The Ultimate Guide to Beach Destination Weddings
For many coastal-loving couples, a tropical wedding on the beach is the true fairy tale - Think a warm island breeze, sunny blue skies, and your close loved ones by your side. If you are considering saying "I do" in a faraway paradise, you're in the right place. We've outlined all you need to know about planning a beach wedding abroad.
What is a Beach Destination Wedding?
Dating back to the 60s, beach weddings are known (and loved) for their sheer simplicity and natural beauty, allowing couples to say "I do" amidst the sun and the sand. Over the years, they have gone from a trend to a staple for those looking to get married in an unforgettable way, somewhere far from home.
While they can be held anywhere in the world, beach weddings most often involve sunny ceremonies in tropical destinations outside of the United States, such as the Caribbean or Mexico. For this reason, the term "beach wedding" and "destination wedding" often go hand-in-hand. Destination weddings, sometimes referred to as "weddingmoons," allow couples to celebrate their nuptials in an incredible location abroad for just a fraction of the price. Each year, there are about 450,000 destination weddings held around the globe, each costing less than one-fourth the price of traditional celebrations at home.
Why Get Married on the Beach?
A recent study found that couples who opted for a destination wedding are more satisfied with their nuptials than couples who chose to tie the knot close to home.
There are countless benefits of having a beach destination wedding, as opposed to a traditional affair in your hometown. Beach destination weddings offer spectacular views and photos, extraordinary savings, and incredible ease-of-mind planning (especially when you work with an expert Specialist).
Here are the top five beach wedding benefits:
The low cost alone is quite an attractive draw for couples considering an international destination wedding. The average cost of a traditional wedding in the U.S. is over $30,000. The average cost of a destination wedding, on the other hand, is typically under $10,000.
Perhaps the biggest appeal of an island wedding is the year-round warm weather - think palm trees, sunshine, and a tropical ocean breeze at any time of year. This may be a particularly tempting perk for those who live in colder climates, or experience long winters. You can leave those winter blues behind when you say "I do" in the warm sand, sipping on margaritas during cocktail hour! Just keep in mind your chosen locale's rainy season (if it has one); although prices may be at their lowest, inclement weather should still be taken into consideration, especially when getting married outside.
Another benefit of tropical beach weddings is that they double as honeymoons for newlyweds. Couples can continue to celebrate with a dream vacation right after exchanging vows. The romantic island vibes make for the perfect place to begin marital bliss, and many couples choose to stay at the same property where they just got hitched. If you choose to work with an all-inclusive beach resort, your honeymoon stay may be included in the wedding package price, and come with extra-romantic amenities. Your resort may also offer the option to stay at a nearby sister property, where you can experience a different vibe away from all your guests.
Beautiful beach weddings offer a memorable experience for couples and their guests. For the second year in a row, Destination Weddings' couples said that their top reason for having a tropical wedding was to offer an extra unique experience for family and friends.1 Nowadays, the guest experience is at the forefront of destination wedding couples' minds; think exciting group excursions, unique favors and unforgettable reception entertainment. Trust us, your guests will be talking about your wedding as one of the best they've been to for years to come!
A beach destination wedding typically means peace of mind and much less stress before, during and after the actual wedding date. With the help of a Destination Wedding Specialist (you can work with ours - free of charge!), you can do something that not many couples can: Enjoy your engagement and wedding! The simplified process of jet-setting to paradise and saying your vows on a beautiful beach takes away the pressure of planning a traditional wedding (from venue to vendors) at home.
If your dream is to say "I do" on a beautiful beach abroad, but you don't wish to travel too far, you can hop on a short flight and head just south of the border to Mexico. Mexico is recognized worldwide for its picturesque, white-sand beaches and tropical climate. Maroma, for example, has been named among the "Top 10 Beaches in the World" multiple times by the Travel Channel. Meanwhile, Riviera Maya - the most popular region for destination wedding couples in 2022 - is world-renowned for its brightly-lit reef waters. Mexico provides endless possibilities for every taste and budget. From the hopping "puerto" nightlife, to sun and scuba fun, it's easy to see why so many couples fall in love with the vibrant beaches of Mexico.
Island weddings in "the home of all-right" have a laid-back vibe infused with rum, music, and harmony. Jamaica is known as the third largest Caribbean island with nearly 700 miles of white and gold-sand coastlines. You can choose to have a sunset ceremony on Negril's Seven Mile Beach, say "I do" in a hidden cove on Half Moon Beach, or have an off-the-beaten path beach wedding in Runaway Bay. Jamaica's most dramatic coastline, Westmoreland, is a breathtaking beach for a destination wedding. Whether you want to party in Bob Marley's hometown or snorkel along a secluded stretch of sand, Jamaica can bring some big adventure and real romance to your special day.
Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, the Dominican Republic boasts beautiful beach resort towns and plenty of fun for outdoor enthusiasts. Postcard worthy destinations on the Caribbean side, like Juan Dolio and La Romana, offer clear water for snorkeling and diving. Punta Cana, or "the Coconut Coast" of the Dominican, is home to Bavaro Beach, a popular and picturesque destination where you'll find many of top-ranked, all-inclusive destination wedding resorts. Along the Atlantic coast, you will also find fishing towns amidst plush tropical rainforest, in stunning locations like the Samaná Peninsula. There's a little something for everyone when it comes to beach weddings in the Dominican Republic. At every stretch, you will find soft beaches, turquoise waters, and year-round sunshine, making the Dominican Republic a top choice for destination weddings today.
