Did you know that Las Vegas performs around 100,000 weddings, Hawaii with 20,000 weddings, U.S. Virgin Islands with 5,100 weddings, Jamaica with 5,000 weddings, and the Bahamas with 4,000 weddings, all performed annually? True that the trend of traveling abroad and even locally just to get married is growing since the cost of most weddings are now ranging $20,000 to $30,000. It is no wonder that couples are now open to the idea of a better wedding where they can invite a select few family and friends to join them.
There are so many great reasons why you should have your own destination wedding such as:
- Giving everyone a unique experience that they can only get from your wedding.
- Having quality time with friends and family.
- A wedding and a vacation packed in one.
- A wedding location and a honeymoon destination all in one place.
To help you with your wedding planning, here are some destination wedding tips to get you started:
Choosing your destination. There are a couple of factors you will need to consider first before deciding on a location. You will have to review the marriage legalities, if vendors are easily accessible, things that you can do and see, and the cost. Whether you are planning to have your wedding in France or you intend to invite eighty of your closest friends in Costa Rica where you first traveled with your fiance, these factors should be considered.
If you want to do it locally where you aim to save on airfare and other travel arrangements, then do so. The idea is, if you are from the north, go south. If you are from the south, go north. If you are from the east, go west, and vice versa. If you live in the Midwest, your wedding can be in Chicago or go south to Texas and visit the Alamo. If you are from the East Coast, go to Orlando, Florida and see Mickey Mouse. If you are from Florida and has visited Mickey far many times, have your wedding in New York. Places such as the Grand Canyon, the blue waters of Hawaii, Lake Tahoe, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Mount Charleston, Anchorage, California’s Napa Valley are just some of the great choices locally.
Find Discounts. Everybody knows that if you book well in advance for both airfare and hotel, there is no doubt you can get discounts for them. Ask your family and friends to plan this with you so you can get a group discount. You could also get the service of a travel agent to negotiate airfare and hotel accommodations. There are also many destination spots that offer wedding packages. For instance, some hotels in the Caribbean will include the cake, champagne, the bride’s bouquet, the groom’s boutonniere for free while others give a free extra night for the honeymoon.
Help Your Guests. Do this by sending save-the-date cards ten to twelve months before the wedding date. This will give them advance notice in considering your wedding, thus letting them get their discounts early before prices increase. You could also ask for a group discount at the hotel where they would be willing to stay since you are going to provide the hotel with a lot of guests. Make sure that you also pick a hotel where the cost is not expensive, and yet will give them a great stay. Most commonly, guests attending a destination type of wedding feel reluctant to come because of the costs they will need to shoulder. With you helping them get discounts with the airfare and hotels and ensuring that the only gift you want from them is their presence, this will make them join your special day.
A destination wedding will allow you to limit your guests to only those people who truly wish to spend an airplane ticket just to see you get wed since a common wedding etiquette is for each invite to pay for their own transportation and accommodation. Your responsibility is to pamper them and make certain that you can help in finding the right accommodation while still allowing them to enjoy their time alone. As much as possible, give them options on what they can do at the location and avoid planning too much pre-wedding parties so that they can also have their own quality time.
Get a Wedding Consultant. Since you will not be able to visit the site, consider hiring an onsite wedding planner. You could also get a wedding planner who is familiar with destination weddings, and someone who can coordinate with the onsite planner. Their fees may vary, some asks for a flat rate, a per-hour fee or a combination of both, but this will just take 10% to 15% of the total cost of the wedding. Their task is to keep the other costs in check while finding bargains with vendors.
Visit the Site. It is also advisable to visit the place even once. If you have the money, you can plan to go there a few times. On your first visit, scout and secure the venue such as the reception and ceremony, hotels for guests, and the like. You should also search for local vendors. The second and third visit is to just oversee that everything is going well and that everything is organized. However, if funds are limited, visiting the place even once will suffice, then coordinate with your wedding planner for the progress of the wedding.
Dress for the Occasion. Understand where you are going and tell your guests about it. It would be totally uncomfortable if everyone wears gowns and tuxedos on a hot summer day in Hawaii. Or wear an informal dress or casual attire for a formal wedding in Italy. Let everyone know the destination and the type of wedding you will be having so everyone will feel comfortable and happy about their choices of attire.
Start Early. Destination weddings will allow you to get married on a beach, on a hill, in a beautiful garden or your choice chapel. The idea is limitless. Plan ahead of schedule since you can expect a few minor challenges along the way, but by the time you are through with planning, expect to have an unforgettable destination wedding with those people you love.