Your priorities. What are the qualities you want in a destination? Sand and sun? Snow-covered mountains and a big ski lodge? A cosmopolitan city across the ocean? Write down key words to describe your dream destination. Is it rustic or elegant? Wintry or warm? On foreign shores or just a few hours from home?

Make sure there are no reservations about your guest list. Destination weddings are often smaller than hometown celebrations, so start by thinking about the people you’ll really want to join you. Are they able to travel? To take time off work for a few days? Consider them when choosing a destination, and if your goal is to make it easier, aim for a spot that offers direct flights or easy connections for your key guests.

Research: Your passport to success. Once you have your priorities narrowed down, do an Internet search of magazine sites that feature great destinations. The top bridal magazines sites often have helpful destination issues or articles with all the “ins and outs,” as does and other Web resources. Read reviews of places you’re considering as well. I like, which features real guest photos and reviews as well as hotel-posted listings and price comparisons.

Value: That’s the ticket! Ask your travel agent or hotel representative about group discounts on flights and accommodations. You may qualify for savings just for booking a certain number of tickets and/or rooms.

To make things easier and more economical for you and your guests, you may want to consider an all-inclusive resort where accommodations, food, and sometimes drinks are included in the cost of the stay. Note to brides: an all-inclusive resort can greatly reduce your costs for the reception, as food and drinks may already be covered.

If you’d like some all-inclusive inspiration, check out the brand new Karen Bussen/SIMPLE STUNNING wedding packages I’ve just launched for Grand Palladium Resorts in Montego Bay, Jamaica.  There are five packages, all centered around mood and theme, each with a customizable color palette and lots of details you can personalize.


Destination: Gorgeous. Speaking of personalizing—make sure you put your own fashionable stamp on your destination fete. Let the surroundings you choose inspire your gown, your bridesmaid dresses, even your accessories. I suggest you wait until you’ve chosen your location before you select your gown and accessories, as the season and setting can help inspire your look. Here are some of my favorite looks for warm weather destinations from the David’s Bridal collection.


Get them packing in style. Instead of just asking the girls to be in your bridal party, why not clear them for takeoff with this chic damask travel bag for their makeup and accessories.

If you and your fiancé decide a destination celebration is where it’s at for your wedding, start with my tips above, and take a look at my Simple Stunning Wedding Organizer, available right here at It can help you take the first steps on the journey toward your perfect big day—no matter where!

Photography Credit: All photographs in this blog are courtesy of Roberto Lara.

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