Assess the effects on your guest list, timeline and pocket book before planning your matrimonial escape

Whether you believe a tropical sunset over the ocean or crisp mountain air may provide the perfect setting for your wedding away from home, you must take the time to consider the give and take related to your destination wedding.

Wedding ceremonies that are held outside of your everyday territory have a profound effect on everything related to your ceremony, but most specifically your guest list, timeline and budget. Consider these important items as you make your decision to have a destination wedding.

How does having a destination wedding affect your guest list?

Planning your destination wedding requires asking your guests to invest more time, planning and money than most traditional weddings. Having loftier requirements of your guests will make attendence somewhat exclusive as some guests do not enjoy traveling, or may not be able to afford the trip. Some couples may see this as an advantage as they try to limit the size of their guest list, but someone who wants to come will inevitably be left out due to the restrictions of traveling to your chosen destination.

When considering a destination wedding, you should make a list of the family and friends you want to make sure you have in attendence. You can begin to assess the capability of each guest’s means of making the trip, which will help you decide whether it is realistic to have a wedding away from home with or without them in attendence. Budget, health and experience travelling are all key factors which will affect each person’s desire and ability to travel to your destination.

If you believe that the people who are most important to you can be there and you are ready to proceed in planning, begin reaching out to the people on your guest list. Asking people to travel to your wedding is a big commitment, and you don’t want to surprise your most important guests – you will want their support before you proceed.

How does having a destination wedding affect the timeline of the ceremony?

Whether you are planning a half-day car trip or a flight half-way around the world to your wedding destination, you will have to provide plenty of time to accommodate all of your guests travel plans. Traditional wedding planners typically send out “save the date” reminders three to six months prior to the ceremony, but more advance notice may be necessary.

You may need to provide up to a full year of notice for weddings that require travel over a great distance or with time commitments of more than a long weekend so that your guests have plenty of time to plan time off from their jobs and to make their travel arrangements. For this reason, destination weddings are generally not ideal for couples who are in a hurry to get married and want to have a lot of people with them. This works in favor of couples who want to run away and escape to marital bliss without having to worry about bringing guests along.

You must also consider the seasonal conditions of your desired destination when setting your timeline. Some popular destinations have inclement weather that can affect travel and also put a damper on your ceremony. Warmer climates often have a rainy season or may be impacted by hurricanes, and cooler locations may be affected by undesirably low temperatures or large amounts of snow. Many resorts offer a “sunny day guarantee” which provides insurance against inclement weather and compensates guests with extra days on the resort. You will want to set a date that targets desirable weather but still gives your guests plenty of time to plan their trip.

How will having a destination wedding affect my pocket book?

The good news is that couples often save money by having a destination wedding. Resorts that specialize in weddings can accommodate the ceremony and reception for a fraction of the price of home. However, more financial strain may be placed on your guests as you are asking them to travel and invest their time into your wedding.

There are many resorts around the world that include a basic wedding service for no charge with your stay. You can add on many a la carte services to personalize the ceremony and reception and to accommodate all of your guests. All-inclusive resorts generally provide the least expensive ceremonies, as you have already paid for food and beverage with your stay.

Destination weddings have become a booming and competitive business due to their convenience in planning and their ability to come in at a lower price than a traditional wedding. Couples tend to save as they are generally combining the cost of travel for their honeymoon with wedding costs for a more intimate guest list, and exponentially decrease the cost of their reception

Is it right for you?

If you believe you have the time, finances and capable guests, then having a destination wedding can be a memorable getaway for your guests, and provide you with a unique setting for your special day. You may have to compromise some of your desires for your wedding, but flying out to your desired location can be a very high-reward situation with very little risk as long as you have honestly answered these questions.