10 Tips for Planning Your Dream Destination Wedding

May 15, 2017

Suite Showcase: Pacific View Suite at Casa

Inside ONE Spa: Moroccan Hammam Ritual


Destination weddings have a certain allure.

You board a plane, escape to a faraway place, and say your vows with the waves rolling in and the sweeping blues of the Pacific as your backdrop.

That is, if your destination wedding takes you to Santa Monica.

Luckily for you, wedding planning is now simpler than ever at Shutters on the Beach and Casa del Mar thanks to the arrival of our new Director of Catering & Special Event Services, Kimberly Garcia. Kim has an extensive background in special event planning with more than 20 years in the luxury hotel industry, and today, Santa Monica is her stage for creating one-of-a-kind ceremonies and receptions by the sea.

To discover the best way to plan destination wedding, we asked Kim for her tried-and-true tips and advice for designing an occasion to remember. Here is what she had to say:

1. Accessibility. Make sure the destination you select is easily accessible to your guests. Remote islands are romantic but many not be logistically friendly.

2. Maximize Your Time. When selecting your location, review your planning schedule and coordinate necessary appointments in a way that maximizes travel time. If you plan your tasting a little further in advance (3 – 4 months out), you can incorporate a meeting with the florist and linen and décor decisions into the same trip.

3. Don’t Over-Schedule. Allow yourself some down time. Yes, there is a lot to accomplish, but over-scheduling will create more stress. Pace yourself.

4. Use Local Resources. Ask your venue’s team for recommendations. Selecting local vendors is cost effective, and using vendors that your venue’s team is familiar with ensures credibility and high levels of service.

5. Activities. Destination wedding guests are likely to extend their stays and capitalize on travel time by turning the trip into a mini-vacation. When selecting a location, keep in mind what the destination has to offer in terms of activities and points of interest.

6. Proper Welcome. Your guests have traveled to be a part of your celebration. Presenting them with a welcome bag is a nice gesture of thanks and wonderful way to inform guests of what is to come. Offer information about the welcome reception, rehearsal dinner, wedding, and farewell brunch. Include local maps (available at the tourism bureau) so guests can understand the lay of the land and available activities. And consider a few snacks and beverages to replenish after a day of traveling.

7. Do Not Get Lost in the Details. A wedding can become all-consuming. Do not forget to take a step back and enjoy the experience.

8. Personalize Your Event. Make the day about you. You won’t be able to please everyone, so keep the festivities geared toward your likes, style, and personality.

9. Do Not Forget to Eat. Between makeup, hair, and dressing, remembering to eat can get lost in the shuffle. Pre-order items ahead of time to stay on track.

10. Enjoy Every Moment. Delight in the entire day, and remember that in the end – no matter what may or may not have gone exactly as planned – the day is about you and your partner.

Kimberly Garcia Headshot

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