How to Know if a Destination Wedding is Right for You

By Stas Furman • SineMax Films

Over recent years, couples have been moving toward an increased number of destination weddings. I want to take a minute and talk about pros and cons of destination weddings, and how they differ from keeping it local.

Destination weddings have increased 400% in recent years and are getting more and more popular. Common destination weddings are usually beach destinations. I was a part of a destination wedding in Turks and Caicos, and it was quite amazing, and the beautiful island is one of my favorite vacation locations. Aruba, Bahamas and Belize are among some of the top destination locations, as well.

The Advantages

The top advantage of the destination wedding that I have seen is the cost. An average destination wedding runs at approximately $17,000 for 100 people, where a traditional at-home wedding would run approximately $30,000 for the same amount. A huge advantage of a destination wedding is that you can incorporate your honeymoon ,as well as a vacation for others, and trust me your guests will appreciate it. Typically, guests would pay for their own packages (including hotel accommodations), while the bride and groom are usually responsible for the rest of the festivities.

Because your guests have to travel, these weddings tend to be on the smaller side of around 50 guests. If you are not looking to have a huge number of people, this is definitely something to consider. On the other hand, you run the risk of not having some of your guests attend because of cost issues and their ability to travel.

Décor of the venue is usually much simpler only because the backdrop of the . The additional costs you should consider are flight, hotel, travel cost for your out-of-town vendors, as well as a wedding planner, as you can’t be on location to plan it yourself.

Although it seems like a lot of work, it is significantly less than it would be for a traditional wedding. In total, for approximately 50 guests, your cost would most likely run under $10,000.

It you are planning to stay for your honeymoon, it might be a good idea to move to a different resort following the ceremony and reception, especially if you want some privacy. It is common for many guests to stay for a full vacation.

If gifts are a big deal to you, a destination wedding may not be right for you, as your guests would already be spending a significant amount of money to just attend.

With regards to having your memories captured at a destination wedding, you can get more bang for your buck than at a traditional at-home wedding. Your videographer and the photographer can capture more than just one day you would normally get in the traditional wedding. They can capture your entire trip approximately for the same cost – your rehearsal dinner, the day of the wedding and even a few says after.

Attendees & Your At-Home Wedding

Now let’s talk about a traditional home wedding. A huge advantage is that most people you invite will most likely attend, however the costs are significantly more than a destination wedding. The reception will run you anywhere from $75-$200 per guest, depending on the venue.

Time-wise things need to be planned more in advance, especially if you have a particular popular venue in mind, as they do get booked quite fast. Décor of the wedding is also more elaborate. You will also need to take care of transportation not only for yourself but maybe your guests as well. So, if you combine all the cost a traditional wedding, it will probably start at approximately $30,000. One thing to keep in mind you will receive gifts that will probably offset some of the cost.

So as you can see the cost are different, but in all honestly it comes down to a personal preference on a size and feel of the wedding. If you would like to have everyone there – your friends, extended family co-workers – and have a really elaborate affair, a traditional wedding is what you should probably go for. If you are more of a private couple and are looking for a small, private, simple or intimate event, you should opt in for a destination wedding.

Stas Furman