He asked, and you said yes. How exciting! You can’t wait to begin planning your dream wedding. You start your journey to search for the “perfect” venue, florist, photographer, event designer, caterer, baker, videographer, DJ, limo company… the list goes on and on. Before you know it you are totally overwhelmed. Trust me, you’re not alone! Planning a wedding can be a daunting task, and an expensive one as well. According to Weddingstats.org, the 2012 average cost of a wedding is a whopping $27,000 (not including the honeymoon!). Many couples instead are opting for a destination wedding, which is typically not only less expensive but also includes the honeymoon.
Destination weddings are quickly growing in popularity due not only to their affordability, but the trend of couples wanting something more unique for their wedding experience. Wedding location options are virtually limitless, from stunning beaches or beautiful, lush gardens to saying your vows on horseback, underwater (yes your read that right!) or even underground. And the best part? Your honeymoon starts immediately once you say “I Do”!
One of the most popular destination wedding locations is on one of the islands in the Caribbean. With beautiful scenery and great weather for most of the year, it’s easy to see why couples often choose this option to celebrate the beginning of their lives together as one. Over 1/3 of all destination weddings take place somewhere in the Caribbean.
Some things to consider when deciding if a destination wedding is right for you are:
*Legal documents and paperwork
*Ease of travel
*type of accommodations
*time of year/weather
Poll your family and those “A-list” people in your life that simply must be in attendance on your special day. It’s heartbreaking to see a bride get so excited and start planning an amazing wedding abroad only to find out into the process that those closest to you may not be totally onboard with the idea. Have that all important conversation at the start so that you can move forward fully confident that those people will be in attendance. Make certain that your invited guests know they will need to have or obtain a passport in order travel internationally, and be sure to talk candidly with them to set a realistic budget of what their travel expenses will likely be to attend the wedding.
Once you’ve done your initial homework and decided that a destination wedding is right for you, what’s next? Find a travel agent that specializes in coordinating destination weddings. Trust me, the process will be so much easier if you have a professional in your corner that has the knowledge, resources and contacts to make the planning and execution or your big day run smoothly. A good destination wedding agent will be able to help you select the destination and resort that not only matches your “wedding vision”, but that offers the amenities and price point you want as well. They will coordinate the groups’ travel plans, help the couple work through details with the resort wedding planner, and be the point of contact for all the couple’s guests. That way, the stress of planning is greatly reduced for the couple and they can focus on the “fun stuff” like picking flowers, colors, etc.