You've reached the point in planning your wedding where you are ready to throw the guest list out the window and run away to an island. Why not have the best of both worlds and plan a destination wedding? A destination wedding can be smaller and more intimate (and sometimes more affordable), while still allowing you to have the white dress, centerpieces, and bridesmaids––or not! Check out our tips before you book your flights.
Consider Your Priorities
Is it most important for you to have every cousin, sorority sister, and elementary school friend at your wedding? Then a destination wedding is likely not for you. However, if you have a small list of must-have guests, a destination wedding is much more feasible. If you want to help guests pay their way to your exotic locale, paying for 20 people is possible...paying for 200 is probably not in your budget.
If you have dreams of emulating Naya Rivera's surprise destination wedding, read on...though we don't suggesting getting married on the same date and in the same locale as you were going to marry your ex. Bad form.
If you absolutely must get married on a holiday weekend, certain month, or other rock-solid date, be careful before ditching the hometown wedding in favor of the Caribbean. Brides Without Borders points out that while October in the Riviera Maya may be cheap, October is the rainy season! (And popular wedding month June is miserably hot.) On the same note of flexibility, understand that with a destination wedding, you will be unable to plan out and control every detail––you're in a different country!
You may dream of getting married under the Eiffel Tower, but did you know that France has a residency requirement before you can tie the knot there? And that residency requirement is 40 days! Be sure to do your research and make sure that your dream destination wedding can be a reality. Are there blood tests or other legal requirements to ensure that your marriage is recognized in the United States? Likewise, be sure to honestly assess if your friends and family can afford to attend if you are unable to help out with travel costs. If you choose a destination wedding, you can't be upset with your college bestie if she can't afford to spend a week in Italy, will be eight months pregnant at the time, or can't take time off work because she just started a new job.
Unfortunately, we can't all be George Clooney and boat our friends over for our Italian destination wedding.
Again...Are You Flexible?
You may not have your choice of vendors, depending on your wedding site. If you opt for an all-inclusive wedding package, that package may include a wedding cake, photographer, and more. While having all the details taken care of sounds enticing, but you may not be eating your dream cake, and you may not have wedding portraits that will match the ones on your Pinterest board. Some sites may not allow other vendors, so be sure to check this out early. We recommend––and so does nearly everyone else––hiring a local wedding planner who can help bring your vision to life.
Images: Naya Rivera Dorsey/Instagram, Getty (1)