It’s true, destination weddings are all the rage today.
What exactly is a destination wedding? In simple terms, it’s a wedding away from your hometown, either just the two of you, or with family and friends. It can be as simple or elaborate, inexpensive or lavish as you desire.
Okay, so it’s the wedding trend of the day, but, is it any simpler to plan? Or, is planning a wedding far from home even harder than planning one in your own hometown? The answer to that, of course, is up to you, and how lavish or unique you want your wedding to be. Here are the steps in planning that destination “I Do.”
Step One: Who’s Going to Attend?
Before you can plan your wedding destination, you really have to decide who you’re going to invite, as your guest list can sometimes narrow your choices of destinations.
Is your destination wedding going to be for just the two of you? Then the whole world is your oyster.
Are you going to invite a few close friends or family members? If so, are you going to pick up the tab for their travel, or are travel expenses to be paid by each individual? If you can’t afford to pick up the tab for travel to your wedding, and the friends and family members would have a hard time coming up the money, then you might want to pick some special place closer to home. For example, if you live in Phoenix and want a destination wedding where family and friends could easily travel to, you might want to pick Sedona rather than Hawaii.
There might also be time restrictions for your guests as well. Some people just can’t take time off of work to attend your wedding on some tropical island, whereas they might be able to attend a wedding which is a few-hours drive away.
Step Two: When is the Wedding?
If the two of you are planning your wedding around vacation time at work, then that too may dictate where you will have your destination wedding. If your vacation time is during hurricane season, you may want to skip Cancun and opt for the beaches of Southern California instead.
Step Three: Draw up a Wedding Budget
Face it; some locations are just more traditionally affordable than others. Your heart may be screaming the beaches of Costa Rica, but your budget is screaming Las Vegas. Yes, we all want to answer our heart’s call, but your budget should have the last word.
But, don’t let that keep you from choosing a great, unique wedding destination. You’d be surprised how many wonderful, unique wedding destinations there are which may fit your budget. B&Bs all over the United States, in such romantic destinations as California, New England, Florida and Virginia, offer inexpensive wedding packages for either just the two of your, or several guests.
When considering your budget, you have to consider travel expenses (flying or driving) as well as the wedding related expenses. In addition, you should also plan on the costs for accommodations, meals during your stay and even the things that you would like to do there.
Step Four: Consider the Marriage Laws
Some locations in the United States as well as some countries make having a wedding very difficult. You may have to deal with specific requirements before you can actually wed. Before you select a location at which to be married, make sure you know what the laws in that location actually are.
Step Five: Hire a Wedding Planner or DIY
Once you’ve narrowed in on your wedding location, you need to decide if you will be planning your wedding yourself or if you will need to hire a wedding planner. If you are having a larger destination wedding with numerous family and friends attending, you may want to hire a wedding planner to help coordinate everything.
If it’s just the two of you, you can probably handle the planning yourself. Often you can hire a wedding officiant who has packages available which include picking a location, performing the ceremony, as well as transportation, cake and champagne. Resorts and even B&Bs also offer packages which make the planning extra simple.
Step Six: Enjoy Your Honeymoon
Here’s the best part of having a destination wedding. The honeymoon starts right after the “I Do.”
With destination weddings continuing to grow in popularity, and more B&Bs, resorts and wedding planners offering wedding packages, planning a destination wedding can be as simple as planning a vacation. No more renting a hall, hiring a band, sending invitations to an ever-growing list of guests. It’s time to take the stress out of your wedding planning and make it fun. A destination wedding allows you to do just that.