Traditionally, weddings have been held in your own home church, or in a local
garden, or in some venue close to the home of the groom or bride's family. But
as Americans become more mobile, living thousands of miles from their families
in some cases and marrying people from the other side of the country in others,
it's grown more and more inconvenient to schedule the right place to have your
wedding. His home, or hers? How do family who live in fifteen different cities
get here? What is fair?
Rather than worrying about these issues, more brides and grooms have been opting
for destination weddings. A destination wedding is one that is centered around
getting married at a particular place that is not at the home of either bride or
groom, often a tropical or otherwise romantic location. This isn't a runaway
marriage, like the ones that used to take place frequently at Niagara Falls and
that still take place in Las Vegas; rather, it's a planned wedding with guests,
with the only difference between it and other weddings being the away-from-home
Popular places for destination weddings include Hawaii, the South Carolina
beaches, Disneyworld, and, yes, Las Vegas. Brides not satisfied with these
locations can consider some other, more unique ideas: getting married on a
yacht, Ireland, Fiji, the Bahamas, or weddings in locations that are important
to the bride and groom for some reason. A destination wedding can be a very
Advantages of Destination Weddings
There are numerous significant advantages to having a destination wedding,
especially if you have a far-flung family. For one, it spares you from having to
make the decision between his city and her city; instead, everyone has to travel
to get to your wedding, making it fair. And then, if you have relatives you feel
certain would cause trouble at a wedding, a destination wedding is a subtle
discouragement for them to show up, so you can apologize profusely to them when
they complain about not being able to get to your wedding and just say you had
your heart set on a beach wedding at Cabo, or being married in front of the
falls at Niagara, or whatever destination wedding you've chosen.
Additionally, if there are family clashes between bride and groom in laws, a
destination wedding brings the whole thing to a neutral location. The only thing
you want to avoid, in this case, is renting a huge house for everyone to stay
in; better keep them in separate houses!
One of the worst things that happens to weddings is when Mom takes over, trying
to plan the wedding for her daughter - and sometimes son - to "make it easier"
for the bride. Choosing a destination wedding is a great way to get rid of the
interference of a mother.
Destination weddings tend to be in very romantic, often exotic, locations, which
leads to several other things. First, those weddings on the beach lead to some
amazing wedding photographs, especially if you choose your location so that you
catch the sunset. They also allow you to combine your honeymoon with your
wedding, and you can tell reluctant family that it will make a great excuse for
them to take a vacation at your destination.
The surprising advantage some destination weddings has is that they can be much
cheaper than traditional weddings, if you plan them carefully and choose the
right destination at the right time. While the U.S. dollar is a little weak
right now, it still has an excellent exchange rate over some countries. And many
popular destination wedding sites have been taking advantage of the wedding
tourist trade by offering great deals on wedding packages of all sorts.
Disadvantages of Destination Weddings
To be fair, destination weddings also have drawbacks. Many of your invited
guests won't come, and others may invite themselves on your honeymoon if you're
not careful. Of course, since fewer guests are coming, the wedding will be
smaller and you'll save money on catering, venue size, and other things, so you
can dip into your wedding funds to help subsidize the plane tickets for people
you absolutely must have at your wedding.
Not all destinations are cheap and glorious; it's entirely possible that the
destination you have your heart set will be more expensive, so you'll have to
shop around and lock in the best deal you can early. Because the destination may
be quite remote from America, you'll find planning of sorts you didn't expect is
necessary, and a good travel agent may become your best friend.
Finally, you must think about a few legalities: passports, visas, and whether or
not a wedding at your destination will be recognized in the U.S. (not all are!)
The last problem can be bypassed if you have a simple civil ceremony back home
and then your elaborate wedding at your destination.
A destination wedding is not the right answer for everyone. And many people who
would like a destination wedding decide in the end to get married at home for a
variety of reasons. But if you have your heart set on one and you have plenty of
time to plan, there is no reason you can't have a destination wedding, and all
the wonderful memories that go along with it.