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Is a destination wedding the right fit for you?

What we'll cover

  • How to budget for a destination wedding

  • How to make your wedding fit you and your partner

  • What destination might be right for your wedding

When you picture your wedding day, do you see a church or maybe a modern event space? While you may have always assumed you’d get married where you live, many couples are opting to take their nuptials on the road (or overseas).

If the idea of your friends and family gathering in an exotic locale for your wedding day appeals to you, it’s time to start planning. Depending on your budget, guest list and preferences, the options are practically endless. Tropical beach sunset, historic European city or anywhere else you can dream up — the choice is up to you. Consider these factors when deciding if a destination wedding is right for you.

Break down your budget

Budget is an important factor in any wedding, but when you’re planning a destination event, you must consider some additional elements. Will air travel be required, and will your guests pay for their own airfare? You will also need to think about accommodations and meals for you and your guests. You may need to plan (and pay for) extra events aside from the wedding itself, like a welcome dinner or a goodbye brunch.

Beyond these special considerations, a destination wedding has many of the same costs as an in-town celebration, including catering, photography and attire. The total cost of a destination wedding is influenced by location, number of days, number of guests and time of year. The average baseline cost of a destination wedding is $35,000, compared to just under $30,000 for a standard wedding. Plotting out the additional expenses before you make any financial commitments can help you stay on budget from the start.

Plotting out the additional expenses before you make any financial commitments can help you stay on budget from the start.

Do a vibe check

Getting married in a far-flung location can be exciting, fun and create memories that will last a lifetime. But it’s important for you and your partner to really think about what you want from your wedding. If you hate the idea of certain family members being unable to attend or if planning such a big event from afar makes you super-anxious, a destination wedding might not be the best fit for you. Carefully weigh all the factors, including the planning process, cost and overall experience before you make your decision.

Analyze your guest list

Destination weddings are usually smaller than in-town ceremonies. Even if your budget and venue allow you to invite as many people as you would at home, you should expect fewer people to attend. Some relatives and friends may not be able to afford to travel for your big day, or they may have logistical challenges like difficulty taking time off work or finding childcare.

Before you go all in on a destination wedding, you should talk to your nearest and dearest to ensure the key players are on board for the idea. Because your celebration will likely span a few days, it can be a great opportunity to spend more quality time with your guests than you might at a traditional wedding, which typically only lasts several hours.

Make your destination dreams come true

 A destination wedding poses unique challenges but can make for a special experience you and your guests will never forget. Packing your bags and jetting across the country (or world) to say “I do” isn’t for everyone. Wondering if a destination wedding will work for you? Take our quiz to find out.

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