You're engaged and have decided to say your "I dos" far away from home and are planning an incredible destination wedding with your most loved family and friends. Before you finalize your destination, know that not all venues and destinations are created equal when it comes to your guests' experience.
Once you determine the type of atmosphere and climate you prefer, there are certain guest considerations we recommend you keep in mind so they will be thrilled to join you for your big day - and will not be complaining behind your back.
Air Lift and Average Airfare Costs
The actual ease of flying to your destination, in addition to price, should be significant factors in your wedding destination selection to make travel easier on your guests. This is one of the reasons you can count on Las Vegas to remain one of the most popular destination wedding cities in the US. It has more flights at a great price than pretty much anywhere else. For example, if you are considering a destination wedding in the Caribbean, it's pretty easy to get a direct flight from most major US cities into Puerto Rico, Punta Cana or Nassau, Bahamas, but your guests will almost always require a connection on a small prop plane and will experience higher costs if you plan your wedding in locations like Tortola or St. Lucia.
Availability Of a Range Of Accommodation Price Points
It is your wedding and you have every right to get married at any venue you wish, but when the only available accommodations in the area start at $600 per night, there is a good chance some of your family and friends may not find it financially feasible to attend. To prevent this problem, find a resort with a wide range of price points or check if there is another more affordable hotel nearby. If you do have guests staying off-site, be sure to consider transportation options for them to wedding events and make sure they receive their welcome bags so they feel included in the festivities.
Ease Of Getting To The Resort After Arriving At the Destination
Ideally, you will want your guests to avoid a game of "planes, trains and automobiles" to get to your wedding venue so they arrive as happy as possible. For example, if you always dreamed of a destination wedding in Italy, there's a big difference between traveling to Rome or to Capri. Your guests can fly direct to Rome from most major cities and upon landing can be at the hotel in less than 30 minutes. However, if you want to get married in Capri, they would still take that flight to Rome and then would take a train to Naples, a taxi to the port, a ferry to Capri and a bus or taxi to the hotel. This will feel excessive to most of your family and friends and will be nearly impossible for elderly guests attending the wedding. The extra connections also present additional opportunities for delays or lost luggage.
Things To Do At the Destination
Since your guests will be giving up some of their coveted vacation days to attend your destination wedding, make it easy for them to consider your wedding a vacation. If you select a venue with no shortage of things to see and do in the destination, your guests will be much happier than if they are isolated in a remote location with minimal available activities. This is why you don't hear about too many destination weddings in West Texas. The best locations combine free and splurge-worthy activities for guests of all ages. Just touting a beautiful beach isn't enough if you have guests in a wide range of age categories and mobility capabilities. However, a destination with a beautiful beach, sightseeing opportunities, great shopping, casinos, museums, professional sports and incredible nightlife would be much better choice and your guests will love it.
Above all, you will want your guests to feel safe while attending your wedding. Certain cities are known for high crime, drug violence, kidnappings and political unrest - especially in parts of Mexico, Central and South America. However, this in no way eliminates all those countries from your consideration, as the resort areas of Cabo San Lucas and Cancun, among others are considered relatively safe. It is best to check the U.S. State Department's website for travel warnings before finalizing your destination wedding plans.
Have you been a guest at a destination wedding? Feel free to leave feedback in the comments about your travel experience.