If you follow me on Instagram, you most likely didn’t miss that my husband and I just got back from a week long trip exploring Canada. Before heading out to the Pacific Northwest though, our first stop was Emerald Lake, British Columbia, just north of Banff. Believe it or not, this trip was planned over two years ago… thanks to our sweet friends who invited us to their unique, adventurous, and absolutely breathtaking mountain side/lakeside, in the middle of the wilderness wedding! It was a beautiful wedding, that I can truly say had a backdrop like no other.
You may also be surprised that I get quite a few brides at work that decide to have a destination wedding. Of course every bride varies with location and reasoning, but almost every girl comes back to the same round about answer, “less hassle”. I believe it takes a special bride to go all-in on a destination wedding; and if that’s YOU, here’s my opinion/ a pros & cons list that I’ve heard over the last couple of years. Some tips to keep in mind:
- Having a destination wedding most likely also means having an intimate guest list. Now for some families, this may not be an option. For example, with me being the only daughter, my parents were ready to PARTY/HOST their own friends as well…which meant our guest list was pretty large. For others though, having a smaller guest list may be exactly what you envision. Bonus! A smaller guest list could mean spending less money (meals per head). Well kind of. Maybe I should say your money will be spent in more valuable places then, depending on your location.
- Next up, let’s talk vendors! Keep in mind when booking a destination wedding, there may be limited vendor options. Depending on where exactly you get married and how hands-on you are will vary. For example, if you’re getting married at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, you may only have a handful of vendors to choose from, that the resort works with. OR like the wedding we just got back from in the middle of the mountains, you don’t really have much option at all. You have to be able to go with the flow, and LET GO! It’s great for busy brides that don’t want to think or plan… not so much for control freaks like me 🙂 “To each their own”, right?!
- Along those lines… you may or may not also be able to see your venue in person ahead of time, depending on the location, again. Make sure you do plenty of research, check with reliable resources (such as The Knot), and don’t get yourself stuck into a Fyre Festival situation! HA! Yes.. go ahead and google it if you don’t know what I’m talking about.
- A major PRO for everyone involved in your destination wedding? It’s pretty much a built in vacation for your guests.. and maybe even a built in honeymoon for you! Be respectful though when planning your destination dates. Yes, you may be able to pull off a 4 month engagement thanks to the resort’s help, BUT your guests also need time to plan ahead, save up, take off work, etc. Your guest list will already be intimate remember? So go ahead and give them the benefit of knowing ahead of time. (Jake and I had over TWO YEARS to plan this Canada trip, AKA nothing would get in the way of going. Not even a pregnancy 😉 )
- Speaking of vacationing with your guests; A destination wedding is going to give you a unique experience that is more than just a single day with your guests. Maybe you’ll have a “Welcome Party” the evening before your wedding day, or a “Day-After Brunch”. Either way, it’s great to be able to spend an entire weekend/a couple days with your guests; letting them know that you really appreciate them traveling just for you.
- YOUR PICTURES ARE ABOUT TO BE AMAZING. Need I say more?
- Lastly, whenever I am dressing a bride, knowing that she is having a destination wedding, I know that she can “break the rules” a bit. She’s not having a super traditional ceremony and reception, therefore she can wear something out of the ordinary (like a flower crown instead of a veil), maybe her colors can be a bit more creative and fun, or her live band is reggae themed?! The options are endless because your not “boxed in” to anything. Have fun with it, and embrace your location! That’s why you’re getting married there to begin with, isn’t it?!
Whether you choose to get married in your childhood hometown, the Caribbean, or the mountains in Tahoe; all that matters is that YOU love it! And trust me… your guests will love it too! XOXO,