10 Fantastic Destination Weddings and How to Make Them Happen
Updated: Jul 30
The recent spike in coronavirus cases has again driven people into seclusion. Areas and venues where groups gather that had been reopened are now being shut down again, and it is likely that more stringent restrictions on large functions will soon be imposed. Because of restrictions on groups sizes, health concerns, and decreasing availability, couples planning their nuptials during the covid crisis had already turned to smaller, innovative celebrations. Now with potentially even tighter restrictions, there has never been a better time to consider the intimacy of a destination wedding. But don’t think of this as a concession. Destination weddings offer a number of advantages that will make your event something to remember. ●Simplicity: Smaller numbers means less planning, and destinations accustomed to hosting wedding parties often offer packages that take the planning out of your hands so that you can enjoy the special day (and all the days leading up to it). ●Cost: If you choose to ask guests to cover their own expenses for travel and accommodations, the destination wedding can be a very cost effective way to hold your nuptials. ●Less family drama: The destination wedding takes away the home court advantage from either side of the family and reduces the number of family guests that might not mesh. Say goodbye to cousin Cletus’s notorious drunken toast crashes. ●More relaxed: Because things are simpler, because you’ve saved money, and because drama is at a low, you can relax in a setting that is beautiful and offers lots of activities that will keep you in a zen state. ●Unique: Forget the family squabbles over tradition or whose town offers the best setting. Choose a destination that represents you as a couple. The wedding photos will be stunning and the memories will last a lifetime. ●The honeymoon starts right away: If you’ve chosen your dream location, there’s no need to hit the road with “I do.” You may, of course, want to remind your guests of their departure time, and discourage family members from that extended stay. Making It Happen While a destination wedding can be easier and more relaxing, there are considerations that will make things go even more smoothly. First, discuss as a couple what you envision for your ideal wedding. Do you want to stay domestic or would you rather go somewhere international? What sort of setting do you want--beach, mountains, urban, rural? Are you looking for something more elegant and extravagant or are you ready for the rough and tumble? Answering these sorts of questions early on will help you pick the best venue within your budget and gives you the opportunity to seek activities that suit your lifestyle. And while we’re speaking of budgets, be sure you understand what you’re willing to spend. A destination wedding can be cheaper if you are asking guests to cover their own expenses, but if you are planning to cover the costs, a chic wedding in a desirable location with chef prepared food could cost as much as $1,000 per guest. Be sure to plan out your destination wedding budget. Make decisions early on what you can/are willing to cover and convey that to your guests. Another important consideration, particularly if you are traveling abroad is to investigate the destination laws on marriage. You may have to spend more time there than you intended in order to meet legal requirements, and, if you’re planning a same-sex wedding, laws can be very stringent in some countries. The easiest way to avoid problems is to hold a “symbolic wedding” at your destination and have the actual ceremony back home. Once you have a handle on local laws, be sure to consider the season in planning your wedding. Popular destinations often have high seasons and planning outside of that window will usually cost less. However, those seasons sometimes exist for a reason. Planning a tropical wedding at a destination during monsoon season may not be the best idea! Finally, get some help. Planning a wedding from afar, particularly in a place that is foreign or unfamiliar to you can not only be difficult but can lead to serious problems. Having someone local on whom you can rely to make arrangements offers you the comfort of knowing things have been done right. To make things really easy, look for destination wedding packages that put the planning in the hands of local professionals with loads of experience. A Top Ten to Get You Started There are so many wonderful destinations at which you could hold a memorable wedding, but we’d like to offer some favorites that speak to different settings and different wedding concepts. Ocean Front Perhaps nothing is more popular than the beach-front wedding and here are a few beautiful secluded spots for you to consider. 1. A Costa Rican wedding offers lovely white-sand beaches and tropical jungles. You’ll find intimate settings at Florblanca Resort on the pacific coast, an award-winning venue with standalone villas set amongst the lush greenery. 2.Bequia Beach in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is the ideal spot for those seeking a remote and quiet ceremony. Bequia’s seven square miles has only 5,000 residents; has no chain hotels or restaurants, no stop lights, and no gated communities; and has private villas on quiet beaches. 3.Chatham Bars Inn provides an Atlantic Ocean backdrop for your waterfront wedding. This former hunting lodge on Cape Cod boasts a quarter-mile private beach and its gorgeous Octagon house for a most romantic ocean-front wedding. 4.On the verge of Half-Moon Bay outside of San Francisco, the Ritz Carlton provides one of the most stunning cliffside backdrops of the Pacific Ocean and offers award-winning cuisine for a memorable wedding dinner. Remote Whether you’re looking for mountains, desert, something more rustic, or just to get away from the hustle and bustle, there are plenty of desirable wedding destinations to choose from. 5. Devil's Thumb Ranch Resort and Spa is set in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and offers hiking, wildlife, and 6,500 acres of natural backdrop where you can horseback ride, fly fish, and much more. 6.Calistoga Ranch in northern California is the wine lovers dream destination. You can relax in one of the 50 freestanding guest lodges, sit by your private fireplace on your front porch while sipping local spirits, or shower beneath the stars. 7.The Sanctuary at Camelback Mountain in Arizona has recently opened its newly renovated private villas collection, eight architecturally unique freestanding mountain homes that offer all the elegant amenities of a resort and spa. 8.Twin Farms in Barnard, Vermont, is perfect for those seeking relaxation in a remote location. Their log cabins, surrounded by woods, are accented by wildflower meadows, private ponds, and antique gardens. Budget You don’t need to break the bank to have an event-filled, romantic destination wedding. You will increasingly find a number of desirable locations for your more intimate wedding. 9. Bell Rock Inn in Sedona, Arizona, has become a popular setting for small weddings without high price tags. Set on the verge of where the desert meets the forest, you can hike, mountainbike, or just take in the gorgeous red rock scenery. 10.Curacao is a stunning Caribbean location for the budget wedding planner who wants to enjoy white-sand beaches and snorkel or scuba dive in turquoise waters. Try the tropical villas at Papagayo Beach Resort for an unforgettable oceanside union.