Destination weddings can spring from a variety of ideas. For some, the idea of a far-flung locale is simply more exciting than a wedding at home, and for others, a destination wedding can be born of necessity. Once you decide upon a destination wedding it’s time to pick the location for your nuptials and that comes with its fair share of considerations. We have the top five tips for thoughtfully selecting your destination wedding location.
Connections or Convenience
Most couples have a location or two that are extra special to them, whether that’s the place they got engaged, a favorite childhood vacation spot, or a study abroad location in a faraway place. Choosing a dream destination wedding location that is close to the heart is the easy part. Celebrating your love in a place you love just makes sense. However, for some, choosing a destination wedding is less about a place of deep meaning and more about convenience. For a couple who grew up on opposite sides of the country (or world) and met in a different city, selecting a spot in the middle may make the most sense for their guests. If you fall into the latter group, try to seek out a few key middle ground cities and go from there. Apply the next four tips to narrow it down and you'll have a destination selected in no time!
It’s hard not to have dollar signs fill your eyes when someone says “destination wedding.” The immediate consideration is the cost of getting to the location, but then comes the cost of lodging, transportation, etc. Before finalizing a city or town, check on the options for room blocks, Airbnb’s, and other lodging options you can offer to your invited guests to make their trip more affordable. All over the US and abroad are hidden gem locations that are just like the hot spots, but with a few trade-offs. Check for those off-the-beaten-path options to see if they might be a good option. Avoid choosing high season dates for the location when possible as that will be reflected in everything from flights to accommodations. One perk of choosing to have a destination wedding is the opportunity to have more fun with dates. Since you and your guests will be traveling and taking off work anyway it becomes less crucial to stick to a traditional Friday-Sunday wedding date, so check to see if the location has any venues that offer weekday discounts.
In considering affordability, it's important to note that oftentimes a destination wedding means a smaller guest count. For a destination wedding, the budget will need to cover a broader scope of things outside of the typical wedding day and rehearsal dinner that a local wedding might. A castle in Scotland for three nights with all meals included for 50 guests looks a lot different than a traditional 150 person wedding stateside. As you select a location keep in mind all of the additional expenses that will need to be considered.
When choosing your location keep in mind who you will be inviting and all that they’ll need to consider to attend. Will they need passports? How about a rental car to get to and from the wedding venue and other activities? Does it make sense, or is it even required, that you provide shuttles to and from the accommodations to the venue? Off the beaten path, exotic destinations can be fun and exciting, but they can bring a fair share of complications. When selecting a destination wedding location keep your guest list at the top of mind and imagine the journey for those who you can’t imagine your wedding without. If it seems like there may be too many complications, see if there are similar, more accessible locations that fit the bill.
In addition to choosing a location that your guests will be able to easily access, take a look at your dream list of vendors. One option would be to source all local vendors, but if there are any vendors such as photographers, videographers, entertainment, or the like, that you are committed to bringing in, be sure to confirm that they will travel to your destination. Remember to factor in the cost of their transportation and lodging as well. For destinations where the native language is not your own, we recommend working with at least a few local vendors as it will help add a sense of familiarity that can be exceptionally helpful. The local knowledge can be worth its weight in gold when it comes to designing and having your perfect wedding day.
All In The Details
If you’re heading abroad to tie the knot, be sure to do the research on legal logistics. The easiest and most foolproof option is to legally wed at the courthouse before (or even after) the wedding ceremony abroad so you don’t have to deal with foreign paperwork. The thought of that can be a shock at first, but remember, no one has to know, and the legal paperwork is just one detail in your love story! If you’re staying stateside, there are still some additional logistics to consider as each state has different rules for obtaining your marriage license. We have guides already prepared for obtaining your marriage license in Hawaii, Florida, and Indiana.
With each passing year, it seems that destination weddings become more and more common. It's so wonderful to see couples selecting locations that are unexpected and exciting, especially when they hold special meaning for them. While the idea of tying the knot away from home can at first be overwhelming, these tips for selecting a destination wedding location should help make it seem more feasible for both the couple and the guests!
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