Are destination weddings a good idea?


Fact Box

  • The top three most popular locations for destination weddings outside the continental US are Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean. 
  • Eighty percent of couples who choose destination weddings have been married before. 
  • According to Research and Markets, as many as 25% of marriages are destination weddings. Additionally, 40% of US couples who choose destination weddings hold them in international locations. 
  • The annual destination wedding market accounts for $16 billion worldwide.

Luna (Yes)

Destination weddings provide a complete package. The couple, along with their loved ones, get to enjoy a fancy ceremony, reception, and honeymoon in a single, swoon-worthy locale. This enables the couple to save plenty of time, money, and effort, as most rituals can be completed in a single trip. 

Destination weddings also add a layer of excitement, as both the wedded pair and their guests get to enjoy a wide variety of interesting local activities. They can try new cuisines, attend sporting events, immerse themselves in the local culture and turn the trip into the vacation of a lifetime. 

The couple also has access to excellent opportunities for better photoshoots, with picturesque backgrounds helping photos to stand out from the usual wedding photo fare.  

Destination weddings offer the couple an intimate ceremony because not everyone can attend--especially not the friends-of-friends-of-friends. Time and budget constraints naturally tone down a guest list without the awkwardness of having to host people whom you may not even know very well. This enables couples to have a small, sweet, romantic ceremony with immediate family members and close friends. 

For this reason, destination weddings also tend to be cheaper. Many hotels and tourism sites offer heavy discounts when you bulk buy rooms and equipment for the span of your ceremony. Since you already have a smaller guest list, it saves nearly half as much money.  

Destination weddings also offer a fresh experience, away from the everyday distractions of regular life, making a couple's special day feel even more special. By taking time off from daily stressors and relaxing in a beautiful location, wedding memories will be cemented for years to come. 

Maha (No)

Choosing a destination wedding can quickly transform a couple's dream day into a nightmare. And it can happen as soon as they share the news with their loved ones. 

An Allianz Global Assistance survey revealed that 37% of Americans think it's selfish for couples to opt for destination weddings, especially since the cost of attending a destination wedding is $1,440 and requires guests to use vacation days from their jobs. 

Further, guest lists for destination weddings can be pricey when accommodating plus-ones and children, while not inviting them can strain relationships. 

Unfortunately, this isn't the only stress factor couples will face. The bride-and-groom-to-be can expect to foot a bill of around $35,000. Not to mention the many legal issues to consider about the foreign country the couple will marry in. 

Unpredictability, too, can add to the couple's woes. Take, for instance, the Caribbean, which is one of the top locations for weddings outside the US. Not only is it known for its unpredictable weather, but its countries can be flooded with tourists

Additionally, if things go south, couples may not be prepared--especially if they lack the necessary resources to resolve them. 

Even if things go smoothly, the couple may feel second to the location. Guests may focus less on the event and more on the destination. There's also an awkwardness that comes from guests wanting to be around the newlyweds while the latter wish to enjoy their honeymoon alone. 

Weddings are stressful as is; 71% of couples agree they're 'more nerve-wracking' than major life events. Therefore, unless couples have nerves of steel, a local venue would be a better choice.

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