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A Beautiful Location for Unforgettable Memories

A destination wedding is one in which a ceremony is held, often in a vacation-like setting, at a location 100 or more miles from where the bride currently lives. These weddings don’t necessarily have to take place in a far-off international location such as Mexico or the Caribbean. There are many breathtaking places in the U.S. (including St. George, Utah), or the party can simply be hosted at a special location a few hours away from your home. Event planning for a destination does not have to be more difficult or expensive than planning a wedding at home. Here are some common questions and answers to put your mind at ease and help you get started.

Why Have a Destination Wedding?

You may have already attended numerous weddings in your hometown or your city could lacks suitable options for your preferences. Whether you’re a city couple looking for country scenery, or a suburbanite seeking a taste of metropolis, a quick change of scenery may feel like another world. Your guests can experience the relaxed vibes of a wedding affair away from the distractions of home. Since you’re having a wedding away from home, imagine all of the options available to you. The world really is your playground when it comes to choosing a wedding location.

Do Destination Style Weddings Cost More than Traditional Hometown Weddings?

The truth is that the wedding actually tends to cost less because of factors such as smaller guest lists, packages, and favorable exchange rates. Current figures indicate that the average cost of a traditional wedding is $24,066, while the average destination one is $21,800, a significant difference of $2,266. Depending on the destination, size, and venue, it’s possible to have such a wedding on any budget. According to some event planning experts, destination-oriented weddings can be extremely affordable. The key is having an understanding of all potential costs and setting solid financial parameters.

Are Destination Weddings Always at the Beach?

While getting married by the beautiful waves of the ocean is an amazing option for many couples, an away wedding can be hosted in any setting imaginable. Ideal settings can range from a snowy mountaintop to a historic mansion. The happy couple can choose a special location that reflects both of their tastes and styles and symbolizes the start of their life together.

For help selecting a wedding location, read How to Choose the Best Place for a Destination Wedding.

Will the Event Planning be Too Complicated?

The truth is that nearly a quarter of all engaged American couples are having their weddings away. Celebs may have put these types of weddings on the map, but it’s just as possible for any couple to pull off the events in exotic settings. According to planner Lisa Vorce of Oh, How Charming! in Santa Ana, California, the destination oriented weddings “can be totally manageable and enjoyed by any client.” She notes that 70 percent of her couples, from phone technicians and marketing managers to school counselors and caterers, choose an away destination over the traditional hometown setting.

Looking for ways to simplify your destination wedding planning? See our Destination Wedding Tips.

Will My Guests Be Able to Come?

Most couples who have these weddings are actually surprised by the turnout. In most cases, friends and family will be thrilled to make a mini-vacation out of your wedding. It’s best to give plenty of advance notice so guests can save up and make travel arrangements. Be gracious to loved ones who get upset anyway, as they’re not obligated to come. Pass along any information about discounts and be straightforward about what group expenses you’re covering. Weddings away are typically held in beautiful, exotic spots like Hawaii, and these are places people will really want to travel to.

The very nature of weddings in an away location gives you the perfect excuse to lower the number of invitees, which is often unmanageable. The weddings require more time commitment, travel, and hotel stays. Think your co-workers and second cousins will be disappointed? You can always host a post-wedding party when you get back home. Get plenty of pictures so everyone can have their share of memories to keep.

Will It Be Memorable?

While more than 2 million American couples wed every year, only around 20-25 percent have destination dos. When you wed away, you don’t have to choose from the same old hometown venues where all your friends have booked. Not only will you have a stunning location as a backdrop of your event, but you can still take all the traditional photos like cutting the cake and tossing the bouquet.

How Can I Save Money?

Since you’ll be at your destination for a few days, you should work with your vendors to see how timing can trim costs. Consider the seasonality too. Many Caribbean hotels, for example, drop their prices significantly in mid-April. So by planning your wedding for May, you can get the same great amenities for a fraction of the price paid by visitors only a few weeks earlier. Another example is mountain resort towns offering big savings in spring and fall.

You should ask your host hotel about any discounted room rates available for your guests. Most resorts are very willing to bargain in exchange for group business. Some airlines offer discounted airfares for groups of 10 or more, in some cases even if your guests are departing from different gateways. On top of the discounts, your friends and family will have a great time! Weddings abroad give loved ones the most valuable commodity: downtime. So in addition to celebrating your union, guests get the opportunity to kick back and connect. What’s more fun than that?

When you have a wedding set in a stunning location, your location of choice supplies the theme. Plus when you choose an amazing backdrop, it doesn’t require a lot to dress it up. Go for a nice, tidy vineyard, a pristine beach, or a historic plantation house furnished with elegant antiques, and you’ll be covered with a few modest additions.

For more money saving ideas, visit How to Plan an Affordable Destination Wedding.

What About The Honeymoon?

Your arrival at your destination is sure to induce a relaxed mood as the pre-wedding festivities begin. Many hotels are winning to provide automatic upgrades to the bride and groom on their wedding night, and this presents an opportunity for you to negotiate an extended mini-moon at a reduced rate after your wedding guests have gone back home.


Having your wedding ceremony away can make for a wonderful experience for you and your guests. There are many exotic locations around the world, or just a few hours or states away. You can take advantage of plenty of benefits such as an early honeymoon, limited guest list, and natural scenery. Keep your friends and family in the loop, giving as much information as you can ahead of time to allow arrangements to be made. You don’t have to be a celebrity to have a nice wedding in a special location. With all of the adventure and advantages that come with destination ceremonies, it’s no wonder they are becoming more popular. With the right event planning, your wedding can be a tremendous success.

If you are planning a wedding in southern Utah, St. George Events & Occasions would love to help make your day special. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions or need rentals. Also, visit our ideas page for inspiration on how you can create the best event ever!