What Is a Destination Wedding?

With a destination wedding, the happy couple chooses to take their ceremony on the road. Selecting a location either for its scenic backdrop or a more personal connection, they will invite their families, friends, wedding party members, guests to join them for the ultimate romantic adventure of a lifetime.

beach wedding

How Do Destination Weddings Work?

If planning a wedding locally sounds stressful, you might assume it would be doubly so to plan a destination wedding. This could not be further from the truth. Not only are destination weddings generally much simpler to plan, but they are often more affordable as well!


What Are the Benefits of Having a Destination Wedding?

There are several major benefits to planning a destination wedding, but here are the two major ones:

  • Vastly fewer arrangements
  • Typically less costly

If you plan your wedding locally, you must take care of individual tasks such as booking locations for the rehearsal dinner, ceremony, and reception; ordering flowers, food, balloons, and cake; hiring a DJ or wedding band; and planning the honeymoon.  With a destination wedding, you simply need to choose the date and location. Typically, apart from airfare, all other arrangements are inclusive in your destination wedding package!

beach wedding celebration

Why Are Destination Weddings More Affordable Than Traditional Weddings?

According to a study conducted by The Knot, the cost of an average wedding is typically more expensive than that of a destination wedding.


Though this may initially seem counterintuitive, there are reasons behind this:

  • Many resorts offer group discounts to wedding parties
  • Varying exchange rates in foreign locations often lead to better “deals”
  • With a dramatic backdrop, couples spend much less (or nothing) on decorations
  • Fewer guests typically travel to destination weddings, meaning lower overall costs
  • Destination weddings often double as honeymoons, bundling those expenses

Though not all of these scenarios apply every time, they serve as prime examples of why destination weddings are often more affordable than local ones.

How Do I Make Sure My Guests Can Afford to Attend Our Destination Wedding?

With destination weddings, the biggest concern is generally making sure your guests can afford the travel expenses.

One of the best ways to ensure they can swing the costs (particularly if there is a long, expensive flight involved) is to allow guests plenty of time to save up and set money aside. A longer lead time also gives them ample opportunity to shop around for deals and catch seasonal rates.

How Far in Advance Do I Need to Plan My Destination Wedding?

Anything under a year would be difficult to manage; not only because it would not allow your guests much time to plan ahead financially but also because popular wedding destination sites begin to book up early. For the best outcomes, try to finalize your plans anywhere from a year to a year and a half in advance.

couple on a beachWhat Are the Legal Requirements When Getting Married Out of the Country?

Short answer: it depends.

Every country has its own legal requirements concerning marriage. Once you have selected your destination, be sure to conduct careful research so that you can be prepared with any items required: passport, birth certificate, blood tests, or what have you. Fortunately, if you book with a destination wedding service, your consultant is often able to advise you in these matters. Be sure to take their advice seriously and follow through on any steps they recommend.

How Much Does a Destination Wedding Cost?

Naturally, the costs for a destination vary according to many factors:

  • Location
  • Time of year
  • Size of your wedding party
  • Any planned group activities and “extras”
  • The specific destination wedding service you partner with
  • Level of the destination wedding package you select (standard to deluxe)
  • The number of days you stay at the destination, both before and after the ceremony

While the average price of a destination wedding clocks in around $35,000, many destination weddings can be booked for a significantly lower price tag, averaging between $8,000-$10,000.

How Do I Get a Destination Wedding Marriage License?

Whether domestic or international, every location will have its own regulations. If you are planning for your destination wedding ceremony to take care of the legal aspects of your marriage, always be sure to check with your destination wedding coordinator well in advance to learn what steps will be required.


family celebrating weddingWhat Percentage of Guests Actually Attend a Destination Wedding?

In most cases, between 10%-20% of all guests you invite to a standard wedding will decline. When planning a destination wedding, know that the percentage will veer more toward the 20% statistic and perhaps even exceed it.


How Should I Travel on a Plane With My Wedding Dress?

Fortunately, airlines are accustomed to helping brides with their gowns. Though they generally have plans in place to allow for gowns to be carried on and hung in a safe and secure compartment, each airline handles cases differently. It’s important that you call your airline well in advance and pack your dress carefully in a garment bag for secure transport.

How Do I Travel With Destination Wedding Favors and Wedding Gift Bags?

Honestly, you should first ask yourself if this is a responsibility you want to (or even need to!) take care of yourself. In many cases, wedding favors and gift bag items can be purchased upon arrival at your destination, and some destination wedding services can even add this task to their list of responsibilities.

Where Do I Get My Hair and Makeup Done for My Destination Wedding?

If you’re planning to hire a professional to take care of your hair and makeup, your coordinator can offer connections to the best local options. Often, your beauty treatments can be taken care of in-house at the resort! In many cases, the professionals can be brought to you. You may not even need to leave your room!

We can help

Here at Gulf Beach Weddings, we partner with many local vendors. We will work our connections to get you the best resources for your destination wedding. Contact us at any time with any questions.

We look forward to hearing from you and helping you plan the perfect romantic destination wedding!

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