Yes, plenty of couples get married in their hometown, at their childhood home, or in the town where they met. We all know that home is where the heart is, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only option for your wedding! Destination weddings are on the rise, and for good reason—they’re a wedding and vacation in one.
That said, there are certain aspects of having a destination wedding that shouldn’t be overlooked like updating your passport and considering your guest list, but there are plenty of perks to make it worthwhile.
At the end of the day, should you say yes to a destination wedding? Read on toe weigh your options.
1. Easy, Breezy
While it may seem odd by way of planning, destination weddings can actually be much simpler to plan. Most people opt for tropical locations when choosing a destination wedding, and locations like these often have organized packages for this purpose, and sometimes even allow you to customize your own within reason.
If you wish to make it your own, most locations also offer professional planning services, and you can customize your entire wedding and let the professional handle the details (marriage license, cake, photographer, ambiance, etc).
Your wedding professional (or wedding planner) can also be tasked with organizing activities for you and your guests like excursions, sports, shopping, snorkeling, sightseeing, etc. If your resort has an on-site spa, a gift certificate for your guests might be a good way to say thank you for attending.
Destination wedding etiquette requires the bride and groom to cover hotel accommodations, food and other common guest expenses. That would be something to keep in mind when choosing your location and considering what the resort offers within the wedding package. (However, know that you can always skirt tradition and pay as much of the costs as possible.)
Be creative! Take advantage of your location and included services. There’s virtually no limit when it comes to a destination wedding, and the ambiance often exists without having to be created, saving you tons of money. Keeping things fairly casual allows everyone to be comfortable and feel like it’s a vacation experience for them as well.
2. Cool & Calm
There is something about being away from home, whether vacation or otherwise, that helps you relax. This phenomenon applies to your guests as well who will be more focused on your wedding and allow everyone more quality time together.
With the exception of travel and planning for additional wedding party members, if applicable, destination weddings can often be much more affordable.
Then there is the obvious issue of a destination wedding placing a financial burden on your guests. There are travel expenses, overnight accommodations, wedding gift expense, child and/or pet care if applicable, documentation, you name it. It is important to consider these things when writing the guest list, and to consider if an invite would be problematic for that particular guest.
Obviously, be careful to consider your guest list. Invite those who are important to you both to be there, but who also can afford to make the sacrifice to attend. It would be a tough situation to create tension in a relationship if someone cannot attend and truly wants to.
3. No More Drama
A destination wedding can lower the stress of a maxed-out guest list, as only a limited number of people can attend and typically eliminates the issue of many of your guests begging to bring a plus one.
You can restrict your guest list to exclude that cousin you can’t stand, or in-laws that seem to pick a fight with everyone. Just keep it simple to your closest friends and family so it stays romantic and less of a production. There will always be ways for people to feel included—that’s what pictures are for!
This can be a potential downside for those who have large families or networks and wish to include everyone—let’s face it, it just would not be possible. While a small wedding is quaint and intimate, it is fun to open up your celebration to everyone in your life like, friends, family and coworkers.
There is now no need to choose between your partner’s hometown or yours. Neither side of the family needs to feel favored or excluded; everyone is on a level playing field. If your family would be traveling anyway, this allows everyone to enjoy an exotic location instead of just another city or town.
4. Be the Boss
You get to call the shots here. Want to embrace some of the local traditions of your location? Want to do something non-traditional? Want to be barefoot on the beach? You can! Also, word for the wise, interfering family may be less likely to do so when events are held out of their comfort zone and realm of expertise.
Having a destination wedding requires that the couple research all the required legal documents, both for their home state, and for the location they will be holding their nuptials.
Often, a resort wedding planner can handle much of this. But for those not choosing to get married at a resort, the responsibility falls on you.
Along with updated passports and the obvious marriage certificate, each location has its own requirements. Many an eager couple have skipped these details, and later learned that their marriage was, in fact, not legal. At the worst, it means an extra trip to City Hall.
Both partners are often more likely to get involved in the planning of a destination wedding over a traditional one. This allows them to get excited about details like legal matters, excursions, activities for the guests, and even a surprise or two for you.
5. Been There, Done That
Not your first marriage? Destination weddings are perfect for second (or third, or….) marriages because they are simple, intimate and more economical. Bonus if you are blending a family in the process as well since many family-friendly, all-inclusive resorts or cruises offer wedding packages as well.
If including family in this process, it may be more difficult to get quality time together. Employ your wedding planner to schedule downtime or exclusive activities for you and your spouse so that your wedding still feels like it’s about you.
Take measures to plan your time at the resort well. If accommodating children, make sure there are included activities and events for them so that they feel acknowledged, but you get your time together as well. Family activities are great as well, as it allows for a relaxed environment to enjoy your new blended family.
Destination weddings are also appealing, as you can get married and stay for the honeymoon. This cuts down dramatically on the cost of hosting a wedding, then paying for your dream honeymoon.
All the excitement, romance, adventure and memories will be captured in one magical location, and hold a special place in your hearts for years to come.
For those who wish to keep their honeymoon location a surprise or a secret, that would definitely not apply in this scenario. Everyone will know where you will be going, so you may want to arrive before everyone else, or stay longer to ensure that you have your alone time as well.
You can keep it fun and inclusive by hosting donations or fundraisers for your honeymoon to help cover the costs and/or include some perks you may not have been able to afford before.
The honeymoon starts the minute you say “I do!”, so plan your time at your location accordingly. Plan margins between your time together, and your time with your guests. Plan activities for you both so that if any of your guests decide to extend their stay for their own benefit, you are not obligated to entertain them.
Final Thoughts: So, Should You Say Yes to a Destination Wedding?
There are so many ways to go about a destination wedding that best suits you and your new spouse. You can elope and it just be the two of you. You can include a predetermined number of close friends and family. You can even throw a major event with full-on mini parties spread out over a few days at the magical location of your choosing. The options are practically limitless.
While destination weddings are often more economical, like any major event, there are ways for hidden expenses to creep up on you.
What It Comes Down To
Do your research. Consider locations where currency conversion is affordable and in your favor. Weigh all the packages of your top 3-5 locations to see which one best suits your needs, and your budget. Do they include details like decorations? Guest activities? Are any traditional details unnecessary in your situation?
While destination weddings are much more simple and stress-free overall, they have their own list of preparations and requirements. Enlisting your designated wedding planner will help reduce much of that burden on yourself, but it is good to stay informed and ensure that you are getting what you want.
At the end of the day, a destination wedding is like a traditional wedding, in that it is about you and your spouse. No one else. Keep your dreams and goals in mind while making your choices, then sit back, relax, and enjoy your new life together. Did you have a destination wedding? How did it go? Leave a comment below.
Interested in having a destination wedding on board a luxurious yacht? Contact Electra Cruises for more details.