Finally, after taking the time to get to know your significant other better, meeting the parents, and having important discussions about the future, they finally popped the question! Now, you can finally plan your dream wedding! Maybe you’ve always dreamed of a wedding so grand and regal that your guests will still be talking about it at your 15-year anniversary party. Perhaps, you’ve always wanted to get married in a quaint ceremony in Paris, or maybe you’ve always wanted to tie the knot on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Regardless of your destination, weddings that take place in the beautiful places far from our homes, have become increasingly popular. Here are some pros and cons to destination weddings that may help you better decide if this is for you!
Pros: Small and Intimate
One of the hardest parts about planning a wedding is managing the guest list. Attempting to have a 100 -guest limit gets difficult when your third cousin, twice removed starts liking your engagement pictures on social media. While there is no guarantee that your wedding will remain small, the odds of all of the guests you invite being able to attend is slim. Having a small and intimate ceremony also aligns with the CDCs, COVID-19 guidelines. Check out our article on “Pandemic Wedding Trends That Are Here to Stay” to get some more ideas on how to keep your destination guests safe.
Tip: If you plan to have a destination wedding be sure to send out Save the Dates eight to twelve months in advance which will give your most important guests time to save and make arrangements for the trip.
Cons: Can Be Costly
Let’s face it, no matter where it is, planning a wedding can get pricey VERY quickly. Destination weddings are no different. While the smaller guest list saves money, the costs of hiring a wedding planner, meetings vendors overseas, flying to the destination, and even shipping a wedding dress, adds up. The real question is how much are you willing to pay for the experience. I mean you only get married once, right?
Tip: Hire a professional wedding planner that specializes in destination weddings. They should be able to help you coordinate with local vendors, and incorporate all of the things that your destination has to offer. Though destination weddings are, on average, 11% more expensive than domestic ceremonies, a professional can help determine where costs can be cut to give you your budget friendly dream.
Pros: All-Inclusive Packages
Due to the increase in popularity of destination weddings, you likely won’t have a difficult time finding all-inclusive packages at different resorts around the world. This is a great cost saving option that may include a few events to keep your guests entertained throughout their stay. (Are there even any cons at this point?) People have even started hosting their weddings in luxurious rental properties. Renting a large home that fits your entire wedding party and having the ceremony on the property’s private beach is another great option. Guests can stay at a local hotel, transport can be arranged to get your loved ones to the ceremony, and back to their vacation stays at the end of the night. It’s a win-win!
Tip: Make sure you have wedding insurance for those scenarios you likely won’t have to deal with but will greatly regret if you don’t prepare in advance. Also consider, having the wedding party fly out the day after the wedding so you and your significant other can honeymoon in peace! No one loves their in-laws enough to spend their honeymoon with them.
Cons: Lots and Lots of Planning
Can someone say logistics?!? You can check out our general timeline for planning a wedding here. Unfortunately, that timeline basically goes out the window when you decide to take a trip for your big day. While most wedding experts recommend 12-16 months to get everything organized, planning a destination wedding can take anywhere from 20-24 months. If you aren’t willing to wait a little bit longer before you say ‘I Do’, this may not be the best option for you.
Tip: Did I mention that having a professional wedding planner that specializes in destination weddings can be helpful? Only once or twice, I’m sure. Having a pro is a great way to decrease planning time as two people working to execute your dream wedding is always better than one!
Pros: Two for One
Another pro for destination weddings is that they often double as the location for the honeymoon. Planning a domestic wedding and then a honeymoon somewhere else usually means that you are either rushing to catch a flight the night of your wedding or waking up early the morning after. Doubling up the purposes your destination serves means that your romantic getaway starts as soon as your last guest leaves. This also allows for a longer stay in paradise, and who doesn’t want that.
Tip: This is a great way to choose a destination! Is Bora Bora on your bucket list?
Cons: Legal Things
Here is the thing about marriages, you have to follow the marriage laws of the state, city, country, etc. you get married in. Some countries require loads of paperwork AND a 12-month notice before issuing a marriage license. Navigating international law can get tricky. Having to figure out the requirements for a marriage license in Greece, really only adds one more thing you have to figure out on your already too long to-do list. Figuring this stuff out yourself also leaves you at increased risk for having a wedding without a legal marriage. You definitely don’t want to plan a wedding only to come home and find out you’re not really married.
Tip: Get married before you go! Do all of the legal things domestically before you fly out so all of your paperwork is completed in an area where you or someone you know understands the law and its requirements.
Pros: Pinterest Worthy
Be honest, you created a Pinterest board to plan your wedding almost immediately after you said ‘YES!’. You’ve saved photos of color boards, dresses you might like, and cute ways to ask your friends to be bridesmaids. Now, just imagine everyone saving the photos from your wedding to their Pinterest boards. Or even just hanging that breathtaking photo, of you and your partner on the beach in Aruba, in your new home. Having a destination wedding means that every photo you take is Pinterest worthy. Everything looks better at a beautiful location. (I’m pretty sure that’s a scientific fact). You’ll not only have the wedding of your dreams, but it will be the wedding of everyone else’s dreams too. Once you have your photos you will be telling all of those A-list celebrities to eat their heart out!
Cons: Limited Styling
The last con that I will mention is limited styling options at some venues. Not every venue will let you paint the aisle with hundreds of red roses and build a huge flower alter at the end. Often wedding venues have set packages that don’t allow for very many modifications. If your dream wedding includes intricate center pieces, and a jaw-dropping alter, be mindful of what your venue allows.
Tip: An easy solution to this con is to simply find a venue that offers you more flexibility and customization.
Destination weddings are definitely an option worth exploring, and while there are a few cons, the pros far out weigh them. Regardless of where you get married it’s important to remember that your wedding is just one day. It’s the marriage itself and your commitment to loving and caring for a life-long partner that matters most.