The Caribbean is synonymous with tropical wedding destinations. This paradise - comprised of more than 7,000 individual islands — stretches from the coast of Florida to Venezuela, and offers incredible views with white-sand beaches, bright turquoise waters, secluded coves, and even black volcanic beaches along the way. While the Dominican and Jamaica are among the most striking beach wedding destinations in the Caribbean, other tropical gems include St. Lucia, Turks and Caicos, and Aruba. Whether you're interested in the world-renowned surfing and diving hubs, or the lush rainforest and waterfront villages, the Caribbean offers miles of islands and scenery to select for your special day.
"Come on, pretty mama." As the wise Beach Boys once sang, you can get there fast and then take it slow as you explore the coral-based archipelago that is the Bahamas. Its 700-plus islands share warm, welcoming waters and friendly locals to boot. Whether you daydream of an intimate Exuma wedding on pink-sand beaches, or a family-friendly venue in the Grand Bahamas, there's a place for every taste. Part of the adventure of planning a Bahamas wedding is finding the perfect island for your big day (and stay).
Other incredible beach destinations to consider for your dream day include:
Types of Beach Wedding Venues and Packages
As you begin to research your options and plan your special day, you'll find there are beach wedding venues and packages for all styles, groups, and budgets. While beach weddings are the epitome of carefree nuptials, they certainly don't limit you to a simple ceremony on the beach. Even those looking for a formal, black-tie affair can have a wedding on or near the beach. Today, beach wedding packages can be completely customized based on a couples' wants and needs.
Different Wedding Venue Options
Where do you envision saying "I do"? With a destination wedding, you can get married on a sky-terrace overlooking the beach, in a breezy, beachfront gazebo, or underneath a beautiful canopy right beside the ocean. Simply share your vision with your Travel Specialist and resort coordinator, and they'll work their magic to make it happen. Many resorts offer intimate, private ceremony locations to keep the occasion extra-special for the couple tying the knot.
Different Types of Beach Wedding Resorts
A beach wedding can offer up plenty of fun for dozens of your friends and family members. It can also serve as the perfect, romantic getaway for just you and your soon-to-be-spouse. If you desire an intimate affair on a tucked away, untouched beach, you may consider an adults-only beach wedding resort. If you have children, or will have children attending the wedding, rest assured that many beach wedding resorts are family-friendly. In fact, 50% of destination weddings have children in attendance. Whatever your style and preferences, you can certainly find beach wedding packages to fit your exact vision.
Like many couples choosing a destination wedding, you may be looking for an all-inclusive event. All-inclusive destination wedding packages can vary—and be customized—depending on your needs. If your budget is tight, you can opt for a small wedding package that includes the venue, ceremony officiant, and a champagne toast for two. If you're looking for the works, you can find an elaborate package that offers floral arrangements, a dinner reception, DJ, cake, and tropical decor. Through Destination Weddings, all, all-inclusive beach wedding packages include the services of a Certified Destination Wedding Specialist who will work with you to finalize the big-day details long before your arrival.
All-inclusive destination wedding packages are generally the most affordable route when planning a beach wedding. Destination wedding packages at all-inclusive beach resorts can be free for couples, or start as low as $500. Most packages will include simple ceremony décor (you don't need much when you have a tropical beach backdrop), a wedding cake, basic florals and romantic amenities for the couple throughout their stay. No matter which tropical island or area you choose, your venue is sure to have a variety of custom wedding packages to accommodate your group size and budget.
Tropical Wedding Tips
By now, you're probably ready to pack your bags and say "adios" to the idea of a hometown wedding. But before booking your dream beach wedding, consider the following:
While tropical weddings are almost always picture perfect, you should consider potential weather conditions when choosing your wedding destination and date. If you want to have a wedding during hurricane season, you may consider a location south of the belt. Also, consider the climate in terms of your own comfort and that of your guests. If your elderly relatives will be in attendance, consider having your nuptials during sunset or under the shade, so that everyone is comfortable. As with any wedding, it also never hurts to have a backup plan, should the weather not cooperate. This way, you can plan for the sunny ceremony of your dreams, while still avoiding any last-minute stress by having an indoor venue lined up at your wedding resort.
While you don't have to stress about travel arrangements for your guests (that's what a Destination Wedding Specialist is for!), you may consider how your guests will get to the actual ceremony. Will you have any elderly guests who use wheelchairs? If your ceremony is a half-mile down the sandy shore, it may be tricky for your loved ones to reach you. Speak with your Destination Wedding Specialist about all the accommodations needed, as they will help you in choosing the right wedding venue and arranging travel for both you and your guests.
As lovely as a wedding by the water is, it can also bring some surprisingly loud sounds. Those gorgeous crashing waves may interfere with your guests hearing the vows. Speak with your Destination Wedding Specialist so that you can be prepared for natural white noise. A professional sound system as well as a windscreen is included in some beach wedding packages, to help ensure those beach breezes don't affect the sound output.
Your incredible journey of marriage is just getting started. A beach wedding - in a tropical destination of your choice - can be a romantic and memorable way to begin this next chapter of your life. If you and your partner would like to take the next step in planning a destination wedding, click here to get going!