Pros and Cons of a Destination Wedding

Wedding photo overlooking a city

Combining your wedding and a vacation together for a destination wedding is music to the ears of some couples wanting to get away to a faraway land for their nuptials. A destination wedding can be anything from just the bride and groom to a huge affair with hundreds of guests. However, while this type of ceremony can be a dream come true for some couples, it is a nightmare for others. Here’s a few pros and cons to help you decide if a destination wedding is right for you.

Pros

Save Money with a Package Deal

Many couples choose a destination wedding to save money by combining the honeymoon and wedding. Locations that offer wedding services and tourism organizations usually offer a package deal complete with vendors so there’s no stress on your end. These offers usually include an onsite wedding coordinator to help you with planning, getting the officiant, obtaining your marriage license, and catering. Basically, you put the wedding in their hands and walk away sipping a fruity drink.

Small Guest List

guest list

This can be both a pro and a con, but we’ll talk about the pros of having a smaller guest list first. Darn, you just don’t have room to invite those rowdy cousins from the East Coast or your mom’s entire Book Club! It’s an easy excuse to cut out many you might otherwise feel obligated to invite. Only close family and friends would be invited to an intimate ceremony to minimize they cost to you and everyone else. This also means you get more quality time with each guest.

An Unforgettable Wedding

Do you remember the first dance at your cousin’s wedding? How about the detailing of your college friend’s wedding dress? Weddings start to run together after you’ve been to a handful. A destination wedding isn’t one your guests will forget. They may not remember the lace on your dress, but they’ll remember that time they danced on the beach under the moonlight at your wedding. Your wedding not only provides an opportunity for guests to embrace a new place, but the opportunity to make unforgettable memories of their own.

Beautiful Scenery

Italy wedding

A sunset crests over the mountains, turning the sky into a painting of orange and yellow swirls at a mountaintop wedding. Doesn’t that sound amazing? The bottom line is there’s beauty to be found at destination weddings that will provide the most gorgeous backdrops for your ceremony and reception. Of course, there’s beauty to be found in any wedding setting, but destination weddings are often held at locations where the scenery is breathtaking.

Cons

Expense

Having a wedding ceremony in a foreign country is not easy, nor is it cheap. You’ll have to pay for plane tickets and accommodations on top of things like invitations, catering, and a venue. There are ways you can keep your costs low, but a destination wedding will likely never be cheap.

Not All Invited Guests Can Attend

RSVP

A destination wedding is often an expense some of your invited guests won’t be able to afford. Unless you’re going to pay for everyone’s flights, rooms, and other expenses, expect some loved ones to respectfully decline the invite. Older relatives may also have trouble getting around or may be in too poor of health to travel. Don’t worry, however, if you have your mind set on traveling. You can always have a party when you return home and invite all those that couldn’t attend.

You Aren’t In Control

This kind of wedding isn’t the best thing for brides who likes to be in control of all the planning. Since you won’t be there in the flesh until right before the wedding, you will have to make all your decisions without being at the location. Yes, many places offer a wedding coordinator as part of the package, but some leave all of the choices up to the bride. Not everyone will be comfortable making long distance decisions about food, flowers, accommodations, and decorations.

Legalities

Marriage license

Many couples dive into a destination wedding without doing their research. If your wedding is in another country, research that area to find out what all you need to be legally married there. Most countries require proof of your birth certificate and a valid US passport. Others, like France, want proof of residency and won’t marry you unless you’ve lived in the country for a set period of time. Look into this matter beforehand to ensure your marriage will be valid. Of course, even if you can’t legally marry in another country, you can still have the ceremony there. There will just be some additional hassle with having a legal ceremony once you’re home.

Not Much Alone Time

Destination weddings often mean you and your guest list, arrive a day or so before the ceremony and stay for a few days. This means the morning after your wedding, you’ll probably be greeted by some of your guests at breakfast. Your romantic alone time might be shared with a crowd until their vacations are over. If you need alone time, arrive a few days before everyone or leave a few days after the guests. Schedule couple massages or a private dinner in your room so you can get away from the group.

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