Looking for unique destination wedding ideas? Do you want your big day to be different and not a clone of everyone else’s?
Every single detail of your destination wedding will let your guests know that this is going to be unlike anything they’ve ever experienced. Below are some creative destination wedding ideas for everything from the invitations to the thank you cards – and everything in between! Use these ideas as they are, or to get your juices flowing and inspire you to come up with some of your own!
Sending out Save-the-dates is critical for destination weddings because unlike a traditional marriage, your guests will need plenty of notice. This is also your very first opportunity to wow your guests, get them excited, and set the tone.
Send out luggage tags instead of traditional and boring save the date cards. This is such a fun idea that is perfect for a destination wedding. Pair this with a boarding pass or passport invitation to keep the theme going!
For something your guests have surely never seen before, send out a message in a bottle. To DIY this idea, you just need a medium-sized corked glass or plastic bottle. Next, add some sand and seashells, sand dollars, and/or starfish. Finally, create your save-the-dates to reflect a scroll with an image such as an old-world map of your destination or a compass. Write the date and your wedding website URL. Put some customized labels on the bottle and voila! You will send out something so unique that is sure to blow your guests away.
Remember the paper planes you made by folding paper sheets when you were a kid? That’s the inspiration for these unique save the dates.
More: Unique and fun destination wedding save the date ideas.
For an international wedding, send your guests a passport invitation. Include a picture of the happy couple, map of the location, and info such as travel, date/location of the ceremony, reception, rehearsal dinner, etc…
Another creative invite that is sure to get your guests in a traveling mood is a boarding pass invitation. Send out multi boarding passes so you can use the first card as the formal invite, and the other cards to communicate the wedding week itinerary and travel info. Hold all of these cards together in a boarding pass holder similar to the ones you get from the airlines. Click here for more awesome destination wedding invitation ideas or beach theme wedding invitations.
Weave your destination’s culture into your ceremony and reception. You don’t have to go overboard – just small details will make a big impact. If you’re working with a local wedding planner, they are the best resource to help you find authentic ways to integrate the culture of your destination. Here are some ideas from past destination weddings we’ve featured on the blog:
Are you planning a Dominican or Cuban destination wedding? Ideas like a cigar roller with custom matches are sure to be a hit with your guests!
Entertain your guests at the reception or rehearsal dinner with some of the local flair. For example, Mayan fire dancers in Mexico, Salsa dancers/instructors in Puerto Rico, a steel drum band for a Caribbean destination wedding or hula dancers in Hawaii. Get more ideas for destination wedding themes.
You’re not having a traditional wedding so why have a traditional registry with blenders and toasters you don’t even need?
Create a honeymoon registry so your guests can give you parts of your trip such as dinner, spa treatments, excursions, upgrades to the honeymoon suite, and much more.
Add a personal touch to your destination or beach wedding with a custom aisle runner that has your monogram/logo on it. Not only will you feel like a true princess walking down the aisle, but this will also look great in pictures!
Dress up your wedding altar with some hanging capiz shells for a stunning, simple, and unique look.
Instead of bouquets, have your bridesmaids walk down the aisle with parasols that match your color palette.
If you want a unity candle, but are worried that the flame will go out with the wind, consider a sand ceremony instead. If you’re using multiple colors in your wedding palette, just get sand in the same colors and have your fiance pour in one color while you pour in the other. The result will be gorgeous!
The little people in the bridal party somehow tend to steal the show (sorry brides!). You know your rings will be safe when they’re being delivered and guarded by a little superhero!
Here’s another fun idea. Instead of the traditional ring pillow, have the ring bearer carry a large seashell or in a basket.
This is the first thing your guests see when they walk into your reception and although it’s a simple detail, it can make a big impression. Here is a fun destination wedding idea for escort cards: Set up shot glasses or mini liquor bottles with labels that indicate their table, and a sign that says “take a shot and find your table.” You can use a liquor that is made in that country (i.e. Tequila in Mexico, Brugal in the Dominican Republic, etc..) Can you think of a better way to start the party?
Take pictures of yourself holding up a card with each table number. Frame the pics and put them on each table. Here’s another cool wedding idea for table numbers, especially if you’re avid travelers. Place postcards from each location you’ve visited or different places your guests are traveling from.
If you want to make sure your guests hit the dance floor, provide some comfort. Place a basket full of flips flops at the reception with a sign that says “Dancing Shoes”. These are guaranteed to be a hit with the ladies and one of the most useful destination wedding ideas.
Give your guests maracas and ask them to shake them to request a kiss instead of tapping their glasses.
This is a really unique and fun idea! Most venues will have noise ordinances where they can’t play loud music after a certain time. But when you’re having a destination wedding and don’t have to go to work the next day, the party can go on all night! Enter the Silent Disco. You get a DJ and everyone wears headphones where they can listen to the music they like. Read more about this idea from a real bride who says this was the most memorable part of her wedding!
A picture is worth a thousand words – especially when paradise is the backdrop!
For more ideas, check out our post with 11 Alternative Destination Wedding guest book ideas.
The reason you can get so creative with destination wedding ideas is partly owed to their more intimate nature compared to a hometown affair. Thank you cards are a great example of this.
Here’s an out of the box idea that you can pull off only if you have a more intimate destination wedding (less than 75 guests).
Send everyone a Thank You mini-magazine or travel photo book that recaps and tells a story of the weekend through pictures.
This is incredibly easy to do and surprisingly affordable!
Just put your most magazine-like photo on the cover (a trash the dress picture would be perfect!) and fill the inside pages with fun photos of guests having fun during the trip.
You can put sentimental or humorous captions on each page thanking everyone for the week.
This is a very unique and creative thank you card that your guests have surely never received before! And it’s a fantastic way to thank them for going the extra mile (or thousand miles) to attend your destination wedding.
Another great destination wedding idea is a postcard with a picture of the happy couple in a location that you would typically find on a postcard of your destination (for example, on the cobblestone streets of Puerto Rico, by the waterfalls of Jamaica, a volcano in Costa Rica).
I will be updating this site with more destination wedding ideas so keep coming back for more fun, unique and creative details to personalize your big day!
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