Choosing the Perfect Destination for Your Wedding
If you’ve always dreamed of a beach wedding, a few hours trolling a website like Pinterest can have you downright giddy over the concept. The beachy hair, the adorable breezy dresses, the clever touches to add to your reception and of course, the amazing photo ops! However, unless you happen to live at the beach, this means you are looking at what is known as “a destination wedding.” The problem then becomes what destination should you choose?
Factors many people consider include: costs, resort packages, local laws and requirements, as well as available activities and amenities for you and your guests (e.g., theme parks, sports and recreation, spa services, outdoor activities, shopping), restaurants, accommodations, and ease of travel to and from your locale.
Jamaica is one spot that provides all of the above; weddings can occur as soon as 24 hours after your arrival, and you can save up to 40% from May-November during their off-peak season. Your guests will also have fabulous water-sports and activities to choose from in their downtime.
When Colorado resident, Leena Craig got married last June, the beach was a no brainer for her and her fiancé. Deciding which beach was a little trickier. They ended up choosing Siesta Key in the Florida Keys since “it wouldn’t be as expensive for family and friends to come versus going to Hawaii or elsewhere, especially because most of our guests live on the East Coast.”
With proper planning, a destination wedding can cost around the same amount as hosting the same party at home (depending on where you live). For example, if you live in a city, like New York City, then holding your wedding in Mexico will likely be less expensive than doing it at home, even when you factor in airfare, hotel expenses and planning excursions. Still there are extra expenses you’ll need to factor in for any destination wedding, welcome bags for guests, additional activities for guests and travel costs for you and your immediate families.
Many hotels and resorts offer destination wedding “packages,” where some or all wedding details are coordinated by an on-site professional. A simple package may include a bride’s bouquet and officiant. An elaborate package may include food, flowers, photography, champagne, cake, limo service, and a string quartet or steel drum band.
Local Laws and Requirements
The legal side of getting hitched in a different country can be complicated. Many countries have a “residency requirement” (for example, 24 hours in Turks and Caicos and 7 days in England), which means you must reside in the country for a certain length of time before your ceremony. Although this is usually just a few days, it can be longer. France requires you to arrive at least 40 days before the ceremony!
Consider Your Guests
Make it easy. Your guests will already be traveling to your wedding, so pick a place with easy access for visitors (think big cities or places within a short driving distance from major airports). If possible, consider organizing a few group activities. Besides the dinner/party the night before your wedding and the brunch the day after (which are pretty standard), think about throwing in another group activity that shows off the unique qualities of the destination you picked, like a bus tour into the town, snorkeling or zip-lining.
Now that you’ve decided your destiny, have fun choosing your destination! Contact The Tropical Travelers for help in planning your perfect wedding.