As smaller ceremonies continue to rise in popularity, today’s couples are finding themselves with bigger budgets to spend on weddings abroad. Destination weddings and honeymoon packages can offer a variety of perks beyond just interesting attractions and beautiful locations.
Not Just a Wedding, a Vacation
A wedding abroad gives couples a chance to turn their special day into a vacation. Rather than wait until their honeymoon, they can indulge immediately in the wonder offered by far-flung locales while surrounded by their loved ones.
Many of our clients have expressed interest in giving their friends and relatives the chance to experience the destination itself as an added vacation stay.
So, if you’re considering a wedding abroad, we’ve compiled a list of destinations to help you create an incredible experience for everyone.
Types of Destination Weddings and the Best Places to Go
One of the great things about a destination wedding is that it can reflect your particular style of travel.
Whether you’re looking for leisurely fun in the sun, a one-of-a-kind cultural experience, or something more adventurous, here are some suggestions to help you plan the wedding of your dreams.
1. Old World
Not only is Europe rich in history, but it serves as the location of some of the greatest love stories of all time. The continent boasts breathtaking wedding venues throughout its storied lands. So, whether you dream of being married in a Tuscan villa, romantic cathedral, or medieval castle, Europe has plenty of venues and wedding packages for any couple’s budget.
Where to Go
- Italy: Italy is a classic destination for an old-world wedding. From Lake Como to Venice to Amalfi, the country abounds in sites that are perfect for celebrating a timeless union. And by renting out an Italian villa, you’ll be able to enjoy the company of your loved ones while surrounded by exquisite architecture and rustic beauty.
- Ireland: Famous for its rugged beaches and castle-dotted hills, the emerald isle will enchant couples with its lush, green landscapes. Exchange vows atop the cliffs of Moher. Indulge in the luxury of the Drenagh Estate and the Moon Garden. Solidify your union on a private island at Belle Isle Castle. Ireland provides some of the best of what the Old World has to offer.
Rising in popularity, adventure destination weddings provide myriad opportunities for an unforgettable time. This may mean renting Superjeeps for your 40+ person guest list and spending the day away from typical tourist locations, or taking a boat through deep fjords and glacier lagoons. Or maybe you’d prefer going on a two-hour hike, dog sledding, or ice climbing. It all depends on the adventure level you’re looking for.
What to Do
Fly High in Montana: Along with an impressive variety of ground based-activities for couples and their loved ones, The Resort at Paws Up in Montana offers adventurous paramours the opportunity to get married in a hot-air balloon. During the winter, couples can exchange vows high above the ground while passing over the snow-capped scenery of Glacier National Park.
Hike a Glacier in Iceland: For alpine enthusiasts looking to celebrate their love and their love of nature, getting married atop a glacier in Iceland is the perfect union of passion and partnership. Trade in the tux and wedding gown for climbing boots and an ice axe and enjoy a snowy panorama of glaciers, fjords, and crevasses as you exchange vows.
3. Destination Cruise
Destination cruise weddings provide a plethora of options for those seeking variety. You can have the ceremony at your home port and invite guests who won’t be able to join you on the trip. You can also choose to get married at an exotic locale and enjoy the ports of call with your loved ones on the way there. Either way, everything you need to make your wedding as beautiful and seamless as possible is right at your fingertips. From the right venue to the right menu, you’ll find fantastic choices onboard as well as inclusive wedding packages that leave room for customization.
Where to Go
Jamaica: Jamaica is known for its friendly locals, laidback spirit, and sun-kissed beaches. A passionate and lively island, there is plenty for friends and family to enjoy before and after you tie the knot. Tour a coffee farm, snorkel on a secluded white-sand beach, trek to a hidden waterfall. A destination wedding in Jamaica is equal parts romantic, adventurous, and playful.
Tahiti: Tahiti is a truly romantic destination. From the white sandy beaches of Morea to the blue lagoons of Taha’a to the thatched-roof villas of Papeete, this Polynesian chain of islands abounds in natural beauty that will make for a unique ceremony.
Tips and Trends to Keep in Mind
So, now that you’ve got an idea of possible destinations for the big day, here are a few tips and trends to consider.
Intimate and Extravagant
Because destination weddings tend to be smaller, they provide a great opportunity for couples to create a ceremony that is both intimate and extravagant. A smaller guest list means more room for lavish expenses and accommodations to be enjoyed by friends and family.
Choosing the Right Package
Depending on the size of the destination wedding, resorts offer different packages to fit a couple’s budget, style, and inclusions.
More expensive packages usually offer more inclusions for larger weddings such as photography, cocktail receptions before dinner, upgraded decor, etc. Many resorts also offer the bride and groom perks in exchange for hosting their wedding. These might include all-inclusive options, complimentary nights during their stay, and other amenities.
Be sure to inquire about these options when researching your venue.
Embrace the Mini-moon
In today’s 24/7 world, finding time for yourself can be a challenge. So, it’s no surprise that both mini-moons and delayed honeymoons are on the rise.
Mini-moons let couples take a bit of time to decompress after the wedding, but without needing to be away from work and their normal routine for an extended period. Then, once they’ve accumulated more time and money, these couples can take a more expansive honeymoon.
Mini-moons are a great way to eliminate the pressure and expense of planning a wedding and honeymoon all at once.
Ask About Elopement Packages
For couples who want a more intimate wedding—at the fraction of the cost of a traditional wedding and with fewer guests—elopement packages are a great value. Usually offered by resorts that cater to destination weddings, elopement packages include all the basics for tying the knot, but with the venue handling the majority of the logistics. In return the couple gets to have the wedding day to themselves but without sacrificing traditional wedding options (wedding planner, choice of ceremony, officiant, music, photographer, flowers, wedding cake, etc.).
What to Watch Out For
While a wedding abroad can be a great way to keep costs down and reallocate parts of your wedding budget, you and your partner should take a few things into account when planning.
Your Guests’ Budgets
Your guests may not be able to attend because of the cost. You should consider the average price of airfare to the destination from their home city and the cost of the room for a short stay or up to seven nights.
Due to the pandemic, passport processing is currently delayed by 6 to 8 months. You should reserve space well in advance so your guests have time to renew their passports if necessary.
When planning your destination wedding, it’s easy to overlook the legal requirements that come with getting married abroad. You should take into account the local laws and regulations required for a legal union in the country where your wedding will be.
To avoid any complications, we recommend having the legal ceremony performed locally and a symbolic wedding done at the destination.
Why You Should Book in Advance
With weddings and honeymoons being postponed over the past two years due to the pandemic, the wedding industry is heavily overloaded. Availability is tight for many destinations and airfare schedules are still not fully back to normal. Prices are also higher as a result.
Booking in advance will not only help you save money on airfare but provide flexibility should any schedule changes arise.
How The Travel Team Can Help
As an established leader in destination weddings and romance travel, we offer couples a simple way to create their own personalized celebration in paradise. Our expertise helps make the planning experience easy and stress-free.
Many of our advisors are experts in a particular destination and know the best venues and locations to help make your special day even more memorable. We also offer assistance when it comes to booking group activities and excursions, making sure your wedding is an unforgettable experience for everyone involved.