The azure sea laps at the pristine white sand beach where the smiling groom stands beneath a wedding arch covered in tropical blooms. The glowing bride makes her way toward him, her bare feet stepping on a path of rose petals scattered on the sand, gliding past family and friends seated in rows of colorful bow-clad chairs. After the ceremony, everyone moves to the resort patio with a stunning view of the setting sun, for champagne toasts, wedding cake and dancing to the beat of a lively steel band.
Destination weddings are increasingly popular; in fact 16% of all marriages are now destination weddings. Update: A new study shows that destination weddings have increased to 24%. See the full results here. The most frequent destinations include Hawaii (20,000 per year!), U.S. Virgin Islands (5,100), Jamaica (5,000) and Bahamas (4,000). Mexico, Florida, Costa Rica and cruise lines are also fashionable choices. One of the top factors in choosing a destination is the weather but weddings away from home are not limited to tropical locations. Couples also choose a wedding destination based on their common passions. Some tie the knot in an historic castle in Ireland, jump the broom on the savannah in Africa or even take the plunge in an underwater ceremony in Bali!
Beyond weather and interest considerations, the betrothed also find that the stress level and cost of a destination wedding can be significantly lower than a traditional wedding.
Luxury resorts’ and cruise lines’ wedding packages typically include a wedding coordinator to customize your event and take care of all the logistics, taking a huge planning burden off of the happy couple. You can choose your wedding venue, flowers, music and reception options. Most countries have residency requirements and government paperwork that must be filed; the on-site coordinator will also make sure that all those “i’s” are dotted to make your marriage legal.
The average cost of a traditional wedding in the U.S. is just over $28,000, but numerous luxury resorts, such as Sandals, Couples, Riu, Excellence and Palace Resorts, offer free wedding packages when you spend a minimum number of nights at the resort. Optional upgrades from the complimentary packages can also be added to truly customize your special day. To further reduce the cost of a destination wedding, Covington Travel maintains a Wedding Travel Registry where friends and family can make a contribution to your wedding arrangements.
Having a destination wedding doesn’t mean that those friends and family can’t attend. In fact, the average number of guests attending a destination wedding is 48. Group rates can be negotiated for guests at either the same resort as the wedding, or at a nearby accommodation. The wedding couple will often choose an upgraded suite that gives them luxury and privacy during their honeymoon, yet they can play and visit with family and friends at the resort.
Stress-free planning and lower cost, in addition to a stunning location makes a romantic destination wedding and honeymoon the perfect way to celebrate your new lives together. For more information on planning the destination wedding of your dreams, please contact Covington Travel’s expert vacation advisors.