Since this week, I’m enjoying the beautiful Caribbean island of St. John, celebrating my 10 year wedding anniversary to my wonderful husband, Matthew, it seemed fitting that we chat about destination weddings.
For all the pros and cons, I hit up awesome travel agent and dear friend, Michele Dreiding, owner of Destination Weddings Unlimited. Her company handles all the details of your honeymoon travel, world travel and, of course, destination weddings anywhere you can dream of. Michele understands that wedding planning can be stressful. But opting for a destination wedding can eliminate some items from the typical wedding to-do list. The remaining details are managed best when you work with a company that provides you with one-on-one service and holds your hand through the process every step of the way.
Michele’s Destination Wedding
PROS & CONS
It’s more than a wedding, it’s an experience! When you choose a have a destination wedding, you and your guests will enjoy an experience with memories that will last long past the typical 5 hour wedding. Because you can enjoy a location anywhere in the world, you all have the opportunity to experience more and extend the celebration for a few days. It’s like a wedding and vacation in one!
Good for Your Budget: It typically costs A LOT less than a traditional wedding. For example, Caribbean islands tend to create fabulous packages. Since resorts on the island earn their income on the guests stay, they make the ceremony and reception packages very desirable to encourage more guests.
Best Bang for Your Buck: All inclusive resorts typically have the best deals on weddings. Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Mexico are certainly the most economical, easy to travel to and gorgeous! Weddings in Europe are affordable as well, but there is a higher cost for travel that is involved.
Easier to plan: Despite what you may think, planning an event in another country can be a lot easier than planning at home. Since many locations have created complete wedding packages, there isn’t as much for you to research and hire all the individual vendors, like photography and flowers, because it’s all included. AND, most importantly, if you pick the right travel specialist, who knows the locations well, you’ll have support throughout the whole process.
CONS (but I turn them into PROS if I can!)
Smaller Guest List: Because it's more than just a wedding, not everyone will come. This can be both a pro and a con. Some friends and family may be annoyed that you are asking them to travel so far for your wedding. On the upside, this can drastically shorten your guest list making the affair more affordable and less hectic for you. But at the same time, many people, specifically older relatives may drop off immediately because they feel they can’t make the travel and this could cause family tension.
The best solution to this is both another pro and con simultaneously: plan a second, low key party back home after the wedding. This makes all the family who didn’t want to travel happy and you get to have two parties (pro) but you just increased the budget to accommodate the second party. (possible con)
Tough on Your Guest’s Budget: Although the cost is low for the wedding, it could be costly for some guests. The solution for this is to give as much advanced notice as possible so people who really want to go, have adequate time to save and plan. Michele says “If some people can’t make it or give you push back, you just tell people, ‘We would love for you to come to our wedding, but we understand if you can’t. That is why we have a small celebration when we get back and hope you can attend that.” Destination Weddings won't be for all your guests, so do not take it personally.”
Other challenges with a destination weddings:
You might have take your dress on a plane so maybe think about forgoing the giant puffy ball gown.
You typically don’t visit the venue you want due to the distance. You’ll have to rely on pictures and your trusted agent!
Turnaround time – You’ll deal with “island time” and other time zones which cause some delays in communication.
Language barriers – but in most resorts that cater to wedding clients, this probably won’t be too much of an issue.
Michele’s Top tips for planning
After looking these pros and cons over, what seems to be the biggest con is how the plan affect your guests, their feelings and their budget. Michele says it’s important to remember that “your wedding is about you and your soon-to-be. Don’t make decisions based on what everyone else wants.”
The only other con I saw was dealing with the unknown. Will the venue look as nice as the pictures? Will they have enough space for my guests? How will I coordinate all these travel schedules?! The best way to fix all of this is to make sure to have a destination wedding specialist by your side. They will assist you with everything you need. In addition, they’ll be dealing with all the questions, contracts, and most importantly, your guests for all the travel arrangements.
The popularity of destination weddings are growing so plan ahead as you would with a local wedding. You’ll want grab a prime date, especially if you want sunset ceremony!
Planning a destination wedding, honeymoon or any type of big travel?
Contact Michele Dreiding at Destination Weddings Unlimited
All my best with no stress!