Congratulations on your engagement! You may have always dreamed of a destination beach wedding, or you started to plan a local wedding and quickly found out how expensive those can get. Either way, you're here to gather more information and see if a destination wedding is the right fit for you.
As a past destination resort bride, I'm a little biased and would happily tell you to GO FOR IT, but I'm also realistic and know that it's not a fit for everyone. Below, you can find my thoughts on some advantages and disadvantages to consider as you are deciding if this is the route you want to go for your big day!
Advantages of a Destination Wedding
One of the best parts about a destination wedding is the quality time you will get with your close friends and family. Typically you only get a few hours at the reception, and so many couples say they felt obligated to talk to all their out of town guests that they didn't have enough time to enjoy their own reception they spent months on planning. With a destination wedding - most guests stay at least 3 nights and others make a vacation out of it, so you get at least 3 days to hang out, let loose and create memories together! These wedding vacations are definitely ones that everyone remembers and never forgets, so you will know your wedding will be unforgettable!
As I mentioned earlier the simple wedding packages with preferred vendors by the resort provides you a less stressful way to plan. You typically just work with 1-3 vendors, instead of a much bigger list of vendors involved when planning a traditional wedding. By having a vacation atmosphere, it can put people at ease and relieve some of that family drama - plus you can always hit the pool bar if you need a break from someone!
Lastly, it's great on the budget to combine your wedding and the honeymoon. You can stay where you are, upgrade your room category or even move to a nearby resort that may be a little more luxurious for your honeymoon celebration after the wedding. Since you are already in paradise, you can avoid the hassle of jetting off to the airport early after a traditional wedding!
Disadvantages of a Destination Wedding
Earlier I said it was easier to plan, but this could also be a disadvantage for some that need that face-to-face meeting to feel more comfortable. There are many resorts that offer a "big day preview" type option, where you can stay a few nights to meet with the onsite wedding coordinator, walk through the venue locations (and back-up options), taste the food and see or even meet with the other vendors. This would have an additional cost, but if you need a bit more control, it's a great way to ensure your sanity.
Language could also be a factor depending on your location. Sometimes words don't translate as intended, so it takes a little extra patience and understanding. You tend to also have a delay in response between emails, and it could be 3-4 days before you hear back. With the amount of weddings they perform each week, and a more laid-back culture in many Caribbean destinations, you will have to quickly appreciate the relaxed demeanor and go with the flow to keep your stress-levels in check.
Some destinations will have more strict requirements to perform a legal ceremony, including extra costs and "residency" rules in where you need to arrive a certain number of days, weeks or months prior. Be sure to check your destination's specifications to determine if you want the legal ceremony there, or if it's easier for you to do the legal paperwork back home first and have a symbolic ceremony in destination. You can find more information about the legality in my other article about How to Plan your Destination Wedding.
Destination Weddings are typically smaller than traditional weddings, so you may have to cut out some friends, extended family or co-workers - depending on your budget. Many guests may not even be able to make it due to the cost of travel, health issues, and even work or family obligations that won't allow them to take extended time off.
Travel is also unpredictable, so there could be flight delays that may cause some people to not make the actual wedding. Mother Nature is also erratic, but not only just the rain that can happen in a tropical destination, but seaweed or a red tide can be a factor. While you can try to organize around the seasons that tend to have higher chances for these events, you can't predict natural phenomenons. If something like that would absolutely ruin your day, focus on properties that have Sky Terraces with ocean views or a romantic Garden or Gazebo location.
I hope you found some valuable insight to help you determine if a destination is right for you. If you feel overwhelmed or would like assistance to narrow down the perfect destination or resort, we are here for you!
We spend most of our vacation time touring resorts, meeting with the wedding coordinators and training for destination weddings, so we can make it very simple for you. We save you time by filtering out all the bad advice and countless options for you. Let us take the guesswork out and match-make you to the destination and resorts that fit your style, vision and budget the best.
Together we will find your most perfect wedding resort and we take care of the logistics after that. All you have to do is the fun wedding planning and creating an unforgettable event your friend and family will remember for a lifetime! Schedule your free consultation to see how we can assist and learn more about our services!