Destination Weddings vs. Traditional Weddings

Getting married is one of the most exciting times in your life. You’ve probably been dreaming of your wedding day since you were a little kid. And of course, you want the day to be memorable and perfect! You may be torn between a traditional (local) wedding or a destination wedding. Most couples opt for a traditional wedding. The Knot’s 2016 study found that only 20% of couples chose to have a destination wedding, and 11% of those happened in international locations. In the same year, 49% of couples were wed 200 miles away or more than where they lived at the time of their wedding. No matter what location you choose for your wedding, it is sure to be an amazing and memorable day.

A Traditional Wedding: The Pros

A local wedding has lots of advantages. By choosing a traditional wedding, you’ll be able to see the venue in person first before committing to it. You’ll be able to make sure it has everything you desire for your wedding. By choosing a local wedding, you’ll have the choice between a small wedding OR a large wedding. More guests will be able to attend a local wedding, so you can have the guest size that you desire. Celebrating your big day will be more fun as well as more special with all of your friends and family as a part of your big day. More guests attending your wedding means more gifts. Getting more gifts may seem kind of superficial at first, but it can actually help pay for your wedding. If you kindly ask your guests to bring money instead of gifts, this can help offset the costs of your wedding. After all, if you’ve already had your own place for a while, you probably don’t have much to add to your wedding registry. Having a local wedding also gives you the ability to have a greater involvement in wedding planning. You’ll be able to choose the caterers florists, and photographers of your choice. This also means you’ll be able to support local vendors. Having an involvement in the process can give you the reassurance that your big day will be amazing.

A Traditional Wedding: The Cons

There are a few things you’ll want to consider before committing to a local wedding. Your wedding date may be influenced by the weather. For example, if you desire an outdoor wedding but live in Maine, you’ll have to wait until winter has passed until you can have an outdoor wedding.
Having a local wedding means more people will be able to come, which can also be a con. You’ll feel more obligated to invite those distant relatives that you don’t really like. Pesky relatives can cause unneeded stress on your wedding day.

A Destination Wedding: Pros

Did you know that destination weddings are generally cheaper? The average destination wedding costs about $28,000, while a traditional wedding on average costs $35,000. Destination weddings are less expensive because less guests will attend. Less than 100 people usually attend a destination wedding because traveling can be hassle, making the overall costs less for the bride and groom. Additionally, many resorts and venues offer wedding packages that include rooms, food, decorations, the officiant, and planning. These packages can cut down on costs. With the resort taking care of your wedding, this can make the months leading up to it less stressful. Destination weddings are also less expensive because you are combining your wedding and your honeymoon. You’ll also need less wedding decorations, which will help save money, because the beautiful location on its own will take everyone’s breath away.
By having a wedding in a gorgeous location, you can create an unforgettable and unique experience for you and your guests. Your wedding photos will also come out amazing with a beautiful backdrop.
If you’re worried about rain on your wedding day, certain destinations have more predictable climates. For example, Aruba receives the least amount of rainfall compared to other Caribbean islands – it receives about 20 inches of rain per year. The Knot listed it as one of the least likely places to rain on your wedding day.
You may be concerned with the idea of having a smaller wedding, but it actually makes for a more intimate experience for you and your closest friends and family. It’ll feel like a vacation for all of your guests, regardless of the number of attendees.

A Destination Wedding: Cons

A destination wedding isn’t ideal for someone who wants a big wedding or has a large family. A lot of people that are invited to destination weddings may not be able to attend due to airfare and hotel costs. You may also feel pressured to contribute to the airfare of your guests, which can drain your bank account. If you definitely want to celebrate your big day with all of your friends and family, you may want to reconsider a local wedding over a destination wedding.
Legal obstacles are another obstacle you’ll face when planning a destination wedding. Every country has different marriage laws – you’ll need to research how to get your marriage license in the country where you’ll wed. You also may need a visa depending on which country you’re traveling to. Another disadvantage to a destination wedding is the lack of customization on your wedding day. Many resorts will take care of your wedding, so you may not fully get a say in the accommodations, food and decorations. An overseas destination means you probably won’t be there in person to make sure the set up is going as planned. This may be a problem for someone who needs to be in control. Lack of privacy may become a problem for couples that opt for a destination wedding. Your guests may stick around in the days during your honeymoon, which is understandable – after all, they’ve spent a lot of time and money traveling to get to your wedding. A newly married couple will likely want alone time without running into people they know at the resort. You may want to consider arriving a few days earlier or leaving a few days after other guests so you can get your alone time with your spouse.

Flying with a wedding gown creates another complication for destination weddings. Your dress is an important (and expensive) part of your big day, and you’ll want to ensure that it doesn’t get ruined on the plane. Make sure to contact your airline to ensure that your dress counts as a carry on item. Some planes feature an on-board closet where you can store your dress, but you’ll want to double check with your airline. If your plane has an on-board closet, you should consider flying first class or get priority boarding to guarantee your dress has a spot in the closet. Some brides even purchase a plane ticket for their dress so they are guaranteed with a safe space to put it. All of these options will add up in the long run to the cost of your wedding. Another issue you may encounter with a destination wedding is that guests may treat you like their travel agent. Some people are too lazy to use the internet, or your older relatives might not understand how to. This is a small issue, but it’s something worth considering. You don’t need extra stress added to your big day.

Whether you choose a local wedding or a destination wedding, it’ll certainly be one of the best days of your life. You’ll be surrounded by friends and family celebrating the special love you have between you and your partner. Follow your heart and determine what the best option is for you and your partner. After all, it’s your special day, not anybody else’s.


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