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The 2024/2025 Destination Wedding Trends

If you're ready for inspiration, just remember that no destination wedding trend can be executed without the help of local wedding professionals. These are the folks who will bring these concepts to life. With that, explore our list of the top destination wedding trends of 2024.

1. Alternative Welcome Parties & Farewell Events

Imagine your wedding party huddled under the stars with an astronomer leading a stargazing session as you enjoy s'mores and hot chocolate or spiked apple cider. (Or those who believe in astrology experiencing an alternative reading.) Or envision your lightly hungover guests getting much-needed sun and saltwater while snorkeling in the sea for a farewell sail. Destination experiences of a lifetime are ones you can host the week of your wedding. Alternative experiences and unconventional parties at destination weddings have seen their day (including wedding guest dress codes), but these feel-good, show-up-and-be-present events are increasingly becoming more popular at destination wedding events.

2. Turn Down Amenities for Guests

While destination wedding guests have experienced hangover kits and gifting suites, the latest iteration on take-home favors in service to loved ones is the evening turn-down amenity and room drops. Most couples secure room blocks for their weddings, meaning wedding party members, family and guests typically stay at the property where they're based or another nearby resort. As destination weddings are often multi-day affairs, couples and their events teams have been leaning into turn-down evening amenities in the form of room drops. Imagine coming home each evening after a day of revelry and excitement to a gift on your bed. Popular options include local coffee beans, artisan honey, candies, chocolates and other goodies. It adds an element of hospitality and care that helps your loved ones, well, feel even more loved after their travels.

3. Conscious Sustainability

Likely one of the most enduring trends we will see for the next few years is sustainability. With destination weddings, most locations are already strides ahead of other consumption-driven destinations. Couples and event professionals are consciously seeking out more sustainable goods and services as they plan weddings. "We are seeing the use of sustainable products that are indigenous to the region," says destination wedding planner JoAnn Gregoli, CEO of Elegant Occasions. "We try to work with locally sourced florals and greenery."

4. Spotlighting Local Artisans & Indigenous Talent

Hand-in-hand with sustainability is enlisting the work of local artisans to help with various aspects of the wedding, whether it be decor pieces for the reception or products for gifting. "I love to use local artisans to create custom pottery or art that helps the locals thrive," says Gregoli. "We also see local talent being used that are part of the customs and cultures of the region, helping those people to have income is important."

Of course, this applies to vendors too, something we continue to reiterate to couples as they plan the destination wedding. Couples must hire an expert in the region where they're planning the wedding, especially planners with access to standout local caterers, producers and more.

5. Destination Wedding Mood Boards

OK, we'll confess: this was also a destination wedding trend last year, but it's still piping hot. Black-tie optional or smart garden-party-casual? As dress codes are up to the interpretation of each guest, the aesthetics-driven generation is propelling another trend forward: wedding dress codes presented in the form of mood boards. With an amalgamation of events filling destination wedding itineraries, couples are increasingly providing creative direction for each festivity outlined throughout the wedding weekend. This allows guests to get a feel for each event while grasping how to prepare attire for the evening affair or brunch… without the faux pas of over-or-under-dressing. So encourage guests to dress in a "fresh lemon" palette for your welcome party in Sorrento–but don't forget to provide the rest. The atmosphere is up to you.

6. Wedding Website Packing Lists

As a guest, nothing is more jarring than packing the wrong converter or forgetting a light sweater for cooler evenings (even with days reaching 100 degrees-plus). Depending on the wedding location, a modern form of etiquette among thoughtful couples is found by communicating the anticipated environment of the chosen destination to guests. This means providing a general packing list on your wedding website. That way, your guests feel nurtured and your planners aren't scrambling to recharge their battery packs every 10 minutes because your loved ones were ill-prepared. This portion of your website could also be supplemented by the wedding website FAQ page–an enduring, post-pandemic trend.

7. Statement-Making Decor to Nod to the Destination

Couples have shifted away from neutral tones and monochromatic color palettes to something more eye-catching at both domestic and international destinations. The area of focus, however, with these courageously colorful shifts is to spotlight the local artisans and colorways that may be known to a certain region. "We are seeing bold colors being infused into color palettes or a pop of color to enhance the overall look of the wedding," says Gregoli. "From colored local linens to local artisan goblets, making a statement is important."

8. Zero-Proof Menu Options

You may have heard of the sober-curious movement from health-conscious couples post-pandemic. With so many friends and loved ones abstaining from alcohol and, instead, opting for alcohol-free libations, the mocktail movement has swept global destination weddings. Among destination wedding trends, couples are providing both options: a mouth-puckering espresso martini or Aperol Spritz, and its zero-proof sibling as an alternative.

9. In Place of Gifts at Our Destination Wedding… Let's Serve

As guests are already traveling to the destination of choice, many couples who decide to marry in, say, a pricier destination like Italy or Marrakesh will instead redirect their registries in service of something greater than themselves. This even involves volunteering or being exposed to a local organization in need. "I am also seeing a lot of philanthropic arms to events," affirms Gregoli. "Instead of accepting gifts, couples are requesting donations [to charities] and even planning a day to help at local food banks or orphanage programs." This raises awareness about a dear cause and helps guests too.

10. Destination Wedding 'Closers' and Toasts

After a weekend of partying with old and new friends, destination wedding recaps are especially popular and a memorable way to top off the festivities. As a grand finale to the wedding weekend, couples now host farewell events, sometimes complete with slideshows from the wedding week (commentary, included), or a sartorial awards ceremony. On a more serious and sentimental note, couples will often deliver closing remarks and thank-you toasts to their loved ones at these "closer" events, in the form of a brunch or a farewell pool party. These parting remarks are a way to keep the sense of community alive… long after guests leave the destination.

11. Destination Wedding Minimoons, First

While a large percentage of couples do choose to fly out to the honeymoon immediately after the wedding, some couples are now choosing to keep their first few days of marriage closer to the festivities or home. Instead of embarking on two back-to-back events (the destination wedding and the honeymoon), many are leaning into the minimoon (mini honeymoon) first, intending to enjoy a megamoon (mega honeymoon) later. If a wedding is held in, say, the Riviera Nayarit, Mexico, then some couples may opt to head to Punta Mita for a few days to unwind. Since the majority of destination weddings are held in the US, couples may also opt for a passport-free getaway for a few days. Maybe later, they'll choose a latermoon on a remote island in the Indian Ocean, sans cell phone signal. In the meantime, let the congratulatory texts and social media posting flow while you finally relax and say hello to marriage.

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