Madonna Inn Destination Wedding // Hilary & James

These two threw an amazing Madonna Inn destination wedding! While Hilary and James used to live in California, they now live in Boston and planned their wedding remotely. Most of their guests flew in for the occasion as well.

I asked them for some advice for other couples planning their weddings at the Madonna Inn.

1) Is there any advice you’d give couples who are planning destination weddings? 

  • For me,  planning a destination wedding meant I had to be at peace with the fact that I was giving up control over some details and specifics simply because I couldn’t be there or bring certain things with me on the plane. Once I accepted this it helped me relax and enjoy the process! It turned out to be a blessing because I mostly focused on the big picture and having fun.  
  • For us, we gave ourselves time and didn’t try to cram in as many events as possible over the weekend. I was grateful for this because you feel busy as it is with traveling and coordinating. We kept it casual on Friday and we invited all guests for pizza and beer, instead of a formal rehearsal dinner. This turned out to be super fun and a nice way for all the out of towners to feel included and meet each other before the big day. 
  • Go with your gut and intuition when planning! Don’t let the norms or worrying about what others will think guide your day! It sounds corny, but you’ll be so happy you went with your heart on the day of 🙂 
  • Destination wedding planning can be stressful but once you pull it off it’s so worth it! 

2) Is there anything unique about your wedding that you loved? 

  • Having a destination wedding made it feel special because the hotel was full of friends and family and everyone was enjoying a vacation as well as going to our wedding 
  • Having our best friend officiate felt super personal for us and made me feel more comfortable because I honestly don’t love having all eyes on us.
  • Having a champagne girl for cocktail hour while we took photos entertained the guests and gave them a photo op at the same time. It was a great conversation and party starter! 

3) Why did you choose to have a Madonna Inn Destination Wedding?

  • We love the beautiful grounds and always felt it would be cool to have a large group staying there because everyone could see each other’s unique hotel rooms. We also felt like San Luis Obispo had something to do for everybody coming from out of town. My cousins with youngsters went ATV riding and my grandma enjoyed a wine tasting course! 

4) Were there any challenges to planning from far away and what did you do to solve the problem?

  • Not knowing local vendors or being able to meet them in person was a challenge- it helped to use recommended vendor lists from people I already felt I knew and trusted (thanks Tina!) 
  • I think everybody has this problem but especially with destination weddings- prioritizing the budget… and agreeing on it! Haha. I felt photography was something I wanted to invest in, so to compromise we took away from the flower and decoration budget. James wanted open bar, so we went with a less expensive dinner option. 
  • We definitely left a couple things we wanted to bring at home or at friends homes and didn’t realize it until the night before or the day of. In those moments I just remembered the reason we’re all here and none of it has to do with material items left behind 🙂 

Hair and Makeup: The Queens Bees // Florals: Bloom n Grow // DJ – DJ Darla Bea // Dress: Rosa Clara from Nordstrom

You can see another Madonna Inn session here.

Madonna Inn Destination Wedding
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