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You’ve heard it before – location, location, location. That’s because location is everything – when it comes to buying a home, having dinner with friends or taking your dog to the park. No matter what it is, location is usually always an important factor to consider and can have an impact on your overall decision.
You aren’t going to purchase a home in an unsafe neighborhood or meet your friends at a boring overpriced restaurant. You’re going to look for the best location that will best suit your needs. When it comes to identifying the best location, many things come into play, especially when you’re planning a destination wedding.
It’s like a puzzle you must put together, but with a time limit, and if the pieces don’t fit, it can throw off the entire thing. Location is a crucial part of this puzzle. In fact, it’s the first part of the puzzle you should complete because it’s the glue of the entire thing.
There are many things to consider, like the number of guests, the season, accessibility, hotel availability and so much more, but once you choose the right destination, everything else will fall into place. So, before you jump the gun on your wedding location, first consider these six qualities that make up the most ideal location to have your destination wedding.
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Your wedding destination should represent you and your hubby – not anything or anyone else. It should be the embodiment of who you are and how you would like to begin your marital life.
If you’re a low-key couple, don’t be pressured into an elaborate wedding with a ton of extra bells and whistles you don’t want nor need. Opt for a boho beach wedding instead – something more intimate.
If you’re looking for an over-the-top production, and there’s nothing wrong with that, consider a cruise ship wedding or a historical castle as your venue. It all starts with you and yours. Decide what kind of wedding you want, then scout potential destinations from there. Choose a meaningful location, like the beach town you spent lots of time at as a kid or one of your favorite vacation spots as a couple.
You could also decide to try something adventurous and very unlike you, just for the heck of it. And why not? It’s your wedding!
Another thing to consider is the type of fun and games you've got planned for your guests. Once you pinpoint what you want, it is advisable to go check it out for yourself, if you haven't been there before. It might look absolutely stunning in the pictures you've seen, but we know looks can be deceiving.
It’s Easily Accessible
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Remember your intended guest list when you choose your destination. If you have a big list that includes grandparents and elderly guests, keep them in mind because some of them may not be able to handle extensive travel. Same for younger children – it can be hard for them to travel for long lengths of time.
For guests who are limited to shorter travel, a 36-hour trip to Tahiti is not the way to go for your wedding, so avoid long-haul destinations if you have a larger, more extensive wedding party and guest list.
But even for small lists, you also might not want to cause your guests undue hassle. You don't have to be an older adult or a baby to find a trip involving two layovers and a canoe ride a pain. If you are going on a private jet charter on the other hand, your journey will be a lot shorter and easier on your wedding party.
If you are looking for a way to limit the guests at your wedding and you don’t want any crashers, a hard to reach place might also work. This is a common trick used by many celebrities trying to avoid the prying eyes of paparazzi.
Bear in mind, that distant or hard to reach locations are also more expensive to travel to, which brings us to the next point.
Your Guests Can Afford It
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Even though it’s your big day and it’s all about you and the hubby, don’t forget – not everyone has a massive wedding budget. Be considerate and forgo the resort wedding that will cost guests an arm and a leg to attend, otherwise, you risk them not coming.
This tends to be a common issue when brides plan their weddings. You expect everyone you invite to jump at the opportunity of flying away to your destination wedding, but this is rarely the case, and this is why.
It’s best to find a nice and affordable middle ground that gives you everything you want, but also makes it possible for everyone you care about to attend. It may take some research, but the right destination is out there. If you have a smaller group, and they are ok with a more expensive trip, then go for it.
While this might not sound so great, it is worth considering that the wedding gifts you get are relative to the costs your guests incur. So, when the destination is expensive, guests tend not to buy any gifts.
The Right Season is Available
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If you plan to have your wedding during the school year, be conscientious of the time off guests will have to take from work and school. Consider the climate of the destination, and research rainy season, hurricane season and super-hot or cold months.
Costa Rica is a great example because it’s warm and sunny during the winter, but most people may not know that without research. It’s a destination that provides the perfect backdrop for any wedding with its gorgeous views and tropical rainforest. Costa Rica’s Villa Punto De Vista is a five-star luxury villa and a premier wedding venue for destination weddings. It gives you the option to have your wedding on the beach, in a ballroom, on a beautiful terrace and more.
The same is true of Argentina, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. It might seem ludicrous planning a wedding for the dead of winter, but when you consider your destination, it all makes sense. This allows you to plan your perfect summer wedding at any time of the year unless you have a specific country in mind.
It Fits Your Budget
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Sure, it’s great if you’re able to lock down that Scottish castle you’ve always dreamed of, but not if you can’t afford the wedding packages that come with it. Lots of locations for destination weddings offer full-service wedding packages to help plan your wedding, lock down vendors, manage it the day of and more. There are so many all-inclusive packages, and some even include group discount rates.
Each location is different, so before you lock yours down, make sure you have an idea of who you will hire and use for everything else and if it works for your budget. You don’t want to serve corn dogs at your elaborate castle wedding. Also, consider travel costs for guests, if you’re covering them because this is one thing that can add up quickly.
While it might sound prudent to DIY your wedding, this is only advisable if you are very familiar with the location. If you are a stranger trying to book vendors based on what you see on Instagram, you could wind up getting less than you bargained for. You could also end up having to spend more than you would have with the all-inclusive deal.
Add up all of your estimated costs, but make sure you leave some wiggle room for unexpected charges. This will help you determine whether a destination is financially doable or not.
You Can Make It Your Honeymoon
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What’s better than a wedding and a honeymoon all in one? Especially if you plan to celebrate with friends and family you may not see all the time. Guests will also make a destination wedding a vacation for themselves, so tie it into your honeymoon.
Group honeymoons have become more popular over time. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a couple of quiet nights away with your new hubby. It just means you’ll have more people to celebrate with for a longer amount of time, if this is something you’re open to. Make it a party for everyone to enjoy and never forget.
Again, you will need to consider the type of activities you are planning for your honeymoon. This will affect the type of guests you invite (children or not) and the particular venue you choose. If you don't want to be with guests the whole time, you might consider a place that has other smaller island resorts around it, like the Cayman Islands or the Maldives.
There are several things to consider when choosing your ideal destination for your wedding. You’ll want to consider your budget first and foremost, your guest list, whether it’s the right place for you as a couple, the season and if it’s easily accessible.
If you’re looking to tie your honeymoon into your wedding destination, this is another important thing to keep in mind because it’s entirely possible with the right planning. Your guests will use your wedding destination as an excuse to take an extended vacation themselves, so why not take advantage of having everyone all together in one place at one time? You can always break off from everyone after a couple of days and venture off on your own as a couple.
No matter what you choose to do or what type of destination is right for your wedding, make sure you consider the important qualities that make up your ideal destination wedding location.
Kacey Bradley is the lifestyle and travel blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Follow Kacey on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts!