(Closed) Destination Wedding. Pros? Cons? Pictures? Horror stories?

posted 6 years ago in Destination Weddings
Post # 4
501 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I think it really depends on where you go, the size of your wedding, and what all you want included. I love the idea of a tropical wedding (We are doing one), but it really depends on what you want. You will have to understand that some people may not be able to come (think: grandparents, people with lots of kiddos, people who cant afford it or don’t have the time to take off work).

For us it made perfect sense. We LOVE the beach, love to travel and didn’t want to spend our budget over the course of a few hours but instead spend it over the course of a week!

Planning the Destination Wedding has been a blast. A few hiccups here and there, but overall it has been lots of fun. We are doing some DIY stuff and taking it with us, we went shopping and bought tons of fun stuff for our out of town bags. We had a small budget compared to a lot of people. It was originally 8K. We bumped it to 10K. When all is said and done, we will have gone over budget by 2K. We are staying for 8 days at a 5 star (all-inclusive) and are doing a welcome party for our guests with a bonfire on the beach and a bar set up for 2 hours. Then for the reception we are doing a cocktail hour on the beach with a mariachi band, we are having a DJ and we have a photographer for 5 hours and get tons and tons of pics. So really, for us to have this wedding in the states it would be probably 25K easy.

If all inclusive isn’t your thing, I vote to go to Costa Rica!!


Post # 5
501 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

If you have any questions about the planning or anything, I will be happy to answer.

The cost depends a lot on where you go and how far you are from that place, and what all  you want to do.

Post # 6
7296 posts
Busy Beekeeper

in a nutshell – the good is that you get the wedding of your dreams, it is usually cheaper and more fun than doing a wedding in your hometown (fun because you get to travel for a week with all the people closest to you, so the vacation aspect is what i mean by “more fun”).

The bad is that inevitably there will be some people you really want at your wedding that just won’t be able to be there.  And it can be a stressful planning experience having to do everything over email, not meeting vendors in person till a couple of days before your wedding and most likely not even seeing your venue until you get there!

For me the pros FAR outweighed the cons. the biggest con for me really was not having certain people there (the others “cons” are manageable and are not worse i don’t think than any local planning stress you may experience), but there is a semi-fix to that con as well – you can do an at home reception after the wedding – and it can be as cheap and casual or as fancy and expensive as you see fit (i opted for the backyard BBQ and it was awesome). we even did a little photo shoot with the VIPs who couldn’t come to our wedding (2 BMs, plus DH’s sister, niece and nephew).   

Post # 7
5787 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2011

I had a semi-DW, most of our guestlist traveled but it was in my hometown (Clearwater, FL).

Cons –

People will not come. People who swear up and down they will come, will not come. A lot of DHs friends didn’t make the trip and I know he was disappointed.

I still managed to spend 35k+ on 100 guests so it doesn’t guarantee you’ll save money.

Planning can be a pain. I took two trips to plan and it was a whirlwind. If you want to DIY everything or super duper care about every tiny detail, its not for you.

Private beaches are hard to come by (if you’re thinking beach). I know other bees managed to avoid crowds but I had onlookers. Didn’t bother me but could be a con for you.

Pros –

Everyone showing up at the hotel the day before ready to relax/party was so exciting!

Atmosphere! You can’t buy scenery (well you can, but it would be like 20k in florals)

I have to run to a meeting (I do work sometimes) but for us, the Pros far outweighed the Cons. We loved our wedding!

Post # 8
928 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

I agree with PurpleUnicorn. I recently did a Destination Wedding and I’m so glad we chose to go that route. Of course, it was easier for me because my half of the family already lived at our destination (Hawaii).

It was a little stressful planning everything remotely. Because it was so far away I didn’t have a chance to check out the restaurant where we were having our reception, or the beach where we were having our ceremony or even taste the cake we ordered until a few days before the ceremony. By that time everything was already locked in and I wouldn’t have been able to change my mind if we didn’t like something.

On the other hand, we had a beautiful family vacation with our nearest and dearest. Thankfully, our closest friends were able to make it and we had an amazing time. It was exactly what we wanted, namely a vacation where we just happened to get married.

Was it stressful? Yes. Imagine trying to herd 40+ people around an area none of them had been to before. I admit to having a slight breakdown in the midst of everything – but I think that might happen to most brides anyway.

In the end it was totally worth it.

