Destination Weddings can be a dream come true. They allow you to have your picture perfect wedding in a much more laid back environment. Here are some helpful hints on how to make your destination wedding the wedding of your dreams. Keep in mind your priorities when planning. For some couples, family must be there, for others it’s all about location, and still others it all comes down to price. Read through these helpful hints and see where your priorities lie.
Location is key! As much as it may pain you to hear this, staying domestic may be your best choice. Florida, California, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Cape Cod, and Charleston will give you beautiful locations without traveling overseas. Staying within the United States may help your attendance as well, or at least make your guests a little more willing to travel. It will save them the additional cost and hassle of getting a passport, the hours of customs at the airport and the cost of plane fare will be less. Additionally, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are perfect locations because they offer beautiful scenery and climate, while technically being part of the U.S. No passport is needed to travel to either location, satisfying your desire to leave the U.S. and allowing travel to be easier on your guests.
Number of guests. If you and your partner are going to invite 200+ people to your wedding, a destination wedding is probably not the best choice. Typically destination weddings are much smaller than a non-destination wedding. Around 50% of invited guests usually attend the wedding, averaging around 50 guests in total for destination weddings as opposed to the average 150 guests at a stay at home wedding. If you have a smaller family and a close group of friends, destinations could be perfect for you.
Cost. Even though you probably think that a destination wedding may cost you more, it may in fact be cheaper! Fewer guests equal a smaller venue and less food. Always consider your guests and their expenses. Coming to your wedding may replace their annual vacation and traveling to your chosen destination isn’t just expensive for you, it is also expensive for them. Make sure that their sacrifice and attendance is worth it. Plan things for guests to do, as chances are they will not fly in the day of the wedding and leave the same night. Remember the farther you go from your home, the more it will cost you and your guests, so keep that in mind when choosing your end point. Choosing to go at peak season will also cost you more. For example choosing to go to the Caribbean during December to April which is their peak season, will cost you much more then traveling at any other time.
Planning. Planning a wedding far away from your home can be very stressful. If you want everything to be exactly as you’ve dreamed, it may be more stressful than you think. Many times couples will hire planners near the location of the wedding because they live and work in the area and have relationships with the venue and the venders. Much of the planning for destination weddings is left to planners, making this either wonderful if you aren’t into planning or disappointing, if planning your wedding has been a long held dream.
Lead photograph ~ The Resort at Pelican Hill Newport Beach, California ~ Adriana Photography
*Yes, All of these photos were taken in the U.S. or U.S. territory.
Lanikuhonua ~ O’ahu, Hawaii ~ Josh Elliott Photography
Boone Hall Plantation ~ Charleston, South Carolina ~ Juliet Elizabeth Photography
Newport, Rhode Island ~ Jonathan Young Weddings
Ghostbar ~ Las Vegas, Nevada ~ Chrisman Studios
Aspen, Colorado ~ Jason + Gina
The Wedding Bowl ~ La Jolla, California ~ Laura Smith Photography
Lake Tahoe, California ~ Jonathan Young Weddings
Thorncrown Chapel ~ Eureka Springs, Arkansas ~ Trinity Ridge Photography
Ritz-Carlton Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico ~ Chrisman Studios