Destination Weddings: Your Top 13 Pressing Questions Answered
Did you know that 16% of wedding celebrations are destination weddings and one third of that is held on a beach?
Packing selected guests off to another wedding location might appear to all intents and purposes as an extravagance. It’s more expensive per attendee when travel expenses, food and accommodations are factored in. But a careful look at the numbers will tell you a surprising fact. You actually spend less in total wedding costs by having the location of your wedding ceremony outside your hometown, compared with having a local bash with with 150-250 guests present.
Learn more about destination weddings and if it’s right for you here:
What are destination weddings?
A destination wedding is anywhere outside your hometown where you and your guests enjoy a relatively private celebration that spans three to seven days. They take place in either national or international destinations with sunny Florida and Hawaii topping the list for national honeymoon and wedding locations. Europe, South America, the Caribbean are popular international destinations for weddings as well as renewal of vows.
Why should you consider a destination wedding?
Celebrating your wedding at a completely different locale with all the wedding entourage comprising mostly of family and dear friends makes the event unforgettable and truly meaningful. Not only do you spend your honeymoon at an exotic place, you also get to spend a relaxing and fun-filled time with people closest to you, connect with guests at a personal level, enjoy the local customs and learn about the area’s traditions.
TIP: Many all-inclusive resorts offer free weddings when you book a honeymoon suite.
Is a national/international wedding destination right for us and our guests?
If you’re thinking of having your honeymoon at an exotic destination in Costa Rica or on a Mediterranean cruise, when you’d rather have a small intimate gathering rather than a big wedding party, when you just want to get away and start a new life together at a place new to you both, and when you want to give back to the people you love, then destination weddings create the chance to have all these things happen for you.
Some helpful questions to help clear your mind:
Is getting married 5000 miles away at a location we love something we both want as a couple?
Will we be able to come up with the cost of a wedding in an upscale place?
Would we mind if dear Grandma Alice can’t attend our wedding?
Are there inexpensive wedding destination packages available?
Are majority of our families and friends excited about the idea as we are?
Do we have all the necessary documents to travel?
How would we feel if we don’t do this?
TIP: Run the idea with family and friends before anything else. Some important or older guests and relatives might not be able to attend.
How far in advance should I plan my destination wedding?
Destination weddings require a large amount of time, excellent organizational skills, and loads of research. You’d want to secure the best travel rates, block rooms at a discount on choice hotels for your guests, and create an itinerary of activities during your stay on top of planning all your wedding details and documents.
A 9-15 months is the ideal lead time for planning your wedding.
TIP: If details are not your forte, employ the help of a certified destination wedding specialist. They help you choose the right hotel/resort for your budget and needs. They also set you up with an on-site wedding coordinator who’s familiar with the local area and vendors.
How far in advance should I send Save the Date cards?
Just as you need time to plan for your wedding day celebration, your guests need ample amount of time to be able to come with you to your ideal wedding destination, be it in another state or in another continent. If you already have an exact wedding date set, send save the date cards nine months ahead of your wedding day.
TIP: The further the location, the more lead time needed for travel preparations.
Who pays for my guest’s travel expenses?
Etiquette wise, guest’s pay for their airfare. Having a destination wedding does not translate to footing all of your guests expenses, although paying for a portion of it is ideal.
You can block rooms in a hotel or two to get discounted rates and pass on the savings to your guests, arrange for airfare discounts for groups of ten (or whichever figure a specific airline favors,) or have vouchers and discount coupons at local shops available for guests.
TIP: It’s generally expected for the couple to provide food and beverages for their wedding guests.
What are the legal requirements when getting married outside of the country?
Legal requirements for destination weddings differ from each location. Inquire about the availability of officiants, rules and regulations, and the necessary documents you need to have with you such as passports, birth certificates, and other official documents that need compliance. Biracial couples and same sex couples may find useful answers to legal questions associated with marriage here.
How do I make the event more personal?
Nothing says “Intimate” and “Exclusive” than a destination wedding in a splendid location. You can make it more personal by shipping in hand-made wedding favors with personalized messages or welcome gifts for guests in a bag with a carefully hand-picked selection of local beverages, sweets, and products and a sincere note thanking them for celebrating a very momentous occasion with you.
TIP: Add your wedding Itinerary, a local map to help guests locate salons or dry cleaners, local store coupons, or spa vouchers in your welcome kit for guests.
Can I customize my wedding details to save on costs on a destination wedding?
Definitely! Many couples on destination weddings do bring décor extras to add that personalized, hand-made touch. To make it easy on yourself, you can go online and order wedding accessories from wedding invitations to ring pillows, wedding favors or DIY wedding kits. Many vendors accept customization from flower baskets, to welcome bags for wedding guests and you can even have the items shipped to your destination afterwards.
Tip: For welcome bags for wedding guests, think small, classy, and personalized so guests aren’t weighed down with more stuff to carry home.
What are the most important factors to consider in choosing a Destination Wedding Location?
Setting a budget beforehand allows you to explore destinations based on your budget so you don’t go overboard in wedding expenses.
Weather and Season
Do your research if opting for an international wedding destination such as in Asia and the Pacific. Know the local seasons, you really don’t want to have your wedding party drenched in series of storm showers.
Make sure there’s something for everyone so guests can enjoy themselves. Spa services, water parks, nature trails, and tours should definitely be in the list. For families with children, a reliable day care service is a big bonus.
How much wedding attire and décor items do couples normally travel with?
Ship in décor items, welcome gift bags for guests, and choose wedding attire in packable materials. A compromise in wedding attire is necessary for a destination wedding so you can say goodbye to elaborate and bulky gowns. Hand carry wedding attire to make sure it doesn’t get lost along the way instead of checking it in a separate luggage.
How do I choose vendors for my destination wedding?
Vendors have to know the local rules and regulations per location. Choose vendors such as photographers who are familiar with the location’s natural lighting and a local wedding DJ’s with experience in working with foreign couples. Ask questions, compare vendors, and if possible chat live with them to see if they can deliver what you need.
Some of my guests may not be able to attend my destination wedding getaway, is there anything I can do so they won’t feel left out?
Yes! You can definitely throw a cocktail party post destination wedding celebration for guests who weren’t able to come. Prepare a short program where you can share wedding highlights and activities.
With Millennials driving the demand in the wedding market sector, destination weddings have seen an unprecedented four-fold growth in the past year alone. National and international destinations for weddings are only too happy to accommodate their needs, which in turn drives prices fro destination weddings competitively, and making destination weddings an important option to your wedding planning.
CouplesOnCakes.com takes the pain away from wedding planning by offering you hand-picked wedding accessories that are customizable, from cake toppers to wedding guest books. What’s more, we offer international shipping so you don’t need to lug around your welcome gift bags, wedding favors, and other wedding accessories while you jet off to have the wedding of your dreams thousands of miles away from home.