A friend of mine posted in a Facebook status last week requesting opinions on destination weddings. Here’s a tip – never post a “How Do You Feel About…?” query if you have your heart set on a particular idea. She received a response to everything from “Too Expensive!” to “You’re selfish if you make that decision!” ... This girl isn't even engaged, and was just expressing curiosity about an option. Yet, the name calling and harsh criticism was flying five seconds after she hit the post option.
1. Before putting down a nonrefundable deposit at a resort, research the time of year you’ll be traveling. The great deal you might be getting could be due to the fact that it’s a noted time for hurricanes or inclement weather in that region. Having a destination wedding in the resort's off season could potentially save you some serious bucks, so you may want to look into that option as well.
2. Rather than being put off by all the negativity of opinions (which people will have if you decide to have your wedding in the Caribbean, Disney World, or the pizzeria around the corner) look into the reasoning as to why a destination wedding might be difficult for you to have, especially if the issues arise with people you really want to attend your wedding.
3. Destination weddings can be rather pricey for guests. Even though the resort might offer all inclusive deals, the cost of everything that’s “free” has to be factored in somewhere. Besides airfare and accommodations, there’s also the issue and added expenses that if they have pets or children, they will have to pay for and acquire the care for them while they are traveling.
4. Research your country / place of your wedding. This is crucial. For example, when getting married in Mexico you will need to be in the country for at least 48 hours. In addition, you will need to submit a blood test to the local hospital ( don't ask me why ). In Saint Martin you must have 3 witnesses from each bridal party. The point is this: make sure you do a thorough research on wedding procedures in that particular country before you actually book your venue.
5. Requesting ample time off from work in order to travel to and from to attend the wedding might also be an issue for some if their jobs are not very flexible with scheduling and vacation time. Keep that in mind when setting the date. Some people are simply unable to take off a week from work to travel to the Bahamas.
6. Certain places require a passport to travel to and to return to the country of origin. Adult American passport books and cards cost over $160. They also can take approximately 4 – 6 weeks for a routine application, and 3 weeks for expedited application (which is another fee). Information about obtaining American passports can be found at US Passports and International Travel.
7. Also, take into the consideration that if you have family members or friends that you really want to be there on your special day, but have medical conditions that need to be monitored or cannot travel for long periods because of a condition, might not be able to attend. My poor friend, who was probably just looking for information on how to plan one or issues that had arisen while others were planning theirs texted me that night thanking me “for being the only person that actually answered her with any sense of reasoning!” What did I write as a comment? The same thing I will write in this article: If it’s what you and your future spouse really want, have a destination wedding, but be understanding that guests you invite might not be able to attend for very valid reasons.
Last words of wisdom: Destination Weddings are a lot of fun. They can cost a fraction of a price you would otherwise pay here, and you will have an amazing time. Before making any major decisions, talk to your groom and research all possible options. Evaluate your budget and make a pros and cons list. If the "pros" outweigh the "cons" - start your research as soon as you can.