Destination vs At Home Weddings - Real Talk

Mar 16, 2021 | Planning

Selecting your wedding location can be a daunting task, now more than ever having to experience a pandemic for the past year. You may decide that you want to cherish this special day in a familiar place with those you love most, or perhaps you want to change your scenery completely and getaway. If you are on the fence about whether or not to have your wedding locally or travel to a beautiful destination, we have Fine Art Curation member and California based Wedding Planner Lea Stafford here today to show us the pros and cons of choosing somewhere more local (California) versus somewhere further afield...


  • Transportation and guest logistics may be a bit easier to manage. You may be very familiar with where the best neighborhoods are to reserve an Airbnb closest to the venue. You may know exactly which hotel provides you with the warmest welcome, best beauty products, and serves the best food. Covering guest transportation here can be a little more involved compared to hosting your guests at a resort. If you go the local route, you may consider providing a shuttle service to and from the venue. Understanding the lay of the land, you may request the perfect route, one that offers the true Californian wine experience you may see on their way to a private estate in Sonoma or perhaps the amazing views you will take in on your way to Sunstone Winery in the Santa Ynez area.
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Sunstone Villa | Photography: Troy Miekle
Sunstone Winery Wedding Venue Pin it
Sunstone Villa | Photography: Jessica Mangia
  • You will most likely create a menu that highlights your favorite local ingredients and/or serve a local label of wine without added costs.
  • Selecting the perfect date with ease will be simple for you. Climate and season will be a no-brainer since you are a local.
  • In most cases, you can expect to work with event partners without any language barrier making the communication process easier.
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Private Residence - Sonoma | Photography: Mashaida Co
  • Your local guests' experience (while I am sure it will be a nice one) may have a certain level of familiarity. This can potentially lead to a less engaged guest.
  • The location can ultimately be one that is extra special. Perhaps it is a place that you visit with your partner once a month for their spa services or it was where you had your first date.
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Cavallo Point | Photography: Erich Valo


  • Transportation and logistics will be a bit more complicated when you add the transfer experience to and from the airport into the planning process. If you are buying out a resort or having your ceremony at the property where guests are staying, this will help a bit.
Destination vs At Home Weddings - Real Talk Pin it
Amangiri wedding venue Pin it
Amangiri (Utah) | Photography: Mon Soleil
  • Tread lightly. Be sure you do not confuse appropriation with incorporating the local culture and tradition into your special day. Perhaps you secure a venue that pays respect as part of their existence, the beautiful Amangiri does this seamlessly in Canyon Point, Utah.(Amangiri is a perfect location for those who may want exclusivity and privacy for their wedding as well.)
  • When selecting to host your wedding weekend away you can pay respect to your history and/or culture by opting for a location that truly means something to you and your family/families.
Villa Astor - Italy wedding venue Pin it
Villa Astor | Photography: Brancoprata
  • It will truly feel special for all, this is a special experience and vacation for not only the two of you but your guests will also feel this way.
  • There may be a little bit of work ahead if you select a location that speaks another language or lives a slower (or faster) paced lifestyle. In most cases, this is totally worth it!
  • Jaw-dropping location and surroundings. This is a major reason couples choose to have their celebration away from home. This can come in many ways for many. One may love the position of Villa Astor (above), perfectly placed along the Amalfi Coast in Italy, here lives one of the most magical views the Earth has for you. While others may choose to move North a bit, heading to Lake Como for the opulence and drama that Villa Balbiano (below) provides.
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Villa Balbiano | Photography: Diane Sotero
  • You may have to do a little bit of research to learn more about the seasons, local climate, and environmental conditions (including safety) that will be best for your celebration.
  • All guests may not be able to make the trip, or perhaps you want this special day to be an intimate one, deciding to have a destination wedding contributes to a scaled-back guest list. You will truly be able to spend some quality time with those you love.
  • Your wedding weekend activities will take place in a unique location everyone can learn about and enjoy together.

These are a few considerations to help guide you in the right direction. Understand, with both options, you will want to provide a warm welcome, a list of places to visit, and most certainly some options on where they should consider staying for your out-of-town guests (be sure to secure a room block or two).

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