Waimaia Falls, Oahu


What it would take to turn a Destination Wedding day dream into Reality?

It’s pretty simple really, what you’ll need most is money and time. Eloping can be a less expensive alternative than a traditional Wedding. You and your fiance and a weekend in Las Vegas or New Orleans can save a lot of money and time. When it’s just the two of you, things are very easy.

A full blown destination Wedding and a home town reception is really like having two traditional Weddings – with double the time needed for planning, and quite possibly double the money. I don’t say that to be a deterrent, it’s just important to understand what you are getting into. If you can afford it, and it’s what you really want, it can be a once in a lifetime celebration – that you get to relive back in your hometown.

This blog will try to give you 3 quick ideas that should help make planning a destination Wedding a reality. And probably more than any other newsletter, my all-overriding principle of Upgrade by Simplifying will be very important. Focus and plan for what is important to you, and skip the rest. Some things will be more important at your destination than your hometown event, and vice-versa. I can’t tell you it’s better to spend more or less money, but what I do recommend is spend the money on what’s important at each event.

Hint: my advice will be to do one, then do the other.
Don’t work on both at the same time.

The Destination Wedding

This outstanding Photo was taken from Anchor & Veil Photography's Pinterest page (at Caesar's Palace)

A YEAR IN ADVANCE. a year in advance. A YEAR IN ADVANCE.

Do you get my message. YOUR GUESTS need a year in advance. In fact, this is something that should be planned out including your inner circle. If you’re going for it no matter what, then keep the idea of eloping in your back pocket. If you’re planning on having 10-20 of your closest friends and family, you’ve got to give them time to get the vacation time, babysitting arrangements, money,travel tickets, a PASSPORT – if necessary, etc. Having the inner circle there for a week will be a big deal for all involved – make sure it’s realistic for them to join you.
which also gives you time to save up and Help out with your guests’ travel expenses.
This is a reality of life situation. Not everyone can afford a destination Wedding. Money might be the thing that keeps you from going. It also might be the thing that keeps some of your guests going. Simply said, 15 people all trying to just barely get by without spending too much is too much stress. If you can’t “do it big”, stay home and do what you can.
If a Destination Wedding is important, set a realistic budget and spend it on what’s important – YOUR GUESTS. Pick up the Hotel Bill, or the airfare, ( hint – if 8 or more people are flying together from the same location (less than 1000 miles), charting a private jet is approximately the same price as flying first class – and its Waaaayy more memorable than flying first class). You need a firm travel commitment before you make the arrangements, but karma is real. If you take away some of their stress, guess what, they’ll be happy at your Wedding.
and to help get actual good deals (not just the cheapest thing you can find on the internet) USE AN EXPERIENCED DESTINATION WEDDING SPECIALIST, that can help out with the travel arrangements, hotel spaces, local wedding vendors such as photographers, officiant, restaurants, tours, etc. The internet is great at bringing prices down. It does not make you an expert. For the same price as you can find one at a time on the internet, a professional can put together package deals that work together, without the stress.

Here is an example of just such a company. They have a blog that I follow to keep up with Wedding trends worldwide:


My motto is Upgrade by Simplifying, NOT Do It Yourself. Spend your money and time on the things are important, let the experts help you by doing the work. A Destination Wedding is a BIG DEAL. Pay them, relax, and enjoy your Wedding.

In general:
more important: Wedding Planner / travel agent, hotels,photographer,
less important: DJ, formal invitations, bridesmaids dresses/tuxedos,


Don’t split your energy, time, focus, AND MONEY on planning two events at the same time. Make the Destination Wedding everything you want it to be. Come Home. THEN, start saving / planning for the Hometown Reception. You will not get a second chance to get your inner circle all together again in Hawaii. Don’t limit your Destination choices because you’re worrying about saving for the Reception. There’s always time to have a Reception in your hometown – you and most of your guests do live there after all. It should be at least a couple of months after you get back. I especially like the idea of having it on your 1 year Anniversary. You can get married on a Thursday when you’re on vacation together, and then have a Reception on the Saturday a year later when you get back.

There’s no need to hurry up and cut corners. Take you time, do it right, and get everything you want.

The Hometown Reception

Hometown Wedding Reception, with video presentation

Its basically like any other Reception, but here are 3 ideas to keep in mind

Start it out right: skip the Grand Entrance and go with the Receiving Line.
At a traditional Wedding Reception, the Ceremony was earlier in the day, and your guests wait for you while you take pictures. If you were married a month or more prior, DON’T MAKE YOUR GUESTS WAIT FOR YOU. You should be the first ones there, at the door, thanking everyone for coming. It doesn’t have to be a formal Receiving Line, but the Bride & Groom should be at the front door for the first half hour welcoming everybody. This also lets you get a minute or so to spend with everybody.

Definitely, have a slide show. Absolutely, absolutely use a professional photographer at your Destination Wedding. Get the most out of your investment by putting together a slide show video presentation at your home town reception.

Or run a continuous loop of your professional pictures along with the best shots you and your guests had from the Ceremony and some earlier family shots while you are eating at the Hometown Reception. Not everyone could make it to your Destination Wedding, but everyone will want to see the pictures.

Keep most of the dancing / musical entertainment ideas. The activities in the traditional Wedding Receptions are not just traditional, they’re functional. They serve as a way to transition from dinner to dancing and also keep everybody involved and entertained. It’s OK to have a father and daughter dance as part of the night. For almost everything except the “Grand Entrance” just act like this is your “regular” Wedding Reception – because it is.

In general:
more important: formal invitations, DJ, caterers- food/beverages, video presentation
less important: photographer, wedding planner

And always remember: this is your big day – it’s supposed to be fun.


Upgrade By Simplifying
Relax, have the Time of your lives.


The Real DJ Steve is both a Las Vegas Wedding DJ and the owner of United DJs Las Vegas.


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“Have Fun At Your Own Wedding!”







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