A Destination Wedding can seem like the “easy” way out when couples are trying to get married without a hassle or the cost, but sometimes couples get swept away trying to organize this life-changing event. There are several types of destination weddings, and they may be as simple as an intimate ceremony with just the bride & groom to an extended weekend with lots of activities and hundreds of your closest friends and family!
According to the Knot 2015 Real Weddings Study, fewer couples are opting for a traditional 'destination wedding' and are choosing an 'out-of-town' alternative that may be within a few hours drive or short flight for the majority of guests. Of the 350,000 destination weddings each year, 77% take place in the continental US and 23% at international destinations such as the Caribbean (32%) and Mexico (19%). According to the study, in 2015, 49% of couples were married 200 miles or more from where they lived at the time they were married.
Whether it's an international affair or a few states away, the following wedding questions should really help guide you in the right direction as well as help you establish the type of destination wedding you are looking for. These questions will help you determine, who, what, where, when, and how as well as help you feel more in control of this monumental event.
Please keep in mind that from a distance, organizing vendors, travel plans, guest’s itineraries and so forth can overwhelm even the most organized bride or groom so be sure to really trust the location and vendors you work with and consider a wedding planner from the region you are hosting your wedding.
You should start with the basics.
- When do you want to get married? How much time will you be giving yourself to plan and organize?
- How much does the couple plan on spending?
- How long do you want your wedding “weekend” or “retreat” to be?
- Will you be having your honeymoon at the same location as your destination wedding?
- How far do you want to go or willing to travel?
- How far are your most important guests willing or able to afford to go?
- What will the cost be for your guests?
- How important is your ceremony and what locations can accommodate your religious needs?
- Will you be providing any rooms, airfare or meals for your guests?
- What type of climate do we want to get married in? Cold, warm or hot?
- How many guests do I want to share in my special day?
- It is important to establish how many guests you want to invite and how many guests you will be happy having join you.
- Do you want a formal or casual destination wedding and location?
- Some resorts set the tone for you by having a dress code, so be sure to pick a resort that matches the style wedding you want!
- Establish what you plan on offering your guests. (Some couples like to host a full weekend of activities including welcome receptions, rehearsal dinners, bonfires on the beach, golf outings, spa trips, post wedding brunches and more.)
- Do we want to book an all inclusive resort?
- How do we plan on inviting our guests to our wedding? (Invites set the tone on what your guest will experience if they decide to join you on this special adventure.) Your invites should be very descriptive as to what you (bride and groom) will be covering, if anything, for your guests.
- For Example if you plan on offering your guests a full weekend of activities, have an invitation made that tells the guests that you plan on hosting a weekend of activities in addition to the wedding and that they should RSVP to what activities they want to attend.
- If you don’t plan on hosting anything but a simple service and cocktail party immediately following, be sure to clearly state that in your invites with a simple, “Please Join us for our nuptials & cocktails on the beach at the San Jose Hotel at 5pm”
Once you establish the above questions you will be able to begin researching what properties are best for your special day. Whether it's a beach wedding in the Dominican Republic or a mountain wedding in Colorado, the key is figuring out what works best for you both.