Are you newly or soon-to-be engaged and stressing about the details of your big day? Planning a wedding doesn’t have to be as expensive or complicated as you think. There’s a way to plan your dream wedding without agonizing over every detail or breaking the bank – have a destination wedding!
When my husband proposed in February 2017, we were certain of two things: we wanted to get married quickly and we wanted a destination wedding. We got married 10 months later overlooking a beach in Jamaica surrounded by 60 our closest family and friends.
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I was in a crazy season of life when my husband proposed, and the thought of planning an extravagant wedding was overwhelming. I found that planning a destination wedding reduced my stress, allowed us to enjoy being engaged and let us focus on the details of wedding planning that were most important to us, like creating customized welcome bags and designing our wedding logo.
Here are 7 reasons to get away for your big day:
1. Less is More When it Comes to Options
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A 2017 Pinterest study found that Pinners save nearly 900 million wedding Pins per year. That’s 900 million options… and that’s just on Pinterest! So many choices can become overwhelming, and you may start to doubt your vision for your big day.
A destination wedding provides fewer options, which takes the stress out of planning. Most resorts offer packages that can be tailored to meet your needs and vision. Our resort had a catalog with various packages, color schemes and upgrades.
You will also save time and energy by not reading and analyzing hundreds of reviews. We searched reviews to find the best resort for our wedding, but we didn’t have to spend hours scrolling through opinions of the DJ, photographer, band, caterer and hair and makeup artist.
2. Minimize Decor with Beautiful Scenery
With a breathtaking backdrop of the ocean, mountains or vineyard, you don’t have to put as much thought or money into the decor. Nature steps in and creates a canvas so you don’t have to make it yourself or spend hours searching Etsy.
My husband and I had three locations to choose from at our resort: the beach, a garden gazebo, or an indoor atrium. We chose the garden gazebo, which provided a bright blue sky, deep blue ocean and lush green garden, and required minimal decorations for our picture perfect day.
3. The Celebration Lasts Longer Than One Day
Have you been told to take a moment to savor the little things because you won’t remember much of the day? It goes by so fast that you hardly have time to greet all your guests. With a destination wedding, you get to celebrate with your loved ones for multiple days.
Since our guests stayed at the resort for three or more nights, we had many opportunities to spend time with them before and after the ceremony. We planned a welcome reception for our guests, hung out at the pool with our friends, went to dinner with our families and planned a beach day for one last hurrah before the celebration ended.
4. Limit the Guest List Without Offending Anyone
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I’ve heard horror stories of parents inviting their friends and taking up 25-50 percent of the overall guest list. In some instances, couples are not able to invite their friends to accommodate their parents’ invites. Other couples feel obligated to invite acquaintances or extended family they don’t know very well.
Brian and I preferred a small, intimate wedding with our closest family and friends. We invited 100 guests we knew well and thought would be interested in traveling for a destination wedding. We were shocked and honored to receive 60 positive RSVP responses. It was the perfect size for a fun celebration, without having to accommodate the 250 or more guests we would have for a traditional wedding back home.
5. Combine Wedding/Honeymoon Travel and Time Off Work
Since you’re already purchasing flights and taking time off work, a destination wedding is a perfect opportunity to combine your wedding and honeymoon in the same trip, while saving time and money. You may choose to extend your stay at the resort or find a different resort in the area, but you won’t have to book double flights or take extra time off work for travel.
While we enjoyed celebrating all week with our friends and family, my husband and I chose to stay at a different resort in Jamaica for our honeymoon. We chose a reasonably priced resort for our wedding so more of our friends and family would attend, and then splurged on a nicer resort for our honeymoon.
6. More Flexibility with Date and Time
Unless you are planning a wedding far into the future, you may find that your date and time are not available at your preferred venue. This could force you to choose a date and/or time you don’t really want, or select a different venue altogether.
Many resorts conduct multiple weddings per day at various locations across the resort, giving more flexibility and availability for the date and time. The wedding coordinator at our resort told us they typically hold 60 weddings per month. We had no issue booking our desired location, date and time for our ceremony and reception.
7. Usually, Guests Have to Travel Anyway
Unless you and your fiancé are from the same hometown, a number of your guests will have to travel for your wedding. Why not choose somewhere they can enjoy for more than one day. It gives them an opportunity to explore the location and make a personal vacation out of the wedding.
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I am from Virginia Beach, my husband is from Buffalo, New York, and we were living in Washington, D.C. when we were planning our wedding. No matter which location we chose, two-thirds of our guests would have had to travel. Most were excited to attend a destination wedding, and many extended their stay at the resort while we headed off to our honeymoon.
Though our main reason for having a destination wedding was ease of planning, we found it to be less expensive than a traditional wedding. Many of the reasons I mentioned above – minimal decor, fewer guests, combined wedding/honeymoon travel – made our wedding much more affordable than a large, traditional wedding back home.
Before you get too deep into you planning – destination wedding or not – I encourage you to create a wedding budget with your fiancé. I created a free download for budgeting for your wedding. It includes three conversations to have before creating your wedding budget, along with a budget spreadsheet template to get you started.
Holly is a newlywed on a mission to inspire and educate engaged and married couples about marriage and money through her blog Wedded Bliss Financial. She found that many couples want to have healthy communication about their finances, but struggle with how to get started. She provides tips and tools to strengthen marriages and create financial harmony. Follow her on Instagram @WeddedBlissFinancial.