8 PROs + CONs of a Destination Wedding
Do you really want to Get Maui'd?
Four Seasons Resort Maui | Chris J. Evans Photography | Country Bouquets Maui
Dreaming of jetting off to some exotic locale to say "I do"? Whether you're considering the Maldives or the Swiss Alps, there are several pros and cons to consider before committing to a destination wedding.
First, the PROs:
- Your destination wedding can double as a sweet vacation.
Who wouldn't want an excuse to escape to a Hawaiian beach, the Italian wine country, or even a winter wonderland? Instead of a one-day event, a destination wedding typically spans 3–5 days. This gives you ample opportunity to not only get married, but to enjoy some serious face time with your wedding guests (if you have any!). Plus you can opt to host other pre- or post-wedding events like a mimosa brunch, swimming with dolphins, spa days, or sightseeing excursions.
- You can be more selective with your guest list.
It's generally expected that a destination wedding will involve a smaller, more exclusive group of guests. So instead of trying to decide which second and third cousins to include, feel free to only invite your nearest and dearest—it's perfectly acceptable. Or, you can choose a destination elopement and not worry about a guest list at all! Just be sure to send out a post-honeymoon wedding announcement to anyone that would have made the proverbial "big wedding" guest list.
- Many resorts offer all-inclusive packages for destination weddings and elopements.
Venues that accommodate lots of destination events are happy to simplify your life with two little words: All Inclusive. And by "all-inclusive" we mean everything will be included, from an on-site wedding coordinator who'll handle all of the nitty-gritty details to every bell and whistle that you'd normally associate with the word "wedding" (think: flowers, cake, officiant, marriage license—even everyone's accommodations). This means lower stress and potentially lower costs!
- Pro Tip: Use a travel agency that specializes in destination weddings. LovinAway and similar agencies are paid a commission from the airlines and hotels you end up booking—so there's no additional expense for you to use them. Yes, you read that right!
- Your photos will be stunning.
One of the main reasons for hosting a destination wedding is to end up in a gorgeous locale, right? So whether you choose a tropical island, an Italian villa, or a snowy mountain getaway, you're pretty much guaranteed a stunning backdrop for your wedding photos.
Four Seasons Resort Maui | Chris J. Evans Photography | Rio Event Design | Country Bouquets Maui
Aaand the CONs:
- Going international can get complicated.
If you're planning an international affair, your wedding-planning challenges just got taken up a notch. Tack on a few thousand miles, language barriers, and regulations in a foreign country, and things can get pretty tricky. If you're not getting married at an all-inclusive resort, you'll have to research the marriage license requirements at your chosen destination to be sure your knot gets legally tied. Oh, and by the way, do you both have passports?
- Pro Tip: Hire a local wedding planner to help you breeze through these complex issues. This is when you really need an expert!
- Your favorite people might not be able to attend.
In general, the wedding couple foots the bill for food and activities related to the celebration (including mini-events, ranging from a welcome party to a rehearsal dinner), while guests are expected to cover their own airfare, accommodations, and other travel costs. Depending on your location of choice, its affordability, and your wedding date, some of your guests may not be able to swing it. And older relatives may not be able to travel. Before you commit to a destination wedding, ask yourselves if you're willing to miss out on the attendance of some VIP guests.
- Pro Tip: Send out save-the-dates 9–12 months in advance to give guests plenty of time to plan and save.
- You'll have to use a lot of imagination.
When you're planning a wedding long-distance, you can't be as in-the-know as you would be if your venue was nearby. And, more often than not, you won't even set foot in your destination location prior to the big day! It can be nerve-wracking to make major wedding decisions sight unseen, which is another reason to hire a local wedding coordinator that you trust. Skype or FaceTime consultations with vendors are also a great way to "meet" them before you book them!
- Pro Tip: Keep in mind that many US-based vendors are eager to service destination weddings! But…you may need to pay for additional travel fees.
- Your honeymoon might become a family affair.
If you're also honeymooning at your wedding destination, do you really want your dad or great aunt sitting across from you in the hot tub? 'Nuff said.
- Pro Tip: Make your honeymoon plans clear to your guests in advance to avoid any awkwardness. They'll understand that you want some alone time with your new spouse!
To wed near or far? THAT is the question.
Filed under Destination, Beach Wedding Ceremony, All-Inclusive, Expert Advice, Honeymoons / Travel
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