So you've said "yes," to tying the knot destination wedding style. But what's next? Picking your location of course!
But there are many aspects to consider before you choose your destination wedding location. We've compiled our top tips to help you choose the perfect spot for you to say "I Do!"
1. Reach out to an experience destination wedding travel agent. Agents are worth their weight in gold when it comes to planning your celebration. Not only are they familiar with wedding locations regions and resort options, they can help with so many of the other variables listed below. The forum's official travel agency Wright Travel Agency helps its clients from the beginning with planning the most important travel/lodging details to overseeing any issues during the travel process through the end of the trip. These agents deal with your guests directly, so that you don't find yourself bombarded with a million travel/lodging questions that you're not quite sure to how to answer. Wright Travel agents are also aware of all the special promotions and discounts being offered at the different resorts, resulting in great savings for you and your guests. These agents also have close relationships with each of the destination resorts, which can help ease your wedding planning experience from beginning to end. Most importantly, there is no charge to use Wright Travel Agency's service. (For more information on Wright Travel Agency visit: www.wrighttravelagency.com or you can contact them HERE!
2. Timing? You'll quickly find that every location has "seasons" -- meaning, there will be times when your location of choice will be cheaper or more costly to travel to in terms of airfare and lodging. Holidays tend to be more expensive as they draw more people to the area. So consider timing because that will greatly affect the costs necessary for you and your guests to travel to your wedding location.
3. Budget/Costs. How much do you want your guests to spend? And, does that matter to you? Some couples seek to be considerate of their guests investment in the trip, while others have their heart set on a destination location and all that matters is that they're able to get there -- guests present or not. It's really up to you to decide, but bear in mind, the total investment will play a significant role in determining the size of your guests list. So If you want to draw big numbers to your destination celebration, then consider what each person will have to spend to travel and stay at your location.
4. Distance. Yep, distance matters. Costs and time will also factor into this aspect. If you decide to get married in a location that will require several of your guests to travel 8+ hours or more one way, then you have to accept the fact that some people simply may not be able to make that trip. Long distances will eat up at least 2 days of travel time, cutting into a person's time off. You also have to remember that distance will affect how much you can carry with you. If you had intended to bring a lot of your decor, then realize you will be lugging a ton of stuff thousands of miles away -- that could complicate things and make your journey tougher. So keep distance in mind.
5. Kids vs. No Kids. To have kids or not to have kids, that is the question. The answer is really up to you -- do you want children to be present at your celebration? The choice is ultimately up to you. This is an important decision to make early on because many resorts in destination locations are adults-only. So talk to your sweetheart right away about whether you want children present or not -- just remember, some guests may welcome an adults-only getaway, while others won't be able to attend because of family obligations, and you need to be OK with that.
6. All Inclusive vs. Non All-Inclusive. Deciding on whether you want to go all-inclusive or not will play a huge role in the budget/costs factor. All-inclusive options are in abundance in several Mexico destination locations like Cancun/Riviera Maya, but these options are few in places like Hawaii. While it may seem like your guests are having to pay a lot upfront costs to go all-inclusive, they will likely enjoy a more stress-free vacation experience because the main costs (dining, drinks, activities, etc.) are already paid for. The all-inclusive route may also help lower the costs you will have to spend on the actual wedding celebration at your resort. Check out our blog post about going All-inclusive to help determine whether you want to go that route.
7. Legal Requirements for Tying the Knot. Does your location have certain legal requirements when it comes to weddings? You need to look into this as soon as you begin the planning process because it may affect how early you need to arrive at your location. This will also impact who you choose to marry you, where/how you plan on getting married and what type of ceremony you'll be having -- religious, spiritual, legal, etc. Reach out to the resort planner or coordinator for assistance on these details as they should be well informed about the processes that will affect your wedding celebration.
8. Number of Guests. The size of your guest list will be a big factor in choosing your location because if you plan on having a large group, looking at smaller resorts may not be ideal. So consider this variable early on as it will narrow down your options upfront when it comes to looking at location options.
9. Wedding Planner/Coordinator? Many resorts will include assistance from a wedding coordinator or planner from their wedding department as your wedding date nears, but some couples invest in an independent coordinator/planner to take over the wedding planning process from the very start. Many brides and grooms find that planning a wedding away from home can be quite stressful, so hiring an expert to handle the details from a far could be a great investment that will make your wedding journey much more stress-free and enjoyable.
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About me: I am a former BDW Bride AKA as MarieSam and I was addicted to this forum as I planned my own wedding in 2009. Since 2010, I have been the proud owner of MarieSam Sanchez Photography -- a husband and wife photography team based in Southern California and documenting love all over the world. I am also a mother to two girls, an avid traveler and a destination wedding writer/blogger.