Bride in a white wedding gown and groom in a gray suit. Bride is sitting on stone bench at The 228 with groom standing in front of her holding her hand as they look at each other. Trees in the background.

Couples can have many reasons for considering a destination wedding. Guests may live in diverse locations or the couple may dream of visiting a certain place. However, think carefully about the potential issues and implications before planning a destination wedding. Then you’re less like to have any unpleasant surprises.

Package Deals Can Make Planning Easy and Low-Stress

Couples wanting a low-stress wedding that don’t obsess over details should consider locations offering package deals. Check off the options you prefer and the event coordinator on-site will take care of the rest. She may even arrange activities for you and your guests besides the wedding and reception.

There May Be Additional Legal Considerations to Deal With

Check out the laws in both the place where you live and the place where you want to get married. There can be some complications with marriages in other states or countries. Some locations require you to be a resident for a certain number of days (or weeks!) before a wedding is legal. You also have to make sure you know the rules about getting a marriage license. Make sure you’ll have time to do so before the wedding and that you don’t get it too early. Some licenses expire after a certain number of days.

Some Elements of Planning Can Be Very Difficult to Do Long Distance

With local weddings, you can meet with all the vendors ahead of time to make your wishes clear. This isn’t always possible with a destination wedding unless you can make one (or more!) planning trips. Create Pinterest boards or other visuals you can share with these professionals. Using Skype or another video conferencing software can also help with this. Understand that you won’t be able to plan every single detail and will have to trust the vendors. Having a more local-style wedding so the vendors can stick to what they’re familiar with.

A Destination Wedding Can Minimize Certain Issues with Family Members

If there are more distant family members you don’t want to invite, having a destination wedding can be a plausible excuse for keeping the invite list small. Sometimes the travel and expense of attending can mean problematic individuals self-select not to attend, allowing you to invite everyone and know that certain people aren’t likely to attend (although you can’t count on this). A destination wedding can also sometimes limit the pressure to involve certain family members in the wedding planning.

Some People May Not Attend a Destination Wedding

If you really want certain guests at your wedding, see whether they’d be able to attend a destination wedding. Some people won’t be able to do so for various reasons. The trip may be too physically difficult for those with mobility issues or too expensive for some people. Sometimes couples will pitch in to make it easier for must-have guests to attend their wedding. Another option is having a reception back home after the honeymoon to celebrate with those who couldn’t attend.

It May Be Less Expensive – But Isn’t Always

Because destination weddings are smaller, they can be less expensive. However, sometimes people plan extra events to entertain guests before and after the wedding, adding to the cost. Insisting on a wedding just like one at home, which may mean shipping stuff to the destination, also increases costs. Another option is planning optional activities people can take part in at their own expense if they wish. Local prices may be less expensive than those back home. Sticking to local goods, services, and vendors will help minimize costs.

Private Time May Be Limited During the Honeymoon

If the honeymoon and wedding are at the same destination, you may run into wedding guests often. When people travel to destination weddings, they often make a vacation of it and stay longer.

Share Information Needs as Early as Possible

Let people know as much information as possible as early as possible. This will help guests plan and prepare for the event. They can save their vacation time and save money for the trip. This includes letting them know of inexpensive flights, which hotels would be best, any planned activities, the dress code, and the need for any immunizations or travel visas. Including information about your wedding website with these details on the save the date or invitation can meet this need.

Prepare for Disasters

Depending on the wedding destination, plan for any potential wedding disasters. Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, sometimes happen on islands popular for weddings, for example. Choosing the right date can help minimize this risk. Other “disasters” could involve rain on for an outdoor ceremony or something not arriving at the destination on time. A good local wedding coordinator can be helpful for this disaster preparedness planning. Limit the risk by purchasing items locally and not checking any essential items, such as wedding attire, on flights. Purchase wedding insurance to help deal with any major issues.

You May Receive Fewer Gifts

The additional cost of attending a destination wedding may mean not receiving as many gifts or receiving less expensive gifts. This shouldn’t be a reason not to hold the wedding of your dreams, as wedding etiquette doesn’t require guests to give gifts. Having fewer gifts may be a good thing, as there will be less to transport back home after the wedding.

Destination Weddings Aren’t Very DIY-Friendly

Don’t choose a destination wedding If you have your heart set on making a lot of DIY wedding items. You’d have to ship lots of items to the destination or bring them in your luggage. Perhaps make the save-the-date cards and wedding invites, but otherwise, purchase things locally.

There Are More Factors to Consider When Determining Affordability

Take into account the exchange rate, which could increase or decrease the cost. If staying at a resort, check to see if there’s a minimum stay requirement. Ask whether wedding guests can stay elsewhere and still enter the resort for the ceremony. If you’re bringing a lot of items with you, there could be a customs charge. Plan the wedding for a non-holiday weekend, as flights and hotels usually cost more during holiday weekends.

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