Out of Town?
to consider before making the commitment to a destination
The question sputtered off the lips, like something foreign
in a mouthful of chocolate, of many of my family members when
told that this was location that my niece Holly and her fiancé
David had chosen for their October wedding.
wrong with home? was the next inevitable question, and,
because home here refers to the Berkshires, who can blame
us? The weather is beautiful. The locations are beautiful.
Everybody and their brother wants to be in the Berkshires.
In leaf season to boot! Were here!
that last bit was the deciding factor for the lovebirds. Now
more than ever, bridal couples are opting to get married in
exotic locations, some of them throwing an elaborate multi-day
affair, and others simply tying the knot elsewhere in front
of God and a handful of guests, before trotting home to a
larger, more traditional reception or party.
to Lisa Light, a full-service destination-wedding producer
and CEO of destinationbride.com, and author of the definitive
Destination Bride: How to Plan Your Wedding Anywhere in the
World, destination weddings really took off with the advent
of the Internet. That made it much more possible for
people to find information, learn about and shop for locations,
she explains, not to mention how it made marketing and
promoting wedding services and packages much easier.
(The Sandals Resort was a pioneer in this type of marketing.)
also attributes the increase in destination weddings to changes
in baby boomers mobility, the increase in frequency
of travel, young couples expectation of excitement and
glamour, and the general trend of spending more money on weddings.
These factors really open up possibilities, says
Light. A bride might want a Cinderella wedding, but
shes already been to Disney World, so, she thinks, Why
not a real castle in Europe?
gone are days when a destination wedding meant elopement,
a getaway from the frills, festivities, and cost. About 20
years ago, my attention-shy cousin married his bikini-clad
bride on a beach in Jamaica, with just a minister presiding.
Our French teacher married her second husband (also on a Jamaican
beach) during a long weekend break. Typically, these ceremonies
were followed by some sort of party at home or a local restaurant
for family and friends.
warns about the dangers of viewing a destination wedding as
a cost savings. The national statistic says that it costs
$28,000 for a wedding with 150 guests. According to Light,
the average for a destination wedding is $28,000 for a guest
list of 80. Again, however, thats because todays
bridal couples arent thinking so much elopement as they
are exotic gala.
about those guests? Remember my Nantucket-bound niece? Turns
out that family and friends had to penetrate the logistics
of getting ferry tickets to and from, or flights on and off,
the island. OK, thats doable, but when the oceans and
winds turned so rough that October week so as to cause the
cancellation of all ferries for two days, with the remaining
scheduled departures on standby, guests had to
scramble to figure out what to do. I was nearly eight months
pregnant, so the thought of driving four hours to Hyannis,
not knowing if the ferries would be running or where my husband
and I would house our three kids while we waited indefinitely,
sank us. Im embarrassed to say, we missed the wedding.
stresses the importance of taking into consideration your
guest list before committing to a destination wedding. If
your family and friends are the type who travel a lot, who
are likely to have frequent flyer miles, then by all means,
go for it. If, on the other hand, your guest list does not
include many people who travel frequently, limit your destination
to something that is attainable by a three-hour direct flight
at no more than $400 per ticket per person. Consider,
too, the budgets for things like room reservations and meals
of the people on your list.
she says, is prioritizing what you want, and who you want
to share it with.
not just the guests, though, who need to consider travel expenses.
A bridal couple should take at least one and preferably more
visits to their ideal destination. Light urges that the bride
and groom go with a mission plan in hand, and be prepared
to measure, taste, take pictures, do trial runs with hair-and-makeup
people, interview locals. When it comes to actually choosing
the destination, she says it is essential that the bridal
couple not rely simply on Internet postings, but instead get
referrals, talk to users, wedding planners, florists . . .
basically anybody who can give an honest and straightforward
opinion of the potential site. If the name Ritz Carlton
keeps coming up as someplace that does great events,
advises Light, consider that a strong possibility. Theres
a reason people are recommending it. Lights Web
site (destinationbride.com) features information on many possible
destinations. Other good sources include tripadvisor.com and
significant detail is to investigate the legalities; in other
words, can you and your fiancé legally get hitched
in your chosen destination? If not, a simple civil ceremony
performed near home can be accomplished, with nobody being
any wedding, its absolutely necessary for the bride
and groom to conceptualize what exactly they want for their
big day, and how much they are willing to spend. Its
also important to consider whether or not you want to do all
the planning yourselves, or to make an investment in a qualified
wedding planner, particularly one with destination-wedding
experience. A destination wedding could be for you, but you
need, as Light often says, to think before you leap.
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