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Pros and Cons of Destination Weddings

Choosing a dress, selecting a cake, deciding on a caterer, settling on a guest list, sending out invitations — there’s no doubt that planning a wedding is a huge undertaking. However, the biggest factor that impacts how your wedding will look, function, and feel is the venue itself.

If you decide to get married in a renovated barn in the country it’s going to feel very different from a 200-year old chapel in the heart of a city. If you rent out a large country club you’ll have a lot more room at your reception than if you try to fit it into a friend’s backyard. 

Perhaps the greatest impact that the venue can have on your wedding, though, is whether or not it’s in a different location entirely. Destination weddings are a fun, popular option, but deciding whether or not they’re right for your particular situation takes some thought. 

Here are a few of the biggest pros and cons that come with destination weddings, lovingly laid out below to help you make the decision on where you’ll be when the big day arrives.

Pro: A Destination Wedding Creates Incredible Memories

The most obvious benefit of having a destination wedding is the incredible memories that it allows you to create. While a wedding is always filled with special moments, sharing those points in time in a gorgeously unique location only makes them more special.

If you have a destination wedding, it provides you with a rich, fulfilling ceremony and reception experience that you can cherish for your entire life.

Con: A Destination Wedding Is Expensive

The most obvious prohibitive factor associated with destination weddings is the cost. Put simply, most weddings of this nature are very expensive. Even if you choose an affordable wedding location like Belize or Thailand, you still need to account for added travel expenses and possibly longer periods of missed work due to travel time.

Nevertheless, if you go about planning your wedding thoughtfully, you can cut down on the costs by:

  • Booking the wedding outside of peak season.
  • Planning the wedding as early as possible.
  • Keeping your guest list small and easy to manage.
  • Utilizing Airbnb and Uber to cut down on lodging and travel costs.

When done carefully, a destination wedding doesn’t have to be an exorbitant affair.

Pro: A Destination Wedding Is an Incredible “Double-Experience”

As already mentioned, a destination wedding is always an incredible experience. However, it also serves as a “double experience” of sorts in the sense that it allows you to visit a new and exciting place.

While the wedding itself may distract you from fully enjoying the exotic sites that surround you, there are still plenty of opportunities to double up on the experience before the big day arrives. For instance, you can plan extra-fun bachelor and bachelorette parties at the venue, allowing you to relax, let loose, and experience the destination itself outside of the business and bustle of the wedding day itself.

Con: A Destination Wedding Is Complicated

Weddings are always complicated, logistically speaking. However, if you plan a destination wedding on the other side of the world, or even a hundred miles away, you can increase the complications exponentially. You’re largely at the mercy of the resources of the venue itself and cannot invest as heavily in designing the look of the wedding in the weeks and months beforehand.

If you do choose a destination wedding, make sure to take the time to find your perfect interior style before you arrive on the premises. Consider following the same basic practices of designing a home’s interior — do you want a classic design for the wedding? Is a modern look more your vibe? Having these items sorted out beforehand can help you make the most of the time you do have on location before the ceremony takes place. 

Pro & Con: A Destination Wedding Can Be Private, but Important People Might Not Be There

Finally, there’s the double whammy of privacy. A destination wedding provides a unique opportunity to have a private ceremony attended by you and your closes confidants. It creates the perfect excuse to keep your guest list low and, by extension, your overall costs as well.

However, if you have a destination wedding, you must also be prepared for the possibility that important people may not be able to attend, either. If a relative or best friend cannot afford a plane ticket or doesn’t have enough PTO, they may have to bow out of the celebration.

I do? Deciding on a Destination Wedding.

Whether you’re thinking of the warm shores of Jamaica or the frigid beauty of Iceland, there are many considerations that go into deciding whether or not to have a destination wedding. From truncated guest lists — and potential no-shows — to overcoming complications and minimizing expenses, there are many considerations that detract from the allure of getting hitched somewhere else.

However, for all of the challenges, the opportunity to have a genuinely unique, one-of-a-kind experience still remains. This leaves you to size up the pros and cons and then try to make the decision with as much logic and reason as possible — which can be admittedly difficult with so many opinions flying around and emotions riding high. Good luck, and Godspeed.