Okay, we’ll admit we’re a bit biased when it comes to a love of destination weddings (hence our name and our, well, everything). So it’s safe to say we’ve seen our fair share of amazing celebrations and know their pros and cons. Whether you’re toying with the idea of a wedding weekend, considering tropical North Queensland nuptials, or dreaming of an exotic overseas escape, these 12 reasons will have you packing your suitcases…
1. Holiday-mode is a thing (we promise!)
You know that feeling you get when you step off the plane, check in, put your bags down and just relax – like really relax? Having a destination wedding will give you (and your guests) that same ‘escaped from the everyday’ feeling.
Whether you arrive a day or a week before the big event, plan some downtime in your dream destination to get totally chilled first – you’ll be glad you did after the all-consuming planning process! #GoodVibesOnly
2. Ideal for an intimate wedding
You can go all out and invite your entire contacts list to your destination wedding, but chances are you’ll only ask your nearest and dearest. A carefully-edited guest list works especially well for an overseas soirée, where loved ones literally have to go the extra mile to share your joy. It will also create a cosy vibe, and you won’t have to worry about a potential ‘guest hierarchy’ – trust us, it’s real. Make this your mantra when planning: if they’re invited, they must be like family to you (or actually family!).
3. Great for couples from different countries
Here’s a situation – you’re from Australia, he’s from somewhere overseas. You don’t want to choose one country over the other and make one partner and their family feel second best. We’ve seen many weddings where instead of one person sacrificing, both meet in the middle (figuratively) and exchange vows in a favourite holiday spot. The result? Marvellous celebrations that everyone enjoys!
Be sure to honour your families and your backgrounds in some way, though, to make the day feel personal – think Australian-inspired sweets in your lolly bar (stock up on Tim Tams!) or a few beloved unofficial anthems in your DJ’s playlist.
4. Tick something off your bucket list
Have you always wanted to visit Hawaii? Life got in the way of your trip to South Africa? Hadn’t ticked Canada off your bucket list yet? Now’s the perfect time.
Saying “I do” in your dream destination will make your wedding all the more memorable. Plus, with a bit of research, you can also score some pretty great deals on accommodation and activities if you spend your honeymoon there too. Just in case you needed an extra excuse *wink*.
Marrying out of town or in another country can be cost effective, particularly if the exchange rate is favourable. Sometimes, what you budget for your entire event when packaging it as a destination wedding is comparable to venue costs alone at home — particularly if you live in a big city where weekend weddings are in high demand. Add to the mix a vast array of affordable accommodation for you and your guests, and you’ve got one seriously compelling reason to leave town.
Bali, Thailand and the South Pacific islands are popular options for money-conscious couples, but with a bit of research you can score deals on flights, venues and extras almost anywhere. Our advice? Work out a realistic budget first, discuss your ultimate destinations, and figure out how the two will fit together. Also consider an off-season date or weekday wedding at your preferred location.
6. On-hand experts
No matter how much of a whizz you are with Insta, Pinterest and good ol’ Excel, a little expert help is always welcome. The beauty of tying the knot at a destination wedding venue is that they have local experience and their own list of recommended vendors. Bye planning woes!
Also, most venues have their own dedicated wedding planner who knows the area and best suppliers – be sure to make use of this service! When researching exactly where to have your special day, ask about their wedding planner, check out their work, and let that influence your choice.
7. Amazing photo ops (obviously)
It’s kind of obvious, but marrying somewhere spectacular means you’re pretty much guaranteed to have next-level beautiful photos. And we’re not just talking about your venue.
Exploring the area in a post-wedding shoot will only enhance your entire experience. Getting hitched in Las Vegas? Have photos taken at the famous Neon Museum or head for the otherworldly Mojave Desert. Escaping to New Zealand to exchange vows? Charter a helicopter to a windswept mountain or glacier. Or, explore temples and emerald rice fields after a blessed Bali “I do”. You get the picture, right?
8. You can get creative with styling
If styling is your thing, a destination wedding can be the perfect excuse opportunity to get creative! Take inspiration from your setting and incorporate elements of the local culture into your ceremony and reception.
In the tropics, consider palms and exotic blooms for your bouquet and floral decorations. Headed to a 24/7 city such as New York, London or Paris? Reference its icons on your invites and signage. If you really want to go all out, collect little souvenirs or postcards in the days leading up to the wedding, and scatter them among your table decorations – they’ll be good conversation starters and will really marry (pun intended) the destination with your wedding.
9. The food!
Good food is one of the highlights of any wedding – especially if it’s a destination wedding in a fabulous foodie capital!
Work with your caterer or venue to create a menu you both love and up the ‘holiday feel’ by adding local delicacies. Street food-style taco canapés in Mexico, generous meze platters in Greece, wine and gourmet meals in the Hunter Valley, sweet satays in Thailand, antipasto boards in Italy – all paired with locally-produced wine or spirits, of course – will be a hit with guests! And don’t stop at the reception. If giving bomboniere, treat loved ones to the favourite sweets or snacks of your destination.
10. You can have a buddymoon
This would have to be one of the top reasons for choosing a destination wedding lately, and we love it! Not familiar with the term? Extending the festivities and hanging out with guests after the confetti has settled is, well, basically a honeymoon with your buddies! Whether you opt for a week-long celebration or just a few days before you jet off to another picture-perfect locale, plan some catch-ups and ‘ice-breaker’ activities. You’ll be creating stories and memories to treasure forever. From welcome drinks to beach barbeques, lazy post-wedding brunches to chartered sunset cruises, extra social sessions will make the most of your time away and keep the party feel flowing. Um, yes please!
11. Sweet deals on accommodation
If you’re gathering your loved ones together for a wedding adventure, consider booking group accommodation. Not only will you and your guests nab a deal, it’s also a way to make less-travelled friends and family feel as comfortable as possible.
Plus, catch-ups will be super easy when everyone close at hand. Chilling out by the hotel pool is always a winner, especially if there’s a well-positioned restaurant or bar nearby. If you’ve chosen a resort with plenty of accommodation, ask your wedding planner about space for friends and family, and they’ll most likely offer a discounted rate.
12. Straight on to the honeymoon
If you’ve fallen in love with your wedding destination, and are looking to minimise planning stress, it makes sense to have your honeymoon there too. You’ll be able to experience and enjoy more of the local area — and you can forget worrying about flights, transfers, packing, unpacking and packing again.
Resort venues will often have add-on honeymoon deals, so enquire ahead – especially if they have a dreamy honeymoon villa or suite!
Header image: Kate Drennan Photography