Destination Weddings 101

The latest travel trend for weddings away

Destination weddings are a growing trend for couples looking to do something different. About 10% of couples choose destination weddings over the traditional at-home wedding. Called “weddingmoons” by some, destination weddings let you enjoy the best of both the wedding and the honeymoon at the same time.

Most destination weddings take place in tropical spots like the Caribbean, Hawaii or Fiji, but many couples are choosing to say their vows in castles or other scenic spots in France, Italy and Spain. Destination weddings usually have smaller guest lists - remember that not everyone can travel to another country for your wedding. Since guests foot the bill at all inclusive resorts, weddings away usually cost less than traditional weddings.

What to expect in a destination wedding package

When a resort offers a destination wedding, it usually takes a lot of the work off the couple’s hands. In a destination wedding package, you can usually expect the resort to arrange for:

Important note! While the resort will cover a lot of the details, you’ll still be responsible for having an up-to-date passport and following all marriage license requirements in your home and host countries. Make sure you follow both countries’ laws to ensure your marriage will be legally recognized. Certain countries only grant marriage licenses to permanent residents. Some resorts will take care of your licensing requirements for you but be sure to find out exactly which tasks fall to you.

Where to go?

As destination weddings grow in popularity, more locations are prepared to handle the details of your big day. Which locations appeal to you as a couple? Is your ideal vacation lounging on the beach or would you rather take in shows and explore museums? Have you always wanted to go on a safari? Stay away from areas of political turmoil or places that usually go through dangerous climate changes - hurricanes, landslides - during your wedding season. Check out for important information about your wedding or honeymoon destination.

Your guest list

While the honeymoon is meant just for you and your sweetie, many couples want all of their family and friends with them for the wedding ceremony. As much as your guests would love to spend a few days in a tropical paradise with you, many won’t be able to attend because of other commitments or the cost. If you’re planning a destination wedding, send Save the Date cards as far in advance as you can so guests can start making arrangements to join you.

Destination weddings can help you smooth out some frustrating guest list wrinkles. Most of your friends will understand that your destination wedding is going to be very small. If you invite only immediate family and a few select guests, those who weren’t asked to join you won’t be offended at the lack of invite. Other couples take the opportunity to invite anyone they wish since guests pay their own way.

Destination weddings are a great option for couples looking to do something different for their big day. If you’re planning a destination wedding, spend some time picking your location. It will become a special place for you as a couple and gives you a great excuse to travel for your anniversaries!

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