If you are considering a destination wedding, whether it requires travel or it is close to home, consider these tips from New York wedding planner Sarah Glick.
From tying the knot in the beautiful idyllic countryside in the south of France to exchanging vows on a gorgeous beach in the Bahamas, musings on the most whimsical wedding locales could go on for days. At one point or another, we all seem to fall in love with the idea of a destination wedding.
It’s wonderful and dreamy, that is, until we flip the shiny price tag over and see the numbers. It adds up quickly: plane tickets, the hotel suite for three nights (at a minimum!), transportation for guests and vendors…Somehow the stealthy accumulation of travel and living expenses seem to multiply, forcing the destination just that much out of reach. But if your heart is already set on a destination wedding, there are routes to maintain that “destination” feel without hopping on a plane. After all what is it, exactly, that makes a destination wedding seem so different from one closer to home?
It’s not the flights or the airport time. It’s not even necessarily the “destination”. It’s the essential fact that a destination wedding transforms a wedding day into a wedding weekend. Rather than spending half a day with guests, a getaway means the festivities become a mini-vacation.
So, the easiest way to infuse a destination feel to your wedding, even if it’s just one or two hours away from home, is to plan a wedding weekend! Invite your family and friends to a two to three day getaway full of fun activities. I currently have clients doing this for their New York City Wedding. For many of their guests, going to the Big Apple is the trip of a lifetime. For these clients, it’s their home. So, we’re using this to our advantage and creating a destination wedding in their backyard! Their guests will experience four days of bespoke events and treats to help them discover the city and learn a little bit more about why my clients love it so much. Everyone will be together for the weekend, but my clients didn’t have to book a single flight, except for their honeymoon, of course!
Take your “destination” experience to the next step and incorporate elements from your ideal location. Tropical beach destinations are beautiful and no doubt one of the most popular choices for destination weddings. But instead of flying to Bali, get married at a venue near a local beach and spend the weekend having fun in the sun with your guests! Make your wedding weekend a tropical experience with seaside activities and fruity drinks.
Farther from the coast or more interested in the backdrop of lush greenery and rolling fields? Rent an estate in the country for a few days or a group of cottages by a lake. With a bit of planning and creativity, there is always a fantastic possibility that’s only a car ride away.
That isn’t to say planning a wedding weekend close to home isn’t without its difficulties. Tickets and travel are cheaper, but expenses for booking an entire weekend can still add up and certainly cost more than if you were to just do one day of celebrations. Additionally, entertaining guests for a weekend may be fun, but it also entails extra time and effort.
On the plus side, staying close to home also allows you to keep vendors local and to be confident in your choices. Rather than heavily relying on a single venue or resort, you are much better equipped to outsource and customize your wedding to your tastes. It also means transporting guest gifts and other essential wedding elements don’t have to be accompanied by the headache of extra luggage or shipping fares.
You are the expert in your home and the area around it, which means you’ll have a fuller understanding of how to keep costs down. Jetting off to Europe or somewhere far, far away may seem romantic and ideal, but searching for vendors in unfamiliar territory isn’t always easy. It often means extra expenditures, or somehow bringing your vendors with you. Sometimes it’s best to leave romantic notions of far, far away for the honeymoon; that means you’ll only have to think for two in the case of travel complications.
Destination weddings are wonderful, and the best part? Home – or close to it – might just be the destination you wanted after all.
Sarah Glick, Event Planner and Designer