When the time comes to walk down the aisle, more and more couples are choosing to make the procession in a far-off land. Destination weddings are on the rise, with researchers at TheKnot.com reporting that roughly one in four couples who tied the knot in 2011 chose to have a destination wedding.
Destination weddings may appear to be an ideal way to tie the knot, but couples should know that planning such a ceremony may be even more difficult than planning a more traditional affair. Couples who choose to have a destination wedding must be ready to put a significant amount of faith in a wedding planner, who is often affiliated with the resort where the couple will be staying. Though the wedding planner may handle many of the details concerning the ceremony and the reception, couples should know that some of that planning will still fall on their shoulders as well. That planning may not be so simple, so before couples spread the word about their island wedding, it’s best to consider a few factors to determine if a destination wedding is truly the best way to go.
* Guests: How many guests a couple hopes to invite is a great starting point when determining if a destination wedding is for you. Many couples who choose to have a destination wedding do so because they prefer a more intimate ceremony. Destination weddings are obviously more expensive for guests than a more traditional ceremony, so many guests won’t be able to afford to attend. Couples who intend to invite many guests might want to avoid a destination wedding.
* Locale: The destination for your destination wedding should be a locale that holds a special place in your heart. A random location that you find on the Internet might work out, but having some prior experience with the destination can help you anticipate minor, yet potentially problematic, issues. These issues can include the accessibility of the airport, currency exchange rate and the weather. In addition, you can help guests have a better time on their trips if you have already familiarized yourself with the locale. If you haven’t traveled much as a couple and don’t have a particular place in mind, then you might find a destination wedding is more hassle than it’s worth.
* Accessibility: A common problem many couples encounter when planning a destination wedding is the accessibility of their chosen locale. Couples will likely have to visit the destination at least once prior to their wedding, which will eat up some of your weddingbudget and your vacation time (which you will need to save for the actual wedding and your honeymoon). If the locale is a remote island that’s not very accessible, that can make these pre-weddingtrips pretty stressful.
Accessibility should also be a consideration for your guests. How far will your guests have to travel? How much money will guests have to spend on airfare and hotel accommodations? The less accessible the locale is, the more you and your guests are going to have to spend.
Accessibility of the airport is another consideration. Some island locales and resorts are known for their remoteness, which can be a problem for wedding guests. If the resort is a long ride away from the airport, that’s another expense for guests. The resort may provide a shuttle service, but that cost will fall on the couple and the shuttle may not run frequently, which can prove problematic when guests’ arrivals are staggered.
* Legality: The law is another thing couples must consider when deciding if a destination wedding is for them. Laws vary depending on the locale, so before you commit to a specific locale, make sure you’re legally allowed to get married there and if there are any hurdles you must clear before you can. Those hurdles might be significant, and couples may find they’re not worth the hassle.
Crystal Vandegrift is a wedding photographer covering Virginia, D.C. and Maryland.