Most brides (and grooms too) want a truly memorable wedding day, and more often than not, that means going for something different like travelling thousands of miles across the seas to exchange I Dos in an exotic location.
Destination weddings may sound romantic and fun, but not always for the couple, and their family and friends. Wedding organizers may get headaches from it too, but they are paid for their services so I am not counting them here.
And yet more and more couples are choosing to drag their wedding parties farther and farther. It does not help that nearly all celebrities are doing it and dropping fortunes here and there, making destination weddings an aspiration for every engaged pair.
So before you take the plunge in a land far, far away, consider these 7 reasons to ensure your dream wedding does not turn into a disappointing reality.
#1 It will cost (a lot) more.
Weddings are expensive. Big or small, expect a price tag on everything, and it’s a long list that includes entertainment for guests, food and service, venue, cake, and souvenirs. Did you notice that the list does not even include your wedding dress? Which of course you will need, and your husband will have to wear a suit too.
When you decide to take your wedding to another country, even just to another province, the prices will go up. We’re not just talking double here – the more exotic the location, the bigger your expenses.
But if you have planned for it and are ready to spend all that cash, and know that you won’t start your marriage broke, go ahead and start packing.
#2 It will be an intimate affair.
WeddingChannel.com and the Knot, two popular wedding Web sites, polled over 2,000 destination brides back in 2009 when the trend was starting to rise on why they opted to spread their wings so to speak. The Washington Post reported the survey showed 72 percent preferred a “more intimate wedding/fewer guests/close friends.”
So maybe a destination wedding is a strategy to keep the affair small, and keep away some unwanted relatives and acquaintances that expect invitations. Unless you have very deep pockets, most destination weddings have guests under 100. This is a huge reduction from the usual 300 to 500 to 1,000 guests in Filipino weddings.
#3 Are your family and friends ready for it?
Karen Fratti of Hellogiggles.com described it best: you’re asking a lot when you invite family and friends to join you in another continent to personally witness tying the knot with your bride or groom.
If they’re working, they’ll need to take a leave as this will involve more than just the weekend. What if they were saving their vacation days for a trip they really want to take? How about the elderly relatives you want there? Or pregnant family and friends? Can they still travel?
If you’re set on a destination wedding, consider a date that will fall on a long weekend when most people will be off work. Pick a venue that can accommodate guests with limitations, so maybe no hilltops that are not accessible by car. Yes, the view will be fantastic, but there will be fewer people to gather around you and witness one of you life’s milestones.
#4 Maybe you can afford it, but can your guests say the same thing?
We already covered that destination weddings are expensive for you. But they can also be quite costly for the guests. If you’re exchanging vows outside of town, guests will need to look for a place to stay overnight, unless they are committed to travel more hours longer than your wedding ceremony to get back home on the same day.
If you are tying the knot overseas, guests will also have to shell out for air fare, their meals on the days before and after the wedding, and a hotel stay too. Basically, you are asking them to take a vacation in a place of your choosing.
A kinder way to manage this would be to talk to the people you really want to come and share with them your plans. Keep an open mind as they may have ideas they can share that will make it a dream wedding for you and for them too. Maybe no to a venue that requires sitting 7 hours on the plane, but just one or two hours away.
#5 Take lots of vitamins and bring for your guests too.
Hellogiggles.com warns brides that they risk not being at their best when they travel. “Travel can seriously mess up your immune system. No matter where you go, you risk coming down with a cold before your big day,” wrote Fratti.
If you and your groom are confident all will be okay, that’s great. But no harm in taking vitamins every day until the wedding day. You may also want to fly in earlier so you can adjust to the weather (if it’s warmer or cooler than where you will be coming from). You want to be blushing, not flushing, as you walk down the aisle.
#6 Expect fewer gifts, or none at all.
I once received an invitation for a wedding in California, but there was a note from the couple that said "your presence is your present". That was a nice touch, and almost made me want to go. But traveling to the US while my daughters had classes for a weekend wedding is regrettably too much for my middle class sensibilities.
But there have been other invitations too for destination weddings that were silent on the gift thing so I would bring one if I went, or send one with my regrets if I couldn’t.
With your guests spending so much to simply attend, most might skip a gift or give a less expensive one. And since your wedding party will be smaller, that also means fewer gift possibilities. Maybe you don’t mind, but I remember one of the best things from my wedding was the enormous gift pile by the door. So I had more rice cookers and oven toasters and electric irons than I needed in a lifetime. Go ahead and judge me, but I was happy.
#7 What about the honeymoon?
Most couples look forward to a honeymoon to get away and discover more about each other. But with a destination wedding, chances are that’s your honeymoon too. With all the pre-wedding planning, that could also have taken most of your vacation days leaving you with fewer honeymoon days.
And guess what, your honeymoon has more than the two people required. No doubt some of your guests will decide to stay a few extra days to make the trip worth it, so be ready to hang out with them too.
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Whether you have the budget or no, I would recommend a destination wedding only if the amount you will spend on it will be equal or less than the amount you will have in your savings and investment accounts after exchanging I Dos. It may be picture-perfect, but a secure financial future is a far better picture to own.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.