Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Destination-wise ...

Friends of ours recently got engaged! They are planning a destination wedding and it got me thinking. What wedding these days doesn't count as a destination wedding? In this day and age, when guests are attending multiple weddings per year - it seems like everyone is having to travel in from somewhere. A few years ago, a destination wedding was when the couple picked a warm place and a resort to get married, now it can be Los Angeles, New York City, The Hamptons or even Grand Rapids, Michigan - if at least 20% of your guests have to travel, I'd consider it a destination wedding.

What does a destination wedding mean planning wise? I would say the first and main element is - the location of the destination and your location. How many times are you able to travel to your destination to go over planning & details? You have to be able to travel there at least once before the wedding to make sure that your expectations are being met. For me, this is a non-negotiable. After that, with the internet and email, you can work with your coordinator (also, for me, a necessary - if there isn't a person on-site at the venue or resort, hire someone who will travel there for your wedding weekend, even if just for peace of mind) to finalize all other details.

Also, keep in mind that not all of your invited guests will be able to travel to your destination. It doesn't mean that they don't want to celebrate with you, it just means that financially or work wise, they can't afford it. Just accept their congratulations and move on.

Finally, think about why at the heart of your wedding, is a destination right for you as a couple? Perhaps the place holds lots of sentimental value, perhaps the place is where you fell in love - make sure your guests know why they are traveling to x,y and z location. Since it is important to you, it should be important to your guests. Keep them in the know!

As an aside - we had a destination wedding ourselves ... in East Hampton, NY. most guests didn't need to fly in (although some did) but we did have to keep in mind that everyone is on a different budget and that we had to offer something for everyone. We originally wanted to have our wedding in South Africa (where I am from), but quickly realized that most of our friends probably wouldn't want to give up precious vacation days and money to spend a week with us ... plus, we'd have to become travel agents and organize a lot of activities (which, I still think would have been fun, but that's just me!). Perhaps in a few years we can renew our vows in one of these amazing South African locations:

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