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Monday, November 23, 2009

Destination Weddings

Recently, I had to book a flight to Mexico. No, it’s not a romantic getaway or a fun girl’s weekend in Cabo.

It’s yet another destination wedding.

Destination weddings are becoming more popular. You can bet our parents and grandparents never went to destination weddings, unless the destination was a temple or church in the next town. Maybe they are more popular now because people think they are being original or maybe it’s because the divorce rate is so high that people decide to do destination weddings for their second, third, forth (you get the picture) weddings.

Regardless, one thing is for certain…destination weddings are pricey…for the guests. Usually when you plan a trip it’s because you have saved your money and have vacation days coming to you at work. But in this case, you are planning a vacation (whether you can afford it or not) because someone else told you to.

There are definite ‘pros’ of destination weddings. Usually they are beach locations. Pro number one…a tan! You also get to use it as an excuse to go on a vacation that you otherwise couldn’t afford. The most notable ‘cons’ are the money you have to spend and the extra time off from work that you may have to take.

As with every other kind of wedding, destination weddings have a broad range. Mostly this range is directly correlated to the money that people spend on their weddings. Some are like an all you can eat buffet that actually include an all you can eat buffet. Others are like a high school spring break gone wrong laden with kegs of Coors Lite. It all depends on who is planning the event. Once you ask your guests to pay for a flight and hotel, do you then make them pay for all of their own meals and entertainment as well? Some brides and grooms use the destination wedding as an excuse to not pay for anything. Most resorts will give the bride and groom a cheap rate for the party if they get people to book rooms in the hotel. (this should not be shocking to anyone). So in some cases, it is almost as if your guests are paying for your wedding.

Others will take steps to make their guests feel extra welcome and to thank them for traveling such a distance to attend. Gift bags, spa treatments and group activities are good ways to make such an effort.

So as I hit confirm on the Jet Blue screen I sat wondering, will this one be worth the $400 flight and $350 dollar hotel room (not to mention the dress, the car to and from the airport, the wedding gift, the babysitter and all of the other ancillary costs associated with another ‘vacation’ wedding)?


Princess Christy said...

holy geez!!! a $350 hotel room?!?

Anonymous said...

Destination weddings are an imposition in a lot of ways, but they often end up being really fun once you're there. I think it's appropriate for the bride and groom to cover meals and other costs once you are at the destination. A low-cost destination wedding should be an oximoron!

Katie said...

We're having a destination wedding...but we're only inviting our parents. Because our families are on opposite sides of the country, no matter where we got married, it would end up being a destination wedding for half of our guests. We decided we'd just make it easier on everyone, marry far away, and come back and party locally after the wedding.

I don't understand expecting people to travel hundreds or thousands of miles to share your wedding, not when its going to cost them a lot of money. I also don't understand asking bridesmaids to dish out hundreds of dollars to be a part of your wedding, though, or expecting parents to unload a ton of cash so you can have a lavish wedding. *shrug* I think it's an issue of consideration. If you go into your wedding going, "It's MY day, and I'll do whatever I want," you're probably going to do a lot of things that put other people out. If you go into your wedding thinking, "I want to include as many of my friends and family in sharing this special day with us," you probably won't.

Destination Weddings said...

A great way to thank your guests with events during the weekend AND save money doing so is to plan informal events at an all-inclusive resort. I had my DW last year, and we created a whole itinerary of things like "meet the groom at the beach for sailing lessons", "meet the bride at the tiki bar for martini hour", etc. All those events don't cost anything if you are at an all-inclusive hotel, but you get the same effect!

Curtis Copeland said...

Of the destination weddings I have been to they are usually small, intimate affairs. Some were done intentionally due to avoiding awkward family situations. When a quality wedding planner is involved it always goes well. Choosing good vendors like a caterer, florist, and an experienced wedding photographer is critically important to ensure a smooth ceremony. Plain and simple, nothing beats a well planned exotic location for a destination wedding!


Cam said...

I was MOH in a destination wedding last year- it was extremely expensive and it was the 2nd time I was her MOH. It was a lot of fun and so happy I got to seethe place But it was the worst time for me financially and I've been paying for it ever since. Ugh..... I definately had mixed feelings about it.