Let's just have a destination wedding... It'll be so much easier!

As an industry professional, we often run across comments like: "Maybe we should have stuck with our original thought of planning a destination wedding," "We would have saved so much money by just going off and getting married” and “A destination would have been less stressful." In some cases, destination weddings are completely ideal, but then there are other situations that the thought of a destination wedding should remain just that: a thought! Just because everyone else is doing it doesn't mean it'll be a fit for your nuptials in particular.

With the steady growth and popularity of destination weddings, it's so fitting that we touch on the "decision making" process. Begin by asking yourself, "Are we an ideal fit for a destination wedding?"

Let's start with the obvious. "We" can mean different things to different couples. For some, it's the couple only. For others, it can be the couple and two witnesses, the couple and a few close family members, or the couple and hundreds of family and friends that are willing to take the voyage. It's a simple task when considering smaller groups. If you fall in that category, you're definitely a shoe in the door to your dream destination wedding. However, if you couldn't imagine getting married without your guest list of 200, things may be a little different. You will need to ask yourself what you would do if important guest aren't able to make the trip. For health reasons, financial reasons, and pure logistics, often times very important guests simply may not be able to commit. If that’s okay, and you are willing to take the necessary step to make sure all of your guests are properly coordinated, you shouldn’t have a problem.

This is a huge plus for couples that are non-traditional and are willing to step out of the box. For these couples, the idea of the world being at their finger tips would make for a perfect start to the rest of their lives. However, to some, this very idea and the thought of breaking tradition or having the world to choose from may be a bit overwhelming. Couples who have an idea of where they want to wed, couples who want to incorporate cultural backgrounds, and couples who are open to breaking tradition will be one step closer to deciding to destination wed.

Unlike the traditional two days of gathering for a local event, many destination weddings are several days of planned wedding activities. Are you looking forward to spending 3-5 days of your get away with everyone who traveled? In many cases, couples will choose to plan a week or weekend of group activates. If this sounds perfect, Awesome! However, if you want to get married and spend the remaining of your time with your sweetheart, you may want to give it a little more thought. Although it's certainly not necessary to have multiple events, you may still have "guests" with you thought out your stay. There are many ways around this, but again you will have to think about pulling it off logistically.

A destination wedding will only save you money if you plan on cutting down your guest list, are not incorporating the cost of guest travel into your budget, considering an easily traveled less expensive destination, and/or considering average rated accommodations for your stay. The truth of the matter is that having a destination wedding with the same amount of guest that you would have at a local destination will not save any expense. In fact, chances are it will cost you much more. If you are planning on an exotic location that's not easily traveled from your origin won't save you money either. Another fact, many airlines are increasing the cost of airfare due to rising fuel cost. You should also consider fuel cost if you are planning on driving to your domestic destination wedding location. Don't forget to include possible planning trips. Considering five star luxury accommodations will also add to the bottom line. Expect to pay top dollar per person. It's a no brainer. Also, many locations will require a group deposit on all rooms being held. Will you be willing to either make sure each guest properly deposits to ensure the space is held or deposit yourself? There are ways to work this out, but it does require much patience and coordination. If money isn't a huge factor in deciding on a destination wedding, you should check this area as compatible with the idea of a destination wedding.

It should be an easy and fun process to plan a destination wedding. The ease and fun will depend on the details and your expectations. We have a list of tips that we share with our clients on keeping destination wedding planning fun and simplified. However, if you are someone that doesn't relinquish control, can't make planning trips, a worry wart, or a tried and true bridezilla, you may not find this as enjoyable and fun as it can be. It’s possible to have fun planning a destination wedding that's uniquely you, but it’s necessary to be willing to keep an open mind and accommodate change. After all, things work differently in different areas. Be willing to embrace change, different cultures, and be sure to have a wedding planner who's familiar with the area. If you don’t feel comfortable with hiring a planner from the location of your planned destination wedding, you should make sure that your local choice has reliable contacts with professionals in the geographical area that you plan to wed.

It's important to do your homework and know what to expect. Having a clear understanding can make a huge difference in curtailing your stress levels. Make it a point to sit down with a Destination Wedding Specialist! A good Destination Wedding Specialist will consult you on determining a good fit before they begin to talk about location possibilities, residency requirements, and your guest list. He or she should help you to understand what to expect before you begin making plans. Once the consultation is complete, ask this question again, “Are we an ideal fit for a destination wedding?” You’ll find that you will be able to make a much better decision based on your particular desires. Whether your destination nuptials will be domestic or international, an initial consultation with a Destination Wedding Specialist will make a huge difference in the end result of you being a "Happy Bride or Bride Gone Wrong!"

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