Why a destination wedding?
Celebrities are definite advocates for the destination wedding: In 2006, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes were married in a castle in Italy, Heidi Klum and Seal chose Mexico for their 2005 nuptials and more recently, Megan Fox wed actor Brian Austin Green in Hawaii.
But you do not have to have a Hollywood budget to plan a destination wedding. It’s rumoured around 25% of couples today get hitched away from their home cities, inviting friends and family to enjoy their special day and a holiday in one. And one of the most appealing things about getting married abroad is that you can have a wedding AND honeymoon for a fraction of the price, effort and stress that is usually involved with wedding planning.
Specialised companies and hotels all over the world offer couples a variety of packages to suit their budget, tastes and requirements with minimal personal organisation: the location, decorations, flowers, food, celebrant, photographer, flights or other transport, and accommodation can all be included and prepared for you.
Basically the only thing you and your partner need to decide is where to go!
Where to go?
At a destination wedding, the location is the star of the show (apart from you of course!), so it is important to pick somewhere meaningful for you and your partner.
It does not matter if you have never been there before. Paola Bamonte from Marry Me Abroad told SheSaid that her clients range from those who have travelled extensively, to those who have never travelled and are using the opportunity to fulfil their “dream trip”.
Sometimes, couples with multicultural backgrounds will choose to embrace their heritage and marry in the country or city of their ancestors.
Destination wedding planners like Marry Me Abroad match your personal style, theme and budget to the right location to take some of the guesswork out of the planning process.
Another popular choice for Australians is to visit our neighbours in the Asia-Pacific. The most popular choices are Fiji, Bali, Cook Islands, Thailand and Vanuatu. All have warm climates, beautiful beaches, and are rich in culture. Keeping within the popular beach theme, but a little further away, are Hawaii, Mauritius and Mexico.
Tip: These locations are becoming quite popular for destination weddings, so try to avoid the crowded scene by choosing somewhere a little bit more secluded, like a private resort or island. It may mean a little extra travelling, but the intimate setting will be worth it. You don’t want package tourists gