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Before you say “I Do”

According to a study from XO Group Inc., creator of wedding websites and, 350,000 destination weddings take place annually. Such figures reflect a growing trend of couples who want to tailor their weddings to their own personalities, even if that means tying the knot in exotic or unusual locales.
But as popular as destination weddings have become, couples who have had such weddings can attest that planning a destination wedding is not necessarily easier than planning a more traditional ceremony close to home. Though destination weddings can make for memorable affairs, there are some factors couples must consider when mulling whether or not to have a destination wedding.
Guest list
The XO Group study found that destination weddings have an average of 86 guests. When sitting down to organize their guest lists, many couples realize they have well over 100 guests on their lists. Such couples may find a destination wedding especially difficult to pull off, as resorts may or may not be able to accommodate such a substantial number of guests. In addition, couples who hope to invite children to their weddings might want to reconsider a destination affair, as those youngsters’ parents will have to foot the bill for additional airfare and accommodations and, depending on when the wedding takes place, pull the kids out of school for an extended period of time. Couples with smaller guest lists might find a destination wedding much more manageable than those whose guest lists crack triple digits.
Another thing to consider is that the larger the guest list, the more likely many of those guests will not be able to afford to attend or get enough time off from work to make it to a destination wedding. Couples who want to ensure all of their loved ones can be there with them on their big days might be better off avoiding destination weddings.
Accessibility is a common concern for couples considering destination weddings. Destination weddings typically ask guests to travel far to attend the ceremony and reception, but there are ways to make that travel less of an ordeal. When choosing a location for their destination weddings, couples should consider the cost and convenience of travel. Remote islands are not very accessible, and as a result guests will likely have to pay a pretty penny for their flights and lodging. In addition, the more remote a destination wedding locale is, the less convenient getting there figures to be. Nonstop flights likely won’t be a possibility. Before choosing a locale for a destination wedding, research flights, making sure that affordable flights are available within spitting distance of loved ones’ homes and that they won’t have to suffer through multiple connecting flights when traveling to and from the wedding.
Weather is another factor couples must consider before choosing to have a destination wedding. The XO Group study found that 30 percent of American couples who have destination weddings choose to tie the knot outside of the continental United States. That’s a distinct disadvantage for couples who likely are not very familiar with weather patterns overseas. Couples who choose outdoor weddings close to home are often familiar enough with local weather patterns to choose a wedding date that likely won’t be interrupted by harsh weather. But choosing an overseas or distant locale erases that comfort level, and couples may find themselves worrying about storms or other inclement weather conditions as their wedding days draw nearer. Before choosing a locale for their destination weddings, couples should thoroughly research each potential destination’s weather patterns. Brides, grooms and guests alike don’t want to do all of that traveling only to end up indoors because it just so happens to be tropical storm season.
As destination weddings have grown in popularity, the competition for idyllic locales and top-notch venues has increased. That competition is great for venue owners’ bottom lines, but it might not be so great for couples looking to keep their wedding costs down. Costs might be considerably less in the off-season, but that’s also when storms and inclement weather tend to take hold, Booking a venue early can help couples mitigate some of the costs of a destination wedding, but the growing popularity of destination weddings might make them out of reach for couples working on tight budgets.

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