Complete Guide to Destination Weddings

What is a Destination Wedding?

A destination wedding is a wedding that is held in a setting away from your hometown. Oftentimes a destination wedding and the subsequent honeymoon are celebrated at the same resort venue.

What’s a destination wedding like? Picture yourselves in a warm, luxurious atmosphere with happy friends and family toasting the two of you after recuperating from travel time. Music plays and a feast of fine food awaits.

Why Choose a Destination Wedding?

An opportunity for a couple to hold a wedding in a romantic location without spending a fortune, a destination wedding removes many of the stresses of planning a regular wedding. Every wedding detail can be arranged at a resort destination to suit your taste from afar. After the wedding ceremony, the celebration can last for hours or even days, with meals and outings arranged for you and your guests.

A destination wedding can be as cool and casual as you like. Want to wear flip-flops or barefoot and dig your toes into the sand at a beach wedding? You got it! No heavy brocade wedding gowns or stultifying tuxedoes required, either. Make the ceremony as short as you like, then strip down to your bathing suits and swim away. Or head to a patio, start the music and champagne toasts for a party that can last until the stars com out.

Where to Have a Destination Wedding

The short answer: Anywhere you want. The longer answer: If you want to get legally married outside of the country, you’ll need to abide by that nation’s wedding requirements and bring all necessary documents. A waiting period, even proof of inoculations, may be required.

Do call an area’s Tourist Office to learn the legal requirements for marrying in the destination. Some Caribbean islands require residency prior to the ceremony plus proof of citizenship, completing several documents, and a nominal fee. The way many couples circumvent this is by first marrying at their local town hall and then having a symbolic ceremony in the destination they select. Bermuda is a romantic place to wed, and several resorts offer turnkey wedding packages.

While some couples choose to get married atop a glacier or in scuba gear under the sea, the most popular wedding destinations are beach resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico. Many are experienced in hosting destination weddings and can provide a turnkey affair, providing everything from the setting to the officiant and an altar, flowers and cake, music and photography services. Check their websites to see if they have a weddings section with set packages that can be customized.

Couples on a budget can also marry inexpensively at an all-inclusive resort.  Sandals offers free basic ceremonies to couples who book a stay for three nights or longer. Other all-inclusive companies, such as Iberostar in Mexico, offer wedding packages that start at $999.

Who Pays for a Destination Wedding

The etiquette of a destination wedding generally calls for invited guests to pay for their own airfare and accommodations. The bride and groom pick up the tab for the ceremony, reception, guest food and beverages, and additional festivities. They may also want to prepare goody bags filled with a location map, SPF, flip-flops, a bottle of wine, and a welcome letter.

A Destination Wedding Isn’t for Everyone

Brides and grooms who have known forever that they will want to celebrate their wedding in their hometown, perhaps reciting vows in the same church or synagogue where their parents or even grandparents wed, will not want to travel out of town. 

Couples who don’t enjoy travel shouldn’t have a destination wedding, either. Nor should couples who look at their guest list and know that many people who matter to them would not be able to attend a faraway wedding because of finances, time constraints, family obligations, or for other reasons. But if a destination wedding sounds like the answer to your prayers, go for it!

Follow Us