Avery and Sam began their wedding planning with a fun activity. Each one wrote down a wedding wish list – no strings attached, money a non-issue. After sharing a few laughs about the more extravagant scenarios, they realized they both value experiences over details and décor.
So, the adventurous couple switched gears and decided to tie the knot in a way that better fits their style and personality as a couple. They knew their closest friends and family would enjoy celebrating with them (either virtually or in-person) at their destination wedding in…ANTIGUA!
Destination weddings are more popular than ever. In 2019, The Knot found that 21% of their surveyed couples had some version of a destination wedding. Some couples like to think outside the box to fulfill their wedding dreams…so they take the party elsewhere!
Are you globetrotters who want to begin your marriage with adventure? Or maybe you want an unforgettable wedding experience in a dazzling city. Whether you decide to invite your nearest and dearest along for an extended weekend celebration, or escape for a romantic getaway just the two of you, here are some of my favorite reasons to plan a destination wedding:
Destination Weddings are relatively stress-free.
Without the large guest count and traditional wedding plans to account for, the world is your oyster! Go where your heart is drawn, and do what makes the two of you happy. If you prefer more organization, enlist the help of a local/stateside wedding planner who specializes in destination weddings. They will be able to help fill in the itinerary and ceremony details. Most (good) wedding planners have an expansive network of wedding partners, so they can usually keep costs lower than if you did it yourself. Need a recommendation? I would be happy to help!
If you want more than a simple vow exchange, consider an all-inclusive package. A destination wedding planner can help find a package that meets your needs. For example, many cruises, resorts, and popular wedding destinations offer full wedding or elopement packages that include a bridal bouquet, cake, champagne, an officiant, dinner for two, and other details. Everything will be ready for you when you arrive – all you have to do is enjoy the moment!
Save Money – Celebrate Memories
To compare, the average cost of a destination elopement wedding is $8,000 – $25,000 (for an all-inclusive elopement package, travel, and lodging for the two of you and a small guest count). A full-sized destination wedding might come closer to the cost of a traditional stateside wedding – but you get the experience with it.
Since they are bundled, many destination wedding packages end up being cheaper than planning a full traditional wedding, which means you can do more with your wedding budget! Simply save the money for a rainy day….OR you can use it to create memories.
For instance, put the savings toward once-in-a-lifetime excursions and experiences. Let’s say you plan a lovely intimate elopement in Hawaii; your honeymoon begins the moment you say, “I do!” Ditch the dress and grab your beach gear! Take surfing lessons together, hike the Diamond Head crater, explore the falls, sample local cuisine, visit the pineapple farms, or snorkel the afternoon away. You will appreciate and remember these moments forever – but you may not remember what type of table numbers you used at your reception. Splurge on what matters most to YOU.
Another option is to save the money you would spend on a larger, more traditional wedding, and take a romantic first-anniversary trip together.
Truly Customize Your Wedding Experience
Whether it’s just the two of you or a close group of loved ones, you can personalize the experience. Plan a week-long getaway, exchange seaside vows, hit the snowy slopes after your first kiss – it’s all up to you. And if nature isn’t really your thing, city destination weddings have their allure as well. Your wedding planner or coordinator can design an epic, personalized wedding weekend for you to include the ceremony, delicious dining, and memorable entertainment. Don’t worry, you don’t have to throw the pretty details out the window. Do you still want a mini reception with a first dance and toasts? Ask your planner to incorporate those into the day.
Ready to set sail? Don’t forget to take photos so you can relive these moments for years to come. The best way to do that – and to receive high-quality, authentic images – is to hire a wedding photographer.
It may seem risky to hire someone in the country of your destination wedding…and you’re right. If you opt for a photographer you’ve never met (especially if there’s a language barrier), you risk never seeing your photos or having to chase them down after you return home. That’s no fun.
So, here’s how to choose the best destination photographer
First, research destination wedding photographers who will travel from your hometown. The benefit is that you will have easy and clear access to them during the planning process. You can get to know each other and discuss style, itinerary, plans, etc. It only makes sense that a good relationship with your photographer will lend itself to better photos.
Hire A Photographer Who Can Document the Journey
When you hire a local destination wedding photographer you really click with, you get the most bang for your buck. Plus, you’ll have cohesive photos that capture every part of your love story – not just the marriage ceremony. With a local photographer, you can schedule an engagement session, bridal portraits, Save the Dates, etc. all in your hometown. It’s nice to have someone you trust who will come along for the ride and support you every step of the way. You can rest assured knowing you’ll have great photos at the end of it. If you’re in NYC, here are some of my favorite engagement photo locations.
Avoid Hidden Extra Fees
When you hire a destination wedding photographer, the price includes travel and accommodations, so there are no hidden extra fees. You eliminate risk by knowing how much you’re paying and exactly what you’re getting. Additionally, you will know that the end product will indeed be there (as opposed to hiring a photographer you’ve never met before).
Schedule an All-Inclusive Destination Wedding Photography Package
When you hire Susan Shek Photography as your destination wedding photographer, you’ll get our photography services from start to finish. That means the whole weekend or week of festivities, including rehearsal, wedding, and send-off brunch. We’ll be there through it all discreetly documenting the magic of the occasion while you simply enjoy yourself knowing you’ll have fantastic images at the end.
It’s always a pleasure to photograph destination weddings. As a lover of travel and new experiences, I’ve captured weddings in Hawaii, Greece, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, the UK, Nantucket, and the Cayman Islands…just to name a few. Be sure to explore the blog for a peek into those adventures. I look forward to expanding that list even more, so tell me: where would you like to go?
To inquire about wedding packages with Susan Shek Photography in New York City, the US, or beyond, inquire with us! We can’t wait to hear from you!