Destination weddings

Photo Illustration by Irina Beffa

Imagine, it’s your wedding day. The sun is shining and everyone you love is close by. The thought of going back to everyday life and facing the expenses incurred for your wedding does not even enter your mind. Everything you needed to make your dream day come true is there. The soft sound of the ocean is your wedding music and there is a breeze that comforts you.

Or, you are standing on the exact spot where your great-grandmother was married. You can feel the warmth of generations surrounding you and blessing your marriage.

These are possible dreams. Destination weddings – weddings held outside of the area where the bride and groom live – are becoming more popular. About 17 percent of all weddings that occur are destination weddings.

One of the main factors is the mobility of people today. Many times the bride’s and/or groom’s family lives in another city or state. The choice is to have the family join the couple where the couple lives, hold the wedding where the family lives or select another city, state or country where everyone will travel for the wedding.

Also, many brides are more in tune with their heritage today. To get married where their grandmother or great-grandmother got married – in Europe, for example – puts them directly in touch with their heritage. With the advent of the internet, finding where the wedding occurred and whether that location is available is possible now.

The stress and costs of planning a wedding send many brides to seek another alternative, as well. The most popular wedding destinations have staff that are trained and experienced in assisting the brides long distance. There will likely be fewer guests, so the costs for the bride are lower. And many destinations offer special discounts to couples who want to honeymoon and get married at the same location.

Most hotels today offer discounted rates for guests of the bride and groom, in exchange for guaranteeing a certain number of sleeping rooms.

The Caribbean is fast becoming one of the most popular, and least costly, wedding destinations. Wedding season here (June-October) is low season for the Caribbean, hence airfares and hotel stays are less costly. Jamaica in particular is anxious to have brides and grooms travel there for their weddings. The variety of beautiful wedding locations in Jamaica is countless. And, many of their resorts and all-inclusive hotels offer the bride and groom a free, or highly discounted, wedding if they stay there for their honeymoon.

Las Vegas is the most popular wedding destination. The themed hotels offer weddings that give the feel of being in a different country. If you can’t travel to Italy to get married, have your wedding at the Venetian.

The beautiful, natural backdrops in Lake Tahoe make it a popular destination, especially for Northern California brides. Most of the hotels there have a wedding specialist on staff who can help plan every detail of the wedding, plus offer great rates.

With the internet, the growing number of destination wedding specialists and the lure of the destinations; where you get married is limited only by your own imagination.

—Julia Markel
V.P. of the Association for Wedding Professionals, International