5 Reasons Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Plan a Destination Wedding
Are you hoping to plan a destination wedding in 2022 or even 2023? Now is the time to start. As travel restrictions begin to ease up around the world, travel is coming back in a big way. Places like Mexico and Jamaica are ideal for unforgettable marriage ceremonies and extended family vacations after spending months apart.
Following the cancellations and shutdowns of 2020, the demand for destination weddings is high. Resorts are selling out quickly; in fact, many of the top weekends are already booked for the first few months of 2022.
We recommend planning 9-12 months in advance for a smaller wedding (less than 50 people) and 12-18 months for a larger celebration. Whether your dream wedding is a quiet oceanfront service or a big family blowout, there has never been a better time to hop on the plane and spend your wedding weekend surrounded by palm trees and crashing waves. Here are the five best reasons to start planning your destination wedding.
1. Spend More Time With the People You Care About
A destination wedding is the perfect way to spend quality time with family and friends. It's more than a ceremony—it's a multi-day vacation with the people you love most. During a traditional wedding, the married couple is lucky to get a few minutes with each guest. When you're staying at the same resort with your guests, there's plenty of time to relax by the pool, take tours, and dine as a group.
If you plan your wedding in a country like the Dominican Republic or Mexico, chances are that about 60% of the people you invite will actually attend. The majority of the "yes" RSVPs will probably be from family members and close friends; they're most likely to commit the time to travel. That means you'll get a few days of making memories with the most important people in your life. Compare that to a typical wedding, where your time is split between distant relatives, colleagues, and other acquaintances.
After a long year of stay-at-home orders and limited movement, your family and friends are probably ready for an escape. A destination wedding is a wonderful reason to celebrate and an exciting excuse to travel. By starting the planning process now, you can give everyone time to block out your dates and start saving for the trip.
2. Your Pictures Will Be Amazing
In the decades after your marriage ceremony, wedding photos will be a beloved reminder of the special day. With a destination wedding, you can bid farewell to dim reception hall lighting and run-of-the-mill bridal party shots — your photos will be amazing. Picture yourself with sun-kissed skin, standing on the sand with the shimmering turquoise sea as a backdrop. Or, imagine family photos under the palm trees as the sun sets. These are photos you'll be proud to display for years to come.
The ceremony photos are just the beginning; after all, you're on vacation! Every guest at the wedding will be taking photos in the pool, on the beach, at dinner, and during the ceremony. At the end of the weekend, you'll have a huge collection of candid shots, each with a gorgeous setting.
3. You Can Combine Your Honeymoon and Destination Wedding
Are you wondering how to plan destination weddings around a honeymoon? Consider combining them into a single trip. Spend the first part of the vacation with your family and friends. When they leave, take time to relax in paradise with your new spouse. This is a great way to keep the romantic vibe going after the wedding ends and enjoy some time together. Plus, you don't need to worry about lining up your work schedules in the future to plan a separate honeymoon.
If you're on a budget, keep costs in check by adding a few nights to your existing reservation. Some resorts offer complimentary honeymoon packages as part of your wedding package. They usually include perks like breakfast in bed, couples' massages, and candlelit dinners on the beach.
Another great option is to switch to an adults-only resort or a more boutique resort with an atmosphere that's designed for couples. In many popular wedding destinations, you'll find a number of stunning resorts nearby. This low-stress option brings a change of pace to set the tone for your honeymoon.
No matter which option you choose, your honeymoon in an exotic locale is a fantastic time to check off items on your bucket list: Explore the jungle, go parasailing, or splash out on a private sunset sailboat tour.
4. More Options for Settings and Vibe
When planning a wedding in your home city, options may be quite limited. Destination weddings open up a world of possibilities beyond typical ballrooms and event venues.
Choose a stunning spot next to the lush jungle, or select a tropical island with a bohemian vibe. The location is just part of the fun — the best resorts offer multiple settings to help you find the area that feels right. Get married with your bare feet in the sand, or host a sophisticated rooftop ceremony with panoramic views of the water. Tropical gardens, pools, decks, terraces, ballrooms, ocean piers, and chapels are just a few of the options.
When it comes to luxury properties, one of our favorite spots is the adults-only Le Blanc Los Cabos. This stunning resort hosts weddings on the private Wind Terrace, on the marble-floored Blanc Terrace, and in an elegant ballroom. If you choose a waterfront wedding on the expansive beach, the staff can set up the ceremony and reception area in the same place.
If you're thinking about an all-inclusive resort in Cancun, there are plenty of different options to help create the vibe you're going for. The Hard Rock Cancun has a fun, active atmosphere with live music around every corner — plus, you can choose from venues including the beach, garden, rooftop, and pool deck. In addition to affordable destination wedding packages, the Hard Rock offers credits toward welcome parties, receptions, and other private events. For a smaller, boutique-style vibe, check out the Beach Palace, where the private poolside wedding venue offers views of the ocean and the lagoon. If you're looking to splurge on an upscale destination wedding, look no further than the five-star Hyatt Ziva Cancun. Get married on one of two beaches, an elegant pool deck, or a private rooftop with spectacular ocean views. Their expert team can customize your event with fire pits, stunning florals, creative menus, and more.
How do destination weddings work if you want a Catholic service? When a legal and religious ceremony is a priority, the easiest solution is to choose a resort with an approved Catholic chapel. Some of the best options in Mexico include the family-friendly Generations Riviera Maya, the adults-only El Dorado Maroma, and the large Moon Palace. One of the most picturesque resorts is the El Dorado Royale, which hosts weddings in the beautiful old-world Mexican chapel. Keep in mind that scheduling is limited, so it's a good idea to book early.
5. Hosting a Destination Wedding Will Save You Money
It might sound impossible, but a destination wedding in a breathtaking tropical location can actually be more affordable than a traditional wedding at home. The average cost of a wedding in the United States is $32,000. In comparison, the average cost of destination weddings is considerably lower and at many resorts you’ll receive benefits to further defray the costs.
To encourage couples to book destination weddings, resorts often offer multiple packages at varying price points. Options range from simple, streamlined ceremonies that come with a champagne toast and cake to full-service packages with welcome cocktails, ceremony decorations, and a reception. When you compare these options to a similar event at home, the savings can be dramatic.
Resort wedding packages often come with perks, especially when you work with a travel agent who specializes in destination weddings. Some locations offer free welcome drinks and room upgrades. Others offer credits toward private wedding events. The more guests you invite, typically the more perks you can get—for example, when you book 25 rooms for a minimum of three nights at the Palace Resorts in the Riviera Maya, you'll get a free room for the couple and a free cocktail party, wedding, and reception. A booking of 20 rooms for three nights at the Hard Rock resorts comes with a free ceremony, reception, and cocktail party.
If you want to reduce your destination wedding cost, now is the time to get started. When you book at least 12 months in advance, you'll have more flexibility in dates and room prices. As more people start to travel, prices will inevitably rise (if you’ve booked a flight recently you’ve probably already seen this!)
One of our favorite places for early booking is the Dreams Resort. If you reserve their Beyond Memorable package a year in advance, you'll save thousands of dollars compared to a similar package booked closer to the wedding date.
A destination wedding is a wonderful way to celebrate your marriage and the return of international travel. By planning ahead and booking now, you can save money and secure the location of your dreams.
Whether you have a million questions or are like “yes sign me up!” our team at DestinationWeddingeeze can help. For 30+ years our family has helped hundreds of brides plan and book their destination weddings. We understand that each celebration is unique and special and would love to be part of your special day.
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