Deciding on a destination wedding
Congratulations on your engagement! If you’re considering a destination wedding, you’re in good company. Increasingly, many couples forge traditional (and expensive) weddings for something intimate at a stunning location. Not only do you get to spread out your wedding over four days as opposed to four hours, but you’re also assured quality time with the people who matter most. Destination weddings are also typically less expensive than traditional weddings, as guests lists tend to be smaller.
Picking between a familiar or new destination
We frequently hear from couples looking for advice on how to pick their wedding or honeymoon destination. Like all travel, there are perks to getting married or honeymooning somewhere that you have already been. For one, a certain destination may be the keeper of special memories that you share as a couple and there’s an added ease in knowing that you love a destination ahead of time. Still, if you’re an adventurous, open-minded couple, consider trying a destination that you’ve never been to. And keep in mind, there is really no “wrong” spot when you find the right person.
Whom to invite
Destination weddings can range from 2 to 200 people, though many couples opt forsomething in the middle—keeping the event intimate and attended by close friendsand family. Still, there is no “right” number of guests, other thanwhat your budget can bear and keeping in mind those that you couldn’t standto be without for the big day. Some couples choose to cover part of their guests’expenses for a destination wedding. If this is something you are considering,make sure to account for this added cost when deciding whom to invite. If your weddingis adults-only, friends with children that might attend otherwise could declineyour invitation. If you truly can’t live without them at your wedding, besure to include provisions about childcare at your resort.
Cost of a destination wedding
Destination weddings can be built on a shoestring budget or carefully crafted intoa luxurious and elaborate affair. Still, many couples do save money by planninga destination wedding because their guest list is smaller. Additionally, many resortsoffer incentives to couples who book a certain number of guest rooms, ranging fromfree cocktail parties and dinners to anniversary stay credits and room upgrades,saving you money. A number of resorts even offer free wedding ceremonies when youbook a room or night stay minimum.
All-inclusive vs. European-style resort
An important consideration when deciding on a destination wedding is whether youand your guests will stay at an all-inclusive or European (a la carte) resort. Certainresorts (particularly those in major European cities) do not include the cost offood into the stay, which can make them more expensive overall. Still, this optionoffers great flexibility if you and your guests plan to travel around and want toexperience different restaurant options in your wedding area without being tieddown. For couples who don’t want to worry about keeping a wallet with youat all times, all-inclusives are a great option. Aside from offering great value,they’re also guest-friendly and help everyone to relax and not worry so muchabout paying for their next meal.
Booking hotel rooms and flights
Hotels and flights should be booked as early as possible. A popular method for bookinghotels and airfares for a destination wedding is to do a group block. Arranged bythe Certified Destination Wedding Specialist, a group block reserves a set numberof rooms and flights for your guests. The group block, when done early enough, ensuresoptimal rates. Still, some couples prefer to let their guests make their own travelarrangements, which is also fine.
Catering, wedding and reception
One of the first questions many couples have after booking their wedding is: whatabout the food? Though it can be difficult picking meal selections from afar, youshould generally aim to pick crowd-pleasers over exotic fair and ask the resortfor recommendations on house specialties. It’s also polite to keep commonallergy-producing foods off the menu whenever possible.
To minimize the stress and uncertainty of travel, it’s best not to cut yourarrival too close to the wedding festivities if possible. Whether accounting forjet lag or the possibility of bags getting lost and flights getting delayed, it’sgood to leave wiggle room in your schedule so you can relax and enjoy all the festivities.An early arrival will also ensure that you have time to check in with the localwedding coordinator and make sure everything is ready to go for the big day.
Let us help plan your perfect romantic celebration.