The MANual: Reception

5 Reason To Have A Destination Wedding

At first glance, having a destination wedding might seem more complicated than having one close to home. You have to do all the same planning, without the advantage of being nearby. But in the right circumstances, a destination wedding can make things easier, not more difficult.

Read on to see if you should start packing your bags.

Reason #1: You Want A Small Wedding

For most guests, attending a destination wedding is a big commitment in time and money. Consequently, you can count on about 50% of the people you invite to decline the invitation (as opposed to the usual figure of around 17%). Small wedding achieved– without insulting people with a non-invite.

Of course, you do want some people there. Before you decide on a destination wedding, ask your “most important” guests if they’ll be able to come. Get your answers before you start the planning process, sign any documents, or put down any deposits.

Pro-tip: Find out if your potential guests have passports. Passports can take 4-6 weeks to obtain, so give them all enough time to get one.

Reason #2: Your Budget Is Tight

Remember that 50% decline-rate?  If half the people decline your invitation, you only have to pay for half as large a reception.

You can also save money by holding your destination wedding at an all-inclusive resort. We talk about the pros and cons of “all-inclusive” elsewhere. The right all-inclusive resort will save you cash while providing a kickass reception (in fact, they will be experts on planning destination weddings, and take a lot of work off your hands.)

Some tricks to keeping your cost low:

  • only invite your closest family & friends;
  • keep things simple (don’t over decorate or plan too many private events);
  • stay away from holiday weekends, when rates tend to be higher and rooms are more likely to sell out.
The Awkward Wedding Guest: A Glossary
Groom Duties

The Awkward Wedding Guest: A Glossary

Reason #3: You Don’t Want To Sweat The Small Things

When you enter into the destination wedding process, you’re being carried along by a well-oiled machine. Most resorts know what works best in their location and have their own contracted vendors. These vendors will be conscious of all the latest wedding trends that keep popping up on Pinterest and in bridal magazines.

What that translates to is a memorable wedding reception that you won’t have to create by yourself with a ton of painstakingly, hand-prepared details.

Reason #4: You Want To Savor The Wedding

Having all your loved ones and family in one place can be overwhelming: some married couples will tell you that their reception flew by, and they barely had time to have a real conversation with anyone.

One good thing about destination weddings is that they create a 3-day (or 5 day or 1 week) long celebration, instead of the 4-6 hour celebration of a hometown wedding.

That might not be great if 4-6 hours with your family is all you can stand, but if you actually like your extended clan, it means you get to spend quality time with them–as well as your new family–and they get time to spend with your new wife.  This is one of the best moments of your life, after all: you might as well savor it.

Hell or Paradise: Destination Weddings
Groom Duties

Hell or Paradise: Destination Weddings

Reason #5: You Want A Killer Honeymoon

A destination wedding can contribute to an extraordinary honeymoon in a couple of ways.

For a start, there’s all that money you saved with the smaller guest list and the all-inclusives, money that you are now free to spend on yourselves. Sure, if you were sensible, you’d put that savings into a Roth IRA or some other fancy financial product. But who the fuck wants to be sensible at a moment like this? If that money can get you a bigger over-the-water bungalow, or a few more days in a private island paradise, then what the hell are you waiting for?

Also, you’re already at a “destination.” You could just stay put and honeymoon there. No more travelling, no hasty packing to distract you. Just walk back down to the beach and chill for an extra two weeks. Or, if you want a change of scene, chances are you’re near some other incredible destination, whether it’s another resort or a city a short flight away.

Bottom Line

If you want to save money, and have a smaller guest list, you should consider getting married in a new locale. Though it seems like it would involve more work and expense, a destination wedding offers plenty of advantages, and an adventure for you, your families, and your guests.

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