Destination Wedding Planning Tips With Isla & Smith

Dreaming of destination wedding? We know there are many couples envisioning a romantic overseas ceremony, but where to start with the wedding planning? We ask Lisa from Isla & Smith Bespoke Destination Wedding Planning for her top tips in planning the perfect destination wedding.

Dreamy destination weddings are a romantic wish for many brides-to-be however, actually planning a destination wedding can quickly become overwhelming and stressful. We were over the moon to catch up with the uber-talented Lisa from our European destination arm – Isla & Smith Bespoke Destination Wedding Planning – to find out her top tips for couples planning the destination wedding of their dreams.

Whether it be ‘I do’ overlooking the stunning Greek islands, making a statement of grand proportions at the Grand Canyon or breathtaking photos on a glacier – Lisa has the perfect advice for planning the ultimate destination wedding.


1.         Narrow down your top 3 dream destination wedding locations

First and foremost, identify your top three most desired locations for your destination wedding. With so many picturesque and adventurous locations in the world to tie the knot, narrowing it down to just three will be half the battle but will allow you to really focus on which destination will be the best fit for you as a couple.




2.         Do your research on each location and consider logistics

Once you have made the (very tough) decision of your top three destinations, Lisa recommends doing thorough research to identify the pros and cons of getting married at each location. This is where couples need to really evaluate the logistical side of their dream destinations. It’s one thing to fall in love with the idea of a wedding in the South of France, but another to legally be married there. Did you know that you are only legally permitted to wed in France if you have been a resident for 40 days prior to the Ceremony, are a French resident or own a property in France?

Lisa suggests looking into areas such as marriage laws, visas, seasonable availability, and the ease (or difficulty) of traveling to each destination for both you as a couple and your guests.




3.          A destination wedding does not need to be booked years in advance

Lisa busted one of the most common myths about planning a destination wedding – you don’t need years to plan it. She ideally meets with her clients between 12 and 6 months prior to the wedding however, has planned one as quickly as 8 weeks! It is common for vendors in some countries to not take bookings much earlier than a year out, so don’t stress – there’s still plenty of time!




4.         Consider hiring a planner for your destination wedding

There are many aspects of a destination wedding that can be trickier to plan than a wedding closer to home, and having a planner will save you countless hours of research and indecision. A professional planner will be familiar with the local area, customs, legal requirements and wedding practices, not to mention the relationships they have with local vendors along with the knack for creative thinking when local offerings are limited and items need to be sourced elsewhere.

Couples who decide to go with a planner should note that communication with suppliers is not always easy and response times may be a bit slower than what we would expect in Australia. Many European destinations operate season-to-season meaning vendors and venues can be closed during the wintertime and are often hard to contact during peak season. You can rest assured that your planner will be working hard behind the scenes staying in constant contact with your suppliers.



5.         Think outside the box when it comes to styling

Many countries won’t have the variety of vendors that we do here in Australia and couples may need to be creative when it comes to sourcing styling items to bring their vision to life. Having a planner is a huge asset, especially for less common wedding destinations. Isla & Smith regularly source specific styling items from a variety of locations, sometimes having them shipped in from another island or country – a concept that many couples would find overwhelming and difficult to do alone. Lisa has even flown antique cutlery from the UK to Bali and will go to any length to achieve the couple’s vision, using her prowess to overcome logistical obstacles along the way.

Lisa loves to incorporate bespoke touches, such as sourcing hand dyed fabrics and linens to create a unique look. She also suggests making the most of the local vendors available to create an aesthetic that celebrates the local culture and encompasses the character of the destination.




We finally asked Lisa the toughest question of all – what is her number one destination wedding location? Although there are many amazing contenders, Italy is her ultimate destination as the local atmosphere paired with the incredible scenery ensures an unforgettable celebration for all.