Destination Wedding: Pros and Cons
Whether you’re dreaming of a tropical beach party or an escape to the countryside, destination weddings are renowned for being a fun and memorable experience. Destination weddings, meaning weddings that are held in a vacation location away from the couple's hometown, are popular among couples for many reasons.
More and more couples are considering this avenue for their grand affair—and even more, are wondering if a destination wedding is a good idea for their big day. As with much of life, couples want their wedding to be a reflection of themselves - their dream travel destinations, perhaps share a bit of their history and provide their guests with an experiential, one-of-a-kind memory.
Though they are trendy, they aren’t all fun, games, and passport stamps. So, is a destination wedding right for you? Take a look at the pros and cons.
Pro: Smaller Guest List Means Less Stressful Family Situations.
With a smaller invitation list, you can avoid feeling forced to invite the cousin you cannot stand or the in-law that everyone fights with.
You can just invite your very closest friends and family to the intimate ceremony and celebration or keep it romantic and do not invite anyone. You can always send them pictures.
As a bride or groom, with a smaller destination wedding, you can share in the guest experience, and spend more time with each person in attendance.
If you have only a handful of friends and family or you have 50—the likelihood is that if you were to have a traditional wedding near home, your reception could be about 200 people.
Spending a luxurious wedding weekend in a dramatic location can often cost less than a seated dinner at a nice location in your hometown.
If money is an issue, look at domestic locations or countries with a favorable exchange rate, and consider keeping the guest list small.
Con: You Will Likely Pay For More.
No matter how you slice or dice it, a wedding is going to cost a pretty penny. Though there are plenty of ways to make your celebration more cost-effective, it’s a bit of a myth to think a destination wedding is more affordable.
You’ll end up paying more for various activities than you would back home. Not only are you responsible for your own flight and accommodations, but many couples will be tempted to also set up tours, welcome dinners or parties, and other travel-oriented expenses for your guests. Though this definitely makes the whole long weekend that much more dazzling — it can also come with a bill at the end.
Pro: You have more freedom.
There is an incredible amount of freedom that comes with a destination wedding. You can just have to make an appearance and let the venue do the rest of the nitty-gritty stuff for you locally.
If you do not want a lot of responsibility with the wedding planning, an all-inclusive location is a perfect pick. These options are most common in tropical resort locations but can be found in other destinations with a little bit of work.
Con: Remote locations and small destinations can present unexpected difficulties.
If you do want a hand in the planning process, you may run into various roadblocks, cultural differences, and other unexpected, unpredictable hurdles. This especially happens when you can’t find a seasoned, experienced wedding planner at your destination wedding locale.
That favorite flower you have always wanted in your bouquet might have an agricultural ban in another part of the world. Go local and embrace the culture of your particular wedding destination.
If your destination wedding is in a foreign country or even another state, you might run into complications when trying to get a marriage license.
Consider hiring a coordinator who specializes in destination weddings to help you over these speed bumps. Whether you get a wedding coordinator or not, you should know how to get a marriage license in that location.
Pro: You can show your favorite place to your favorite people.
You thought you knew what you wanted at your wedding before you met your partner, now that you have, everything has changed. He’s from Europe, so now you’re mesmerized by the idea of saying ‘I do’ in his home city, and flying your parents over for the adventure.
Or perhaps, you got engaged in the Caribbean and now that tiny island holds a special place in your relationship. Whatever the reason for choosing a destination wedding, one of the most amazing benefits is the opportunity to show your favorite place in the world with your favorite people.
Con: People You Care About Might Not Make It
Some guests may not be able to attend due to the expense, the difficulty of getting time off of work, or age may make flights harder to manage. Older guests have difficulty traveling.
Altitude sickness can strike anyone at any age but is particularly trying for elderly guests. International destinations and exotic locales might mean your guests need to think about vaccinations.
Before you put down the wedding deposit, talk to those people you feel would be truly essential to have at the wedding. If cost is a blocker for some, then consider paying for some of your guests' airfare, and look into group discounts through travel agents.