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Factors to consider before deciding on a destination wedding

In its 2012 Destination Weddings Study, the XO Group Inc., creator of the popular wedding Web site, found that nearly 25 percent of all weddings are destination weddings. Couples who want to make their special day even more so are choosing to have their weddings at idyllic destinations or other unique locales that boast special meaning.

But as popular as destination weddings may be, there are factors that the bride- and groom-to-be must consider on their way to deciding if a destination wedding is for them.


Couples with large families tend to look at destination weddings as more affordable than a wedding in their hometown. That's because destination weddings tend to attract fewer guests, which is fewer mouths to feed at the reception. But a smaller guest list will not necessarily offset the cost of getting married at a seaside resort. Such resorts may have shorter wedding seasons, increasing the competition for the venue and subsequently driving up the price. In addition, the cost of travel to such resorts can prove costly for couples and their guests, especially if the resort only hosts weddings during the height of its tourist season.


Local laws also must be considered before deciding on a destination wedding. Some locales require couples to establish residency within the town's limits before they can get married, and the paperwork to get married overseas can be significant. Planning a wedding can be difficult enough without having to do extra work to secure a wedding license. Many couples may find a destination wedding is more difficult than they anticipated.


Remote islands may seem like the ideal place for an intimate wedding, but such locales may not have the same resources as more developed destinations. For example, the reception menu for a wedding in a remote island locale may be far more limited due the difficulty of getting certain foods onto the island while they're still fresh. In addition, such a locale likely won't have as many options with regard to vendors, forcing couples to go with less experienced professionals and leaving them at the mercy of local vendors' rates.


While a small guest list might seem like a great way to save money, couples who come from closely knit families may find a destination wedding excludes many of their guests who simply can't afford to make the trip. That can make a couple regret the decision to have a destination wedding later on when they look back on their wedding day and recognize that so many of their valued friends and family members were unable to attend.


According to the Destination Weddings Study, roughly one-third of couples who choose destination weddings plan a group activity such as sightseeing for their guests, and more than half of those couples pay for the cost of the activity out of their own pockets. Such activities, while fun and a nice gesture for guests who made the trip despite the cost, can have a large impact on a couple's wedding budget.

Destination weddings continue to be a popular choice for couples tying the knot. But couples must consider more than just cost before deciding if a destination wedding is for them.