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Hometown vs Destination Wedding?

Words by Jennifer Stein
Photos courtesy of This Modern Romance

As a couple, deciding if a destination wedding is right for you is the first, and one of the most important decisions you will make in your wedding planning process. Almost every subsequent choice you make will be based on what you decide. So before you start planning every minute detail, here are some things to consider:

What’s your budget?
One of the biggest myths about destination weddings is they cost more. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Think about it. If you have a wedding at home, how large will your guest list be? 75, 100, 200+? A destination wedding is what we call, “the bouncer” for your guest list. Millie from the cubicle on the fourth floor is less likely to fly 2,000 miles and stay in a guest house with people she hardly knows to be a part of your wedding. But if it’s at home, the probability of her coming is much higher. The result of doing a destination wedding is your guest list is smaller; drastically reducing the amount you’ll pay for food and beverage, flowers, rentals, favors etc. Your food and beverage can be anywhere from 50-75% of your overall cost. You can still have a small wedding at home, but you may be faced with the issue of “if I invite this person, then I need to invite xyz, too.”

In the end, don’t feel pressure to invite people you’re not close to – regardless of what type of wedding you have!

The one area it can cost more is when it comes to your guests expenses. They will spend more to attend your wedding if it’s in another state or country vs. in the same town. Which leads me to my next point…

Do your guests have to travel anyway?
Destination weddings make a lot of sense when your wedding guests are coming from many different areas and not many live in your hometown. It may be logistically easier if you choose a destination with good travel connections, ample accommodations and lots to do. Not to mention, your wedding will be talked about and reminisced over for years to come.

Are there key people in your lives who must be present for the day to be complete?
If a 14-hour plane ride will prevent one of your loved ones from attending and you cannot picture the event without them, then a compromise might be in order. Either you need to reconsider doing the destination altogether, or perhaps, find a closer place to hold your festivities. The pro with having a hometown wedding is there is a stronger probability of having a larger guest list and having everyone you know make the event. This can also be looked at as a downside. If you are trying to forgo having 35 people from work attend your intimate nuptials, then a destination wedding can be a real life saver.

Can you handle a little extra of the unexpected?
Weddings, by nature, seem to adhere to Murphy’s Law. An unexpected glitch here (the cake is the wrong color) and another there (the caterer brought goat cheese instead of Roquefort) just goes with the territory. But when you are doing a destination wedding, there may be added things which you have no control over. Inclement weather and travel delays are common obstacles a destination couple can deal with. It’s not a foregone conclusion that this may happen, but it’s something to keep in mind. If you’re laid back and can roll with the punches – maybe you even look at your wedding as a fun adventure vs. an endless list of things to control, then a destination wedding is a good choice for you. The beauty of a destination wedding is many things are out of your control, so most couples find themselves just going along for the journey – kind of a nice metaphor for marriage!

When you envision your wedding, do you see crashing waves at your back or your hometown chapel?
The destination you choose – hometown or abroad may be something you’ve been dreaming of since childhood. If you’re extremely tied into a church at home or a special place you get sentimental over, a hometown wedding might be better suited for you.

If you aren’t especially tied to anything, a destination wedding might be the perfect fit for you.  The surf lapping at your toes, a 17th century castle as your reception venue or a ski-in, ski-out ceremony may be the ideal backdrop for your wedding event. 

Even if you love your hometown pastor, but still see those ocean waves behind your altar, bring him along to your destination wedding (many pastors, ministers or priests are willing to travel along – just ask them!) The great news about modern day weddings – just about anything goes!

Do you want to spend as much time with your closest loved ones as possible?
One major perk of doing a destination wedding is that most couples and guests travel to the destination for a few days and even a full week. It offers an opportunity to bond as a group by doing fun excursions together and maximizing the quality time.

With a hometown wedding, you can still draw things out by including everyone in the rehearsal dinner and /or offering a farewell brunch so they can see you one more time before you jet off on your honeymoon. Although, destination weddings, by nature, allow for family and friends to experience an overdue vacation, romantic getaway or a reunion all rolled into one. Here in the Southwest, we refer to it as the “combo burrito.” A destination wedding allows you to combine all of these fun experiences into one.

Whether you decide to travel to a destination away from home or right in your backyard, be sure to savor the experience and enjoy the process of planning. The Destination I Do website will provide you with lots of helpful information about wedding destinations all over the World. You will also find helpful tools which are custom designed for your wedding away. Congratulations! Now, let the planning begin!

Comments

1 Comment

  • Fabrizio Mengasini

    said

    I'm agree Jennifer, great article. I love the last point you mentioned, that's so true. I've seen couples have a lot of fun with old friends, maybe from university time, spending lots of time together having activities, or just to have a drink around the swimming pool. On this point I'd like to add that also bride and groom's parents can share nice time with relatives and old friends some lovely days.

    Thanks
    Fabrizio

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