Since coming home from my own beautiful wedding, my inbox has filled up with this question, “How and why did you decide to do a destination wedding versus a local wedding?”
A lot of brides came to me with concerns, and questions looking for some help deciding what they should do for their own wedding. I always say that wedding photographers become some -what of know it all’s in the wedding department. We become very familiar with what works for timing, what venues are good, what photographer to choose (wink wink), where to get your flowers ect. So when brides are asking me for their help, I feel very honoured and willing to share everything I have learned. Whether it be through experiencing others weddings, or what I learned from my own, no matter what you choose for your big day, make it be about what YOU want, and only YOU!
So, how and why did I personally decide on a destination wedding? There are a ton of reasons, so this one might be a long one 🙂
I love attending weddings, either personal or professional. They are beautiful, unique and personalised to the couple getting married. But what I find about local weddings is there is always a lot of stress. I have been lucky enough to have fabulous brides that don’t tend to let the day bother them and don’t get overly stressed out. But there are always moments in the day that just get to you. I am not a stressful person, I like to laugh, have fun and enjoy moments. I didn’t want anything to stress me out on my big day. I knew that being on a beach miles and miles away from civilization, that if something went wrong, or I forgot something, such is life. I couldn’t just run to Wal-Mart and pick it up, or get someone to go on a wild goose chase to try and find whatever it was that was forgotten. I had to live with it and let it go. And I did! There were things that didn’t work out that day, but it didn’t bother me. Being on beach, or wherever you choose, far away from home, makes you happy. Puts you in that happy relaxed place where your worries don’t matter. Stress was a huge factor when deciding a destination wedding. No stress for me please!
Second was the rush of things. What do I mean by that? I mean that you get up at 8am and start getting ready immediately. Then the ceremony, then formals, then reception, and then you are too incredibly tired to walk up to your room and it’s all over. I wanted my day to last forever. A destination wedding gives you an opportunity to spend an entire week (or so) with a bunch of your close friends and family. How often does that happen? We enjoyed every moment of it. Went on tours, ate daily breakfast together, and went on spa dates. The entire week made my big day that much more special. Yes, the wedding day was still such a blur to me (my advice, Brides if you need a moment to yourself, take it, it’s yours to take!) But a destination wedding is an experience. The entire week is a blast.
Third would be people. Ha-ha yes, people. I love being with people, but I actually struggle with being the center of attention. I watch brides and grooms all night at the reception go from table to table. Then go from being pulled in one direction and the next to please everyone, and to see everyone. I am sure that is all very tiring. I didn’t want that. I wanted a smaller party. I wanted a close nit group of my family and friends. When we got there, there were 5 other brides. One wedding had 90 people coming. 90 THAT’S INSANE! But, that’s what she wanted. The only advice I can give on the people part of a destination wedding is to be prepared to be disappointed. But with that being said, be prepared to be so happy with those that chose to come. I was sad that my wedding had about 30 people coming. 30 people were plenty for me. It was the perfect amount, and it was the perfect people that attended. Take this into consideration when choosing a destination wedding for sure. Not everyone will be able to make it, but once you are there you will be so incredibly happy with who did.
I had a soon to be bride ask me, “what about decorations and planning? I still want to have control and do all of that stuff?” This wasn’t my area, until I actually got to the resort. Of course I wanted some decorations and something personal so I brought some things of my own. But once we started sitting with the wedding planner we realised how basic their weddings were. No decorations, unless you wanted to pay. I am glad I spent a bit of extra money on my decorations but I can send you a million suggestions on how to save money but still make it look great 🙂 As for the planning, there is still a lot that goes into it. You just don’t have the stress of finding a venue, picking food, how many chairs ect.. It is all so much easier.
Lastly, the true and honest reason why I, personally, went with a destination wedding is because of money and options. I am not a fan of most venues. Yes, they can be made to look absolutely stunning. But most of the time, that cost a ton of money to do. I think over all my wedding cost about $13000 in total and that is including our trip (which cost us $4200) WOW right! We talked to many people about their local weddings and they ranged from $15000-$30000. Now again, this is all personal preference, but too me that is too much money. I spent $13000 to have a beautiful beach as my backdrop, have the sun shining on my face, the sand between my toes (literally, I wore no shoes for my ceremony) and have not one bit of stress land on my plate. I will take that over anything local any day.
Remember, everything I said here is what I have learned through my own experiences. At the end of the day, YOU need to be happy with what you decide. Someone will always have their opinions on what you should and should not do. It isn’t up to them; it isn’t their memories to create. Follow your heart. I will say this though, I have never heard a bride that has done a destination wedding say “I wish I did a local wedding.” But I have heard several brides say “I wish I did a destination wedding.” Lots to think about, big decisions, but I hope this helped!
Wedding took place at Los Cabos,Mexico Barcelo
Professional photos taken by Eternal Reflections Photography