how do i pick a location for my wedding?
I've read a lot of posts about deciding on a destination wedding THEN picking the location, however, I think it should be the other way around. I think that you should love a location so much that it warrants the inconvenience of having a wedding far away. So if you're unsure whether you should have a destination wedding or not, take a step back. You may not have a perfect place in mind, but with a little brainstorming, you'll find it certainly exists somewhere within your mind.
I talked about on the landing page how you need to ask yourself what environment encompasses who you are individually and as a couple. I had trouble envisioning a place for my wedding, not because I had nowhere to go, but because I wanted something I hadn't seen before. I was trying to place myself in other people's weddings I had been to, which were all incredible, but they weren't me. They were incredible because it represented them. If you feel discouraged by not feeling excited about what you know to be the typical wedding, focus on the fundamental components of the event and not the wedding itself. I found great comfort in planning around my 'happy place;' a small group of loved ones, laughing, toasting, sharing stories, red wine cheers-ing, marveling at our food and surroundings. I thought about the locations of the meaningful memories I have in this context; our first adult dinner parties in studio apartments in New York, picking crabs on the North Carolina soundside with my family, study abroad dinners in piazzas where we filled up on free bread so we could pay for carafes of house wine, Michigan summer nights with barbecue and makeshift fireworks displays, the list goes on.
I realized my happy places were mostly rooted in great company, but also had a sensory component of locations with inherent, quintessential charm. Places that provide a baseline aesthetic experience that a centerpiece will neither make nor break; places where the ambiance fills you with emotions you're not soliciting. To me, the greatest of all these places in my heart was Italy, a place I fell in love with when I was young and hoped that once I fell in love I could return to.
So think about the intangible moments when you hope time stands still, when you feel like the best version of yourself, and build from there. What stands out to you? The company, the surroundings, the food? Do you remember how you felt, what you were wearing? (I actually can often equate how much fun I had with what I was wearing, so that's a serious question). If you can ground your celebration in the things that are most meaningful to you, anything else is extra.
Once you've figured out what types of places would excite and be meaningful to you and your future spouse, if it happens to be far away, don't freak out. The first requirement is a sincere and unanimous desire between the two of you to share that particular part of the world with others. It's ok to be nervous, it's ok to not be totally sure how it will logistically work out, but if you have the baseline enthusiasm for the location and experience, you can power through the difficult parts much more easily.