Let me tell you a little story about my recent 10 year wedding vow renewal. Yes, I (Christi Winsor) have been married for over a decade! We decided to commemorate our anniversary by renewing our vows in a beautiful international destination that is near and dear to me personally. This is 10 years after our local Tampa wedding, and out of our original 100 guests we had about 7 of those same people present for our vow renewal, plus another 10 very close friends we made over those last ten years (this goes to show how close you really are to some of those original guests you ‘have to invite’). Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVED my wedding! It was the BEST day of my life and I had a blast with everyone who was there to celebrate with us. But once I spent 3 days in paradise with this small group of my closest friends and family, enjoying their company for sightseeing and excursions, our incredible vow renewal event, and casual breakfasts and poolside hangs, I realized “Wow, this is the INCREDIBLE! Every wedding should be more like this!” (And I plan local weddings for a living!! That’s really saying something!!)
Whether you’ve considered a destination wedding or you’ve always thought you’d marry locally, you MUST read this article and ask yourself these questions before you have serious wedding remorse!
Do you have a modest wedding budget?
The National average wedding costs around $33.400 for only 136 guests - or about $245 per person! (And Florida tends to come in closer to $40,000, higher than the National average). If you aren’t prepared to spend this kind of money, or if your anticipated guest count for your local wedding tends to be very high, you should seriously consider a destination wedding. After all, guest count is the single biggest factor in your wedding budget and overspending! Destination weddings tend to cost less than local weddings due to a smaller head count, a more favorable currency rate, or both! (sometimes up to 1/3 the price - ask us for more info!)
Do you long for a unique guest experience that your friends and family will remember over all other weddings?
This is a time where every couple wants their wedding to be unique and different, but if you’re getting married locally and inviting a lot of local people within your social network, chances are your guests have attended a wedding at your venue before, seen your band perform at another wedding already, or even eaten those same cupcakes before your big day. If you want to provide your guests a unique and memorable experience that will make every other home-town wedding pale in comparison, then you should give a destination wedding some thought. There are plenty of options to suit your desired travel distance and event style (i.e. not every destination wedding is on a beach! HELLO!)
Are you worried the day will go by too quickly, without enough quality time with the ones you love most?
This is a big motivator! A wedding day goes by crazy fast (ask anyone who has been recently married); you’re lucky to spend about 4 hours with your guests during your reception, maybe up to 8 hours with those extra special people who are in your wedding party and shadowing you before the festivities. Ideally you should plan to spend a little time with everyone who attends your wedding, and that’s already hard enough to do with an average count of 136 guests let alone more than that number (let’s see, if we divide them into pairs and have 3.5 hours of reception time after the formal dances finish, that means you need to greet almost 20 couples per hour in order to have face time with everyone… Sound like fun? No?!? Wait, you mean you want to dance and socialize and enjoy yourself instead of feeling like you’re running for office? Well there is another option…) Cue the Destination Wedding! A typical destination wedding spans a weekend instead of a single evening (sometimes even 3-4 days depending on the location). Often an all-inclusive resort will offer your lodging and wedding venue all on site. This gives you ample time with your guests, both before and after the actual wedding. And since the guest count for a destination wedding is often a smaller group of your truly closest friends and family, you have even more quality time with that tight knit group of people. It’s win-win!
Do you love to travel?
If the answer is Yes, then a destination wedding should really be at the top of your list! This gives you the opportunity to gift yourself a unique wedding travel experience along with your friends and family. Be it a favorite vacation spot you’ve visited before, or somewhere new and exciting you’ve always wanted to see, imagine how special it would be to share that distinct ‘local’ flavor and culture as part of your wedding day experience. And even if your answer was No, but you answered Yes to the other 3 questions above, you shouldn’t rule out the idea of a destination wedding. Some locations are as close as a 2 hour plane ride away; that’s less than most drives across the state! It may be worth expanding your venue search if it means getting everything else you’ve ever wanted.
Photo Credit: Lifelong Photography Studios