Destination Wedding Advice / How to know if a destination wedding is right for you?

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We often get inquiries from couples considering a destination wedding. They are not yet committed to it but rather are putting out their feelers to figure out if it is the right option for them. Most likely, they, like you, are considering the pros and cons (and costs) of having a destination wedding vs having a wedding at home.

Having had a destination myself (yep, that is me and my husband Michele in the photo, leaving our ceremony, right before I realized I had my wedding band on the wrong hand HAHAHAHA!), besides being a destination wedding specialist, I actually have first hand experience on having to make the choice of a destination wedding. I can certainly say I understand both sides of the equation. With that, I am also keenly aware that having a destination wedding is not right for everyone.

One of the biggest perceived pros of having a destination wedding is that it is less expensive. In short, yes and no. Depending on where home is, and what destination you are interested in, per person costs are most likely higher (there are exceptions of course), but because travel is involved for your guests, it is most likely that your final guest count will be lower, making the overall investment, in fact, lower. I honestly do not feel that going for a destination wedding based on the possibility of a lower cost alone is the right reason to travel abroad to get married. If you live in New York and an at home wedding involves 240 guests, a 100 guest wedding in Costa Rica will certainly be less expensive. But this is not necessarily the case for everyone.

Does your destination hold a special place in your heart? If so, that is a great reason to get married there. Maybe your family is originally from that country or the two of you had your first vacation together there and loved it. My husband is Italian, and for us, the only way to get his father to attend our wedding was to have the wedding in Italy (my father in law will not get on a plane, no matter what). Maybe you love to travel and always envisioned yourself getting married in an exotic location surrounded by your friends and family… Maybe you want your wedding to be more than just the event and you want it to be a fabulous experience for all your guests. If so, a destination wedding is certainly right for you.

Believe it or not, one of the most important things to consider when having a destination wedding is wether you need to be in full control of the process. Are you able to roll with the punches and accept cultural differences? I give you a more concrete example: Are you OK with having to wait for more than 48 hours for a quote? A practice that is perfectly acceptable in many countries (Costa Rica, Mexico, Italy, to name a few that I have experience with) is definitely not something our US/Canada based clients are used to and not being able to deal with this will not make your experience smooth. Learn a bit about what is customary at your desired destination and be honest with yourself. Are you OK with it? If the answer is a clear yes, then a destination wedding is certainly right for you.

Are you willing to let go and trust someone to help you? I think this is a must. I mean, I am a planner and I HIRED a wedding planner for MY destination wedding. You are meant to enjoy your wedding day, and having a wedding abroad can be a bit more stressful than normal (you are not only dealing with your wedding, but tend to be extra worried about your guests and their experience at your wedding). Being able to trust someone to assist and guide you in the planning and execution process is necessary and if you are not willing to consider it, a destination wedding may not be right for you. Because no, it is not easy.

Is everyone on your FAVORITE list going to be able to travel to your wedding? If you have someone on your guest list that you can’t imagine not being at your wedding, and that person can’t make it because of their age, a medical condition, fear of flying, whatever reason…. Believe me, it is worth so much more than anything else to have that person by your side on your wedding day. Check with family and friends BEFORE taking the plunge and committing to a wedding abroad to make sure that your ride or dies will be there!!!!!

Ultimately, as with anything in life… ask yourself: Is having a destination wedding make us really, truly, happy? Is it a dream come true? Are we doing it because we really want to? If you feel it, and it feels right, go for it.

Feeling overwhelmed? Have questions? I love to help (no strings attached, I promise!)

{photo credit} The amazing Erica from Les Amis Photo

Eclectic Vintage Inspired Celebration / Khanh & Matt at Andaz Papagayo

A happy couple, a stunning venue and two cute newsboys handing out the wedding programs? I think I am in love!

Our first actual wedding at the super cool Chao Pescao, the tapas bar at Andaz Papagayo, Matt & Kahn’s celebration was just the perfect mix of tropical eclectic style and a vintage feel. We worked with simple greeneryand colorful flowers to compliment the style of the reception in vintage style glass vases to compliment the reception venue and Artflower created a delightful pop of lushness for the altar, to stand out in the more neutral ceremony space. Local bird postcards by Costa Rican artist Priscilla Aguero at HolaLola were placed on each guests seat, adding more color to the mix.

Can you guess what the groom does for a living?

{photo} White Diamond Photography {venue} Andaz Peninsula Papagayo {floral} Artflower {officiant} Marcelo Galli {hair & makeup} Costa Rica Bridal Services {ceremony music} Ricardo Fonseca {DJ} Mason Dunn