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destination weddings



Simple enough. So, if you are considering a destination wedding, whether it is still a traditional wedding or perhaps in lieu of a traditional wedding, then the following information should be of great help. Destination Weddings are on the rise as the new dream wedding. As Orange County Professional Photographers, Three16 Photography is your go-to photographer for your wedding, as we have had the pleasure shooting wedding photography at some locations that required travel. It was fun and exciting.

Many people may love the idea of a destination wedding, but they know that by doing that, either several friends and/or family members will not be able to travel. The reasons may be financial, failing health, lack of time off from work, restraints due to children, the inability to travel or any other commitments they may have. So often the couple gives up the idea of a destination wedding so not to inconvenience their love ones.

That is why in many cases, either a couple will go alone, similar to an elopement, or with just a very, very few people so that it appears to be only an intimate affair and maybe have a reception after getting back home.

We've had our share of destination weddings including Noriega House in Bakersfield, California, Horning's Hideout in North Plains, Oregon, among others. We've also photographed destination engagements such as in the San Francisco Bay.

There are two types of destination wedding ceremonies. One is having your ceremony at a particular location that has meaning to the couple. This could include an island, another country, an all-inclusive resort, a dream location, etc. The other destination wedding is still the traditional one, but perhaps it is where many of the relatives of either the bride or the groom had once lived. So, for example, if the couple lives on the west coast, but the bride grew up on the east coast, then perhaps she has a very large family still in the east. Then it may be more convenient financially for the groom’s side to travel back east for the wedding.

A Destination Wedding is simply a wedding that takes anywhere in the world that isn’t where you currently reside.

items to consider:

Pro’s for a Destination Wedding

  • Other than travel, sometimes a destination wedding can cost a little less than a traditional wedding. After all, a big chunk of your wedding budget is in the reception. So, you may have airfare and a hotel to pay for, but if you stay at your location for your honeymoon, then you will already have a deal in place. Saving money here is assuming there is no reception planned back home upon your return. If you plan a traditional reception afterwards, then we are talking a whole different story. See the Con’s section below.
  • A destination wedding can be more intimate that the traditional big wedding. This could mean just the two of you, maybe another couple as witnesses and/or your parents and siblings. It’s your wedding, so it’s your decision.
  • As for stress, you will always have some regardless, but with a destination wedding you don’t have as many details to stress about.
  • All-inclusive resort weddings are a great way to go. Like the name says, All-inclusive. These locations have already preplanned all weddings minus the little touches you want to add or change. But they handle it for you.

Con’s for a Destination Wedding

  • The biggest challenge might be simply dealing with hurt feelings of those who are not invited or who cannot travel. If you are planning a reception after coming home, that will ease some of it. If you explain your particular reasons as to the location and the decision behind why and who was invited, usually they will understand and get over it sooner than those you don’t talk to. Be sure to talk to them in person or by a phone call. Do not do this via email, text or social media.
  • If you are planning a reception after you get back home, consider the cost. Instead of saving money, you will probably be spending more. Decide on the type of reception and the budget you have for it.
  • One of the issues that face many couples that get married away from the United States, is that you return thinking you are married, but often is the case you are not. So, you want to either confirm before you go that you will be legally married or not. If you just aren’t sure, get married at home in a local courthouse before you go and then the destination wedding can be symbolic of a wedding. Besides, if you do this, no one but you and your new spouse has to know. Every country has its own laws about this, so you want to be sure.

Here are some other suggestions to consider with a Destination Wedding:

  • Choose a location that has some meaning to you and your spouse to be. Bottom line is that despite all that you just read or everything you hear from family and friends, outside of a dangerous location, this is your wedding and you choose a location that is important to you. Maybe it was a vacation you both took together at one point, a childhood dream, or simply a love for that location. Do it for you first.
  • If you have never been there, or haven’t in a very long time, then take time and visit. First, it may no longer be the location you had wished for. On the other hand, it may confirm what you wanted and that will make planning easier. While you are there, you can interview various vendors such as a coordinator, a photographer, hotel and restaurants, etc.
  • Once you have decided on a location, be sure to inform any guests as soon as you can so they have time to prepare to go. Vacation requests may need to be made from work or they may need to plan financially.
  • Hire a coordinator that lives in that area that can have a hands-on approach, so you don’t have to keep flying back and forth. You still have the ultimate say but let them provide you various suggestions and vendors to talk to. Then once you have that all settled, they can oversee the process prior to you arriving.
  • Consider your clothing options once you have decided on a location. Think about if the weather is likely to be cold or will it be hot or even humid, and then consider that when selecting a dress as to the material it is made of. And, if you are flying to the destination, we suggest you take your dress on board the plane with you. Fold it in your lap or in the overheads if need be. You have heard about the nightmares of planes losing luggage that has been checked-in, you truly don’t want this happening with your wedding dress.

If you are set on having a traditional wedding ceremony at home, then so be it. But if you like the idea or the excitement of a destination wedding, then be sure to do your homework and then go for it.

things to know:

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