Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Destination Weddings are NOT tacky

I've decided to jump on the Wedding Wednesday bandwagon and share with you our path to choosing a destination wedding for our big day.  I've heard some people say that destination weddings are tacky.  First of all, um, NO.  And secondly, last time I checked, a wedding was about the two people on the altar, and if they want to get married in paradise, that's their prerogative.

Victor and I got engaged after dating for 3.5 years.  I was so excited to plan our wedding after we got engaged.  I bought all the bridal magazines, prepared a wedding-planning binder, and set up my Pinterest boards with my vision for the day.  It wasn't until I carefully looked at one of those wedding-planning timelines that I started to freak out.

Now, I love a good list as much as the next organization-obsessed gal, but this thing gave me heart palpitations. I had NO IDEA weddings required this much forethought.  I am also a life-long procrastinator; doing anything 12 months out from an event is unfathomable to me (I know people do it all the time, but not me).

Despite my panic attack from seeing all there was to do, we forged ahead.  We discussed which church we'd like to be married in and also went on a couple of venue tours.  I actually found my dress a little over a month after we got engaged.  I wasn't planning to find "THE dress" on that outing, just went to look and narrow down options, but when it's "the dress," it's "THE DRESS."  A gal just knows, right ladies?

Unfortunately, nothing else came as easily for us in the planning process.  Victor's family and extended network of friends and acquaintances is HUGE.  I have a big-ish extended family, as well, plus all of our friends.  We were looking at a guest list of over 200 people, and a good majority of them would be able to attend if we did a local wedding.  Neither Victor nor I are huge fans of the spotlight, and we didn't want a huge wedding.  Plus, we're both frugal to a fault and couldn't justify the enormous price tag that would accompany such a large wedding in the DC metro area.

So we began entertaining the idea of a destination wedding.  Never in my wildest dreams did I EVER think I would have a destination wedding, and I didn't come around to the idea easily.  I knew that not all of my "key players" would be able to make the trip abroad, which was the main reason for my hesitation.  I also figured that I wouldn't have as much control over what I wanted with a destination wedding; what options do you have for photography, the cake, flowers, etc?  How would I organize it all from hundreds of miles away???  My hair doesn't always like to cooperate in hot, humid weather.  And we'd likely be getting married outside and I don't count on Mother Nature for nothin'.  Girlfriend can't be trusted.

I kept the idea of a destination wedding in the back of my mind as I attempted to tackle the overwhelming checklist.  And the more I thought about all the little details and the pressure to impress everyone in attendance, I came to agree with Victor that a destination wedding was what we needed to do.  I didn't want to spend the next year stressing about all of those details and lose focus on what was the most important thing: Victor and I celebrating our lifelong commitment to one another.

You can imagine how therapeutic it was for me to do this to my Real Simple Wedding Timeline (yes, I actually still have this.  No, I don't know why).

The squiggles are tasks that didn't apply to us for our destination wedding.
 In the end, I couldn't imagine getting married any other way.  I've been to some lovely stateside, conventional weddings and have had a wonderful time at all of them, but this was the best choice for us.  All of our guests had a fabulous time, and everything turned out even better than we could have dreamed.  The on-site wedding coordinator was beyond amazing, and all of the outside vendors were just as spectacular.  It was perfect.

Here are some perks to having a destination wedding:

  1. You can get married on vacation.  If you choose a tropical destination, it's even better.  We got married in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.  It was pretty hot and humid, but it was wonderful regardless.  It was like we were on vacation with our closest family and friends.  It was such a great time.
  2. You should do a site visit prior to your wedding, which means you basically get two vacations out of it all.  Victor and I went to visit our resort the summer prior to our wedding to make sure it was what we were looking for.  I was most concerned about having a great photographer, so Victor and I strolled to the photographer's shop to check out their our bathing suits...with a tropical libation in hand.  Where else can you do THAT while you're doing wedding research?
  3. You can save a TON of money.  We paid a fraction of what we would have if we had gotten married in the States, and we still got to have everything we wanted.  We were able to invite all 200+ people on our guest list and we weren't worried about the price tag if a bunch of the invitees came.
  4. You will have fewer vendor options.  This might sound like a bad thing, but for an easily-confused, indecisive gal like myself, this was a huge benefit.  The resort had about 10 options each for things like the bridal party bouquets, cakes, reception centerpieces/decor, and chair decorations, to name a few.  I looked at the photos they sent, chose my favorites, and that was that.  I was able to customize a few things (such as cake flavor and fillings, flower colors, etc.), but I was so grateful for the condensed options.  Made things much less overwhelming for me. I was also able to bring a few things to add some personal touches to the event.
    Our decor for the ceremony

    I provided the ribbon and the cake topper

    I also brought the chair signs and the paper confetti
  5. You can celebrate your big day with an intimate group of people.  This was right up our alley.  We got to have a small wedding without excluding anyone.  There were some pretty special people who weren't able to attend, but there were no hard feelings on their part or ours.  We ended up with 48 guests at our wedding.  It was a great sized group.
    Our fabulous wedding guests
  6. Your photos will be uh-mazing.  Victor's biggest hang-up when we were considering a local wedding was where we would go to take our photos.  He was pretty convinced that the only way we were going to get great pictures was if we got married at the beach.  Of course, you can get fabulous photos anywhere with a great photographer, but I have to say, our photos rock.  Plus we got to do a "trash the dress" shoot a few days after the wedding, which was an added bonus and so much fun! 
    Love that gazebo

    My favorite photo of our wedding party

    That's a mosquito bite on my right arm.  They were vicious at night!

    Trashing the $15 H&M dress

    This was such a fun photo shoot!

Destination weddings have become more and more popular over the years, and there are lots of options at your disposal to truly customize your big day to be exactly what you want.  If you're in the process of planning your wedding and are finding yourself overwhelmed like I was, consider a destination wedding.  I'm happy to answer any questions you might have about planning a destination wedding or offer suggestions for how to get started!


  1. your wedding was far from tacky! it was beautiful :) love this post… great advice and points. and loving the new font… is it new? hope you are still loving the new place- thinking of you!

  2. Yes, the font is new. I was playing around with the settings tonight! Thanks for the note!


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