Say “I Do” to a Destination Wedding
by Celece Seegmiller
For the past year, I’ve had a very difficult decision to make. It all started when Rob Krieger asked me to marry him in beautiful French Polynesia on the m/s Paul Gauguin. Since then, everyone wants to know where and when we will have the wedding. How do I possibly top an engagement in Tahiti? Since we have family on both coasts, it has been a difficult decision to make. After months of pricing and debating the pros and cons, we finally decided on a destination wedding. There’s a new trend when it comes to weddings and more couples are choosing to say “I Do” in an exciting destination. After experiencing the decision process personally, now I see why.
Every time I travel, I see beautiful brides being photographed on the white sand as the turquoise waves crash on the beach. Many couples are foregoing the traditional idea of a wedding – a local ceremony in front of 300 family, friends and random strangers – for an intimate destination wedding.
According to the American Society of Travel Agents, a destination wedding is labeled by some as a “wedding moon,” combining the wedding, reception, and honeymoon together in one location. The destination wedding is held at a desirable site, sometimes tropical, other times exotic, allowing the guests to enjoy a relaxing, activity-filled vacation while spending more quality time with the wedding couple. The couple invites only their nearest and dearest to celebrate the union. All events occur over a long
weekend, along with other wedding activities designed to bring the revelers together. Some couples choose have their religious ceremonies at home and then another one in the destination.
If it’s hard to imagine what a destination wedding is like, picture this – the bride and groom are in a warm, tropical setting, surrounded by friends and family toasting their success. The sounds of music and ocean waves peacefully blend together in the background, and a feast is prepared in their honor in the local traditions. Every single detail, from the setting of the service to the flowers, has been effortlessly arranged to suit their taste. After the ceremony, they won’t have to leave this breathtaking locale, for they can have their honeymoon there as well.
Some of the many benefits when it comes to planning a destination wedding include:
The Beauty of Package Deals – Tourism organizations, resorts and cruise lines offer wedding packages to keep a destination wedding stress-free and simple. Some offer the complimentary services of their on-site wedding consultant to help coordinate the essentials. Travel agents can expand these package deals to include fun activities such as sightseeing excursions, snorkeling adventures, or shopping trips.
Avoiding the Awkward Invites – Because destination weddings are generally intimate affairs attended by only closest
friends and dearest family members, couples avoid being forced into inviting best friend Jenny’s little brother they met once 10 years ago. Couples get to choose the level of intimacy for the ceremony and invite accordingly, or they invite no one at all for a very romantic trip down the aisle. Destination weddings are also very popular for second weddings and vow renewals.
No Reception with 250 People to Pay For – A luxurious wedding weekend at a fabulous destination oftentimes costs less than a seated dinner. Travel agents can negotiate a discounted rate for booking multiple rooms and group rates with airlines or cruise ships. In addition, lay-away plans may be available, making it more affordable for guests to join the bride and groom.
No Extra Traveling Necessary – Destination weddings are perfect for couples with families and friends scattered around the country or even the world. If a good majority of your guests would have to travel to your hometown anyway, then getting married in a desirable vacation spot will make many of your guests happy.
Destinations like our very own red rocks, the sunny beaches in the Caribbean, and even the hills of Tuscany make excellent backdrops. Not only do they create incredible wedding memories for the bride and groom, but all their friends and family too. I can’t wait for my own destination wedding with our closest friends and family. Be sure to read the summer issue and see where in the world we decided to say “I Do!”