Destination weddings have become popular in recent years, and it is estimated that about 20% of all weddings are now destination weddings. A destination wedding is typically an event where the bride and groom plan an away from home wedding, inviting their closest family members and friends to an ideal location and make the event a semi-vacation. Many resorts offer destination wedding packages and on-site wedding planners who can help couples create the wedding of their dreams.
One of the most popular locations is, of course, Las Vegas. (about 100,000 weddings a year) Other common destination wedding locations include Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Cruises also provide exciting venues for destination weddings.
(Photo Credit: Dave Getzschman)
In addition to great locations, an advantage of destination weddings is that they are typically less expensive for the couple, since they are smaller and the couple pays for their accommodations, travel costs and the venue charges. Guests are expected to pay for their own accommodations and travel costs. However, couples can elect to pay for the accommodations of their guests and even cover the travel costs. It all depends on their budget.
In addition to being less expensive, destination weddings can be more relaxed, which further reduces or eliminates the costs associated with bridesmaid gowns and tuxedo rentals. Some weddings, such as beach locations, can be extremely relaxed with a dress code requesting casual attire and sandals.
Destination weddings are typically smaller than traditional weddings, with the guest count ranging from just the bride and groom plus honor attendants to around 50 or 60 guests. It all depends on the location. The farther guests need to travel, the more expensive and perhaps less likely guests are to attend. The average travel cost for attendees is around $500.
Many couples choose a destination wedding because they view it as more exciting and romantic and than a close to home wedding. They can say “I do” virtually anywhere with as many or as few guests as they choose. Couples also enjoy the lower cost of destination weddings. Typically some $3-10K cheaper .(for some info about the real numbers behind the common statistics check out this blog post “how much does a wedding cost?”
Of course, the cost can be much lower or higher depending on the wedding elements and number of guests. For more here is a nice article about the numbers behind destination weddings
While couples can plan their destination wedding themselves, venues offer wedding packages with pre-selected components that make the wedding arrangements easier for the couple. When a package isn’t an option professional wedding planners are also available for hire and can take on the planning for the entire wedding. It is often easier to hire a professional who is located in the area where the wedding will take place rather than attempting to make all of the arrangements long distance.
Here are some examples of such typical packages: Sandals in the Caribbean, Treasure Island in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Turtle Bay Resort in Oahu, Hawaii. Each one has unique venues and a variety of elements to create the wedding of any couple’s dreams.
Sandals Weddings offers couples the flexibility to either design their own wedding or choose from pre-designed wedding themes that make it easier. Professionals designed the unique wedding themes, which include flowers, décor, reception table and the wedding cake. The pre-designed wedding packages range in price from $2 thousand to $3 thousand. When couples book a certain number of rooms at the resort, Sandals will offer a free wedding package that includes a table set up for four with a centerpiece and wedding cake.
Couples can also take advantage of Sandals’ wedding catalog, which offers a variety of wedding cakes, decoration options, bouquets, table settings and more if they choose to design their own wedding. They also provide couples with a wedding and honeymoon gift registry along with a personal wedding website and a wedding blog.
Sandals also offers packages for families and groups with special rates depending on the number of rooms booked.
Las Vegas is one of the two most popular wedding destinations in the world. Many resorts offer wedding packages, here an example from the Treasure Island resort. The Wedding Chapel at Treasure Island offers affordable, comprehensive wedding ceremony and reception packages ranging in price from $800 to around $2,000.
Treasure Island has three main venues for the wedding ceremony, including the more traditional chapel, the Song Ship or poolside options. They also offer several services to enhance the experience, including photography and video, bridal bouquets, music, hair and makeup for the bride and other options to make the wedding unique and tailored to the couple’s tastes.
Turtle Bay Resort- Hawaii
Turtle Bay Resort reports that it is ranked among the top ten honeymoon hotels in Hawaii and boasts that more than 350 weddings take place on the lawns and beaches of the resort each year. Turtle Bay offers wedding packages that include the resort room fees, which start at around $11 thousand. The all-inclusive packages include the ceremony, limousine, hair and makeup for the bride, a tropical flower bouquet, a non-denominational officiate, photography and the resort room for the bride and groom and more.
The wedding venues at Turtle Bay include breathtaking beaches, a glass-walled wedding pavilion, and even a spot on the 18th hole of the Palmer Golf Course on the property.