And if you feel like  you’re missing out on the traditional wedding planning details – centerpiece decor, cake tasting, etc. you can always do an at home reception. We’re doing one in a few weeks to celebrate with some of our friends and I’m getting to experience some of the fun wedding-y stuff. Like making seating charts, and centerpieces and all that good stuff.

Post # 10
4803 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I’m going to Maui for my wedding and I would definitely recommend it at least from a planning perspective.  I’m having around 45 guests which will cost just over $10,000 for a full wedding and reception. 

I am not taking any trips to plan; I’m using a coordinator over there and just going with it, so I would say planning it has been extremely easy.

Post # 11
5993 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2010

we married on a private south pacific tropical island

pro: no one was invited!  we had a wedding coordinator that took care of everything, all we had to do was show up and when we got home we had a catered party at a fraction of the cost

con: although looking back i wish i did get a photographer – otherwise none!

Post # 12
1828 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

@imalittlebirdie:  $4500 for 10 people doesn’t sound that bad if includes ceremony and reception. Most of those types of packages include everything (decor, photographer, etc). I’ve seen photographer packages at home and they can run up to $4500 for that let alone flowers, food, venue, ceremony, decor, etc.

We are going to Disney. Yes it will be expensive but we also get a holiday out of it as well so it’s perfect for us.

Post # 13
365 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

If you are really interested in a destination wedding, definitely check out other posts under the section because I think it covers many people’s opinions on a Destination Wedding.  I got married in Grand Cayman.  It was the best decision for us.  

We had an engagement party of 250 ppl, and we only saw each other for 15 minutes the whole night.  We did not want our wedding to be like that.  We had 48 at our wedding, and it was perfect for us.  However, the cons are definitely that some will not be able to come and some will not like your choice of a destination wedding.  For us, the pros far outweighed in that we got to spend a long weekend with so many loved ones in a fun place.

There are definitely all kinds of prices for a Destination Wedding from super expesnive to super affordable.  You just have to look around.

Post # 14
651 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

We are having a Destination Wedding as well.

As bees have mentioned, be prepared for some important people not to come. If you have a date, stick to it. Don’t change just because it’s convenient for some people (because in the end, other people will be pregnant/whatever and won’t come either). So just pick the best date, let everyone know in advance (for us, this didn’t help all that much either. It’s very simple: those who really want to come, will come and those who aren’t keen, won’t come no matter what;) ).

Cost-wise, per person is actually much more for us but because we only have 40 guests, it’s not all that bad. In total, including our own flight (but excl. accomodation), we’re paying US$29 000. This is a lot and I’m sure you can have a wedding in the US for this as well but now we have a much more luxurious one.

Yes, you will get ripped off so choose your venue carefully. Our venue is lovely but unfortunately, everything is much more expensive BECAUSE of the venue (Four Seasons…) . Even if you find your own vendors, you have to pay the venue a significant comission and the problem is, when your wedding is on a small island, all the vendors are in cahoots with each other. Also, there is very little competition (if at all), so the suppliers have a lot of power. They can charge you anything they like and you have no choice but to accept it (or you can say no but then you also would have no flowers for eg.) 😉

That all said and done, I am happy we chose what we did. I am not missing the big wedding thing at all. I am really looking forward to my guests’ first experience in Asia. I am glad I don’t have to do a Dutch wedding with a lame reception (no food?! This is such a nono to me haha). Yes, we’ll be broke (since we won’t get gifts or anything too) but heck, we’ll have a lot of fun spending our money along the way.


Post # 15
1340 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

We are having a Destination Wedding on a cruise out of Baltimore. We chose it because our families likes to travel and knew we would do a Destination Wedding (their intuition) before we accounced we were engaged. It has proven to be a great deal less expensive and only FI’s family from OK (there are five of them coming out) have to travel.

I agree that you should expect people who swear up and down that they’re coming will not come. FI’s BFFL had to step down as MoH because she recently learned that she can’t come and my BFFL is unable to attend–we are both a bit sad about that.

Don’t expect that it will be cheaper all of the time. We chose our cruiseline because it was less expensive and we knew (after speaking to them) that our deal-breaker guests could afford to attend. We are paying for the cruise for ten people (parents, siblings, niece and nephew) and our wedding together come to less than $7500. Our top choice was a Disney cruise out of NYC, but it was going to be about $2000 a person just for the cabins–we couldn’t afford to take anyone.

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