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Saying “I Do” Overseas: Tips for Booking Destination Weddings

We wrote a little while ago about destination weddings, and how the high price of weddings in the UK (average cost: £18,500!) is driving lots of couples to get married overseas.

These destination weddings have a unique appeal, because brides and grooms can opt out of stifling hometown ceremonies and go away somewhere warm or exotic and take a handful of guests with them.

Some of the most popular spots are the Caribbean, Hawaii, Las Vegas and Italy, and despite these far-flung locations, the majority of couples tend to spend longer celebrating than if they had decided to stay at home; on top of that, many still choose to take a honeymoon after saying their “I dos” abroad.

But what are the pitfalls of booking destination weddings? Are wedding package deals trustworthy? Here are a couple of pointers for planning your dream destination wedding:

#1. Is All-Inclusive the Way to Go?

You may have come across complimentary wedding packages, which are thrown in when you book hotel accommodation. Experts in the hospitality industry urge couples to remember that there’s no such thing as a free wedding.

Just like any business, hotels will pick up the cost somewhere, whether it’s in the week-long bookings and administration fees or via the large number of guests who book into the hotel. These guests fill dining rooms and bars, purchase items from gift shops and book sessions in spas; but it’s important to remember that the wedding cost is still buried in there.

#2. Hand-pick the Best Incentives

Hotels often give incentives to brides and grooms, but don’t be too quick to grab them. Hotel prices should match what’s on offer in terms of quality and quantity. Some common incentives are free rooms that the couple can give to their parents or honoured guests, or a free one-year anniversary stay.

Before you’re romanced by the idea of going back to the Florida Keys in one year’s time, check how much it costs for your guests to stay in the hotel; remember that in a way, they’re subsidising your accommodation on top of their own travel and airfare expenses.

Your guests probably see it the opposite way around, i.e. the wedding will be more expensive for the bride and groom than for them. Booking in advance and through the same travel retailer are two ways to get access to some nice incentives, but many people agree that their overall enjoyment depends largely on the destination rather than what incentives are available.

#3 Travel Off Peak and Save Some Cash

Now that we’re well into autumn, there’s even more reason to go overseas to tie the knot: the weather’s better, the destinations are less crowded, and couples can get better rates on accommodation. Some of the most popular places this year (according to the Huffington Post) are Hawaii – no longer the reserve of the rich and famous! – Mexico, Barbados, Italy and the Dominican Republic. Check out these pictures to get some inspiration from dream destination weddings around the world: