Wedding Location – Destination

beach-wedding, wedding-costa-rica,
So far we’ve explored having your wedding at a hotel, restaurant, house and a unique location. Wrapping up our location series, we turn now to destination weddings. Marrying in an exotic locale has a number of advantages, including being kind to your budget. Whether your dream is to marry barefoot on a beach or in a two-door dress in an ancient castle, consider the many pros and cons…


Smaller group – marrying away almost always sees a dramatic drop in attendees. As the #1 way to help the budget is to have less guests, destination weddings are a great way to trim the guest list and save a ton of money. Having less people also means you can ‘splurge’ a bit on some items, such as serving the lobster or steak instead of chicken, having top-shelf liquor, exotic florals, etc.

And no, you are NOT expected to pay for anyone’s travel or accommodations. From an etiquette standpoint, guests pay their own tickets and hotel rooms.

Guests likely have to fly anyways – with friends and family often spread out all over the continent, it’s not unusual that a number of guests would have to fly a distance to attend a wedding stateside. A flight from New York to LA is about the same money and time as a flight to Mexico or Costa Rica.

Lower cost – if marrying in a foreign country (such as Mexico, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic) it’s likely that food, drink, decor, flowers, musicians and services are a fraction of what you’d pay back home. And many places do not have the crazy site-fees often charged in North America.

More intimate  destination weddings are like a mini-vacation, usually lasting a couple of days which gives everyone a chance to meet each other, hang out, enjoy some activities and interact in a way that a few hours in a banquet hall can never touch. And being ‘away from it all’ also means the bride and groom have a chance to relax. No rushing around last minute to pick up rental tuxes or hang decorations before running to the rehearsal. 
Built in Wow Factor – just being in a foreign country is enough to imbue your celebration with a certain amount of cool that excites your guests and makes the memories golden. Trying to create ‘wow’ in a hotel ballroom in New Jersey or a banquet hall in Detroit is going to be more challenging (re costly) compared to a sunset ceremony in a jungle on a cliff overlooking the crashing waves of the Pacific.
Limited Guest List – some people you may really want at the wedding may not be able to attend due to health, costs or other issues. Be prepared for the likelihood some key family or friends may not be there on the day. 
Limited Vendors – if you’re planning your wedding through a resort or in a remote location, you may be limited in your choices for vendors and services. And some vendors may have high travel costs to get to where your wedding is. For example, here in Costa Rica, most rentals have to come in from the capital city of San Jose, which can be a 3 – 4 hour trip each way.
Vendor Visits – if you must meet with your vendors beforehand/taste the food/try the cake, then be prepared to pay for a visit or two, incurring additional costs to the budget.
More Expensive – having you wedding in a country like England will likely cost more than another location, even the USA, due to the strength of the pound and overall high cost of living. Many islands are also more costly since they have to import everything. Do your research before committing to a location.

Wherever you decide to have your wedding, be sure it’s a location you like and can envision your event at. Trying to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse is costly, time consuming and challenging so be fully aware of the limitations and challenges of your location. If you really cannot live with them, look for another spot and save yourself a lot of grief and money.

Super Planning Powers - Activate!

Get your free Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist and slay wedding overwhelm!

Powered by ConvertKit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *