Originally, destination weddings were more synonymous with eloping or an alternative to big, over-the-top weddings: you’d grab a few close friends and family and head down south for a quick get-away. But over the past fifteen years or so, destination weddings have become increasingly popular and include everywhere from Sonoma to Aspen, to Maine and Florida – with many adventurous couples even planning weddings abroad. And why not? Most often, destination weddings are less formal, more cost effective, and involve less drama than hometown weddings.
Photo Via WedFest
The true impetus for many is the desire to have something original, a wedding weekend that stands out among the more cookie-cutter ones. With the advent of destination weddings, brides and grooms have more ownership over decisions as neither set of parents can lay claim on the venue. With the help of Pinterest and wedding web sites, couples can tailor their weddings to the location. Weddings in the mountains may feature barns or cabins, wildflowers, haystacks – possibly even horses or livestock. Coastal weddings may include ceremonies on the beach, fruity cocktails, steel drum or calypso bands.
Song Saa Wedding, Photo by Mott Visual Weddings
Another added bonus? The guests who are able to make the trip will have many more activities available to them. At a certain close friend’s recent wedding in Healdsburg, we spent one afternoon wine tasting around Sonoma and the next day touring breweries. My husband’s most memorable destination wedding activity was a trip to the Burt Reynolds and Friends Museum in Jupiter Florida. No kidding – he still has the hat he bought at the gift shop. Point being – we all love to travel to new places, have novel experiences, and being a guest at a destination wedding is often a mini-vacation.
Photo: Erica Chan
A few final things to keep in mind:
- If kids are involved, you’ll keep everyone happy if you schedule a destination wedding during the summer break.
- Even at the height of wedding season, there will be conflicts. Don’t take it personally if not every single person you invite can make it; for many, the cost of plane tickets and lodging will prevent them from attending.
- For those who do make the trek, put together an extra special welcome bag. It’s a nice gesture to great your guests with something to eat and drink upon their arrival. For your bridesmaids, who have most likely put in even more effort, make them feel appreciated with special tokens for the weekend – matching robes that you can all wear as you’re getting dressed or a gift that ties into the location – wraps for cold weather, sandals or flip flops for the tropics. You get the idea…
Destination Weddings Bridesmaid Gift via Doie Lounge
And remember, a destination wedding does not exempt you from the regular potential pitfalls of a wedding: there could be rain, snow or excessive heat, and at least a few guests will most likely be over-served. But as they say, a rainy wedding day predicts a happy marriage.
Liz Mathews is a Connecticut based mother, teacher, and freelance writer who blogs on children’s books and related topics at La La La. Her work has appeared in Quality Women’s Fiction, Town and Country magazine, and Literary Mama.