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What to Know When Planning a Destination Wedding | Lauren + Steven | Pismo Beach, CA

Updated: Jul 25, 2020

Destination weddings are oh-so trendy right now, and for good reason. Rasmus and I got married in Quintana Roo, México back in June and loved everything about it. I will spill all of our logistical details at the end of this series. I want you to meet some brides who also excelled in getting their rowdy bunches across borders and into pews!

Meet Lauren and Steven, a couple who chose a beautiful venue close to San Luis Obispo in California. I met Lauren over the summer in Georgetown, TX where we got to exchange our wedding stories. Lauren works in event planning and did an amazing job with her coastline wedding! See what she has to say about planning a destination wedding.

Lauren and Steven

Wedding Date: August 18th, 2018

Location: Pismo Beach, California

Budget: $20,000

In Lauren’s Words, Their Love Story

Steven and I met in June 2011. He was working at 24 Hour Fitness as a Sales Associate and toured me around the gym with my step sister, Renee. After the tour, I of course joined this specific gym ;) ha! After my workout that night, Steven chased after me into the parking lot asked if it would be ok to call me. After dating off and on for a year - I KNOW, poor guy (I was nervous for another relationship in my life because I knew we'd be something serious) - we ended up making things "official" on 4.14.12. We've been inseparable since through moving to Arizona in 2014 to finish college to our move to San Francisco in 2016 for our careers.... On Oct 28, 2018, Steven proposed with the sneaky help of my family in Austin, TX during a family visit. We then got married on 8.18.18.


What to Know When

Planning a Destination Wedding

Q and A with Mrs. Lauren Kaplan

Location, Location, Location

We were looking everywhere! Everything is so extremely expensive in the Bay Area, where we were living at the time. A venue alone would cost us $10,000-$30,000. For us that was expensive because we did not want to have a very large wedding. Since I personally do event planning as a profession, I wanted something different, very intimate. We ended up looking in Los Angeles since we still had family there, however, we didn't love anything - nothing clicked and felt like "us."

On our way home from LA, driving back to SF, we stopped in Pismo Beach. We always would stop in Pismo as a "half way" point on our drive. Also we love it there - a beautiful quite beach town, but close enough to San Luis Obispo which has a great downtown. When we stopped, our heads spinning thinking about our venue, TWO humpback whales breached in front of us. It was like our angels above were showing us that our venue was THERE :). I then did quick research and planned two site visits at two different venues. We ended up falling in love with Spy Glass Inn Restaurant which overlooks the water right on a cliff. It was perfect and we just knew - "This is it"!


We didn't want to spend a ton especially since we wanted a simple, timeless, intimate wedding - therefore, we were aiming to come in right under our budget. Having our wedding in Pismo, for us, was worth it and much less expensive when comparing venues off the coast of California.


40! I know, it was very small and intimate which we were happy about. We truly just wanted people there who have had huge impacts on our lives. We couldn't imagine saying "I DO" without those who joined us. We still feel so grateful!

Pros and Cons

I have a type A personality - especially being in the world of events. So it was hard to not meet with vendors whenever I could for something so special as our wedding. They were all great and communicated from a distance, jumped on calls, sent videos/photos.

Planning a destination wedding usually requires a little more research (if not using a wedding planner) to find the perfect vendors that are right for you. However, it is all worth it if a destination wedding is what a bride and groom truly want. You get to make it your own and have people there who generally want to be there. The pros of having a wedding locally or near family is the knowledge of the area, venues, vendors etc. It makes that a lot easier!

Lauren’s Advice?

Get a wedding coordinator! I thought I could do it all, but it was honestly really hard the day of. Usually if you work with a wedding planner, they will calculate the wedding destination trip into the overall cost. Furthermore, most venues offer wedding coordinators. Our venue unfortunately didn't offer a wedding coordinator and I thought I could roll up my event planning sleeves and play wedding planner, day-of coordinator and bride - it was A LOT!

No matter what family/friend's opinions are - it's so important that the decision of having a destination or local wedding is the choice of the bride and groom. There were many times that Steven and I almost eloped in Hawaii, but having a destination wedding where it was still possible to have family and friends there - it was worth everything! We did it the way WE wanted.


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