Congratulations! You have decided on a destination wedding. Your next step is to start thinking about where you'd like to say your “I Do's!”. For some couples this will be an easy decision. You may choose the destination where you met or a destination that has special meaning to you. For others this could be the biggest, most difficult decision you will make throughout the entire wedding planning process.
For those of you who didn't meet somewhere special, have never been anywhere together, or just want to choose a new location altogether, here are some points to consider when making your decision.
1) Length of Travel/ Time to Arrive at Destination
Take into consideration the length of time it takes to arrive at the destination. Are there direct flights or will you be required to transfer flights? Choosing a destination that has short flight times, direct flights and short transfer times (from airport to resort) makes it more appealing for guests to attend. It also means more time at the destination rather then spending your precious vacation time in transit.
2)Time of Year of Travel
You dream of being married on the white sand beach of Mexico on your anniversary in October. This sounds lovely and romantic, but it is important to know that hurricane season in Mexico runs from June to November with the highest incidence of hurricanes occurring in September and October. If you are willing to take a chance on the weather then you will likely be able to take advantage of some great rates. Other couples may decide to rethink their wedding date and/or destination in order to ensure the best possible weather. This is where doing your research and working with a knowledgeable destination wedding specialist will really come in hand.
3) Wedding Venue
Have you always envisioned walking barefoot down the beach or was your dream to walk down an aisle in a large castle? When we think of destination weddings we often picture a beach wedding; however, a destination wedding can be celebrated anywhere in the world and if your dream is to marry in a castle then perhaps somewhere in Europe would be a better fit.
4) Cost/ Budget
I always recommend having a budget in mind before deciding on a destination. If you have an unlimited budget your options are endless and you can choose a destination anywhere in the world! If you are on a budget there are many budget friendly destinations to choose from including the Caribbean, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, and Mexico. Your departure gate will depend on which destinations will provide you with the best value for your budget. Again this is when working with a knowledgeable and experienced wedding specialist will come in hand for you.
5) Marriage Requirements
Lastly and most importantly, you may want to take into consideration the legal requirements for a marriage ceremony at the destination. Every country has their own set of rules that you must follow. Many countries will require you to be in the country for a minimum duration before they can legally marry you (i.e. Jamaica requires a minimum of 24 hours while Cuba requires a minimum of 3 days). Most countries will also require copies of your birth certificates and these may or may not have to be translated into the official language of the country. If you or your fiance have been divorced there are also additional requirements that may need to be addressed. As you can see there are many things to consider when it comes to marriage requirements. Please stay tuned for my next blog on the “Specific Marriage Requirements for Canada's Top Destination Wedding Destinations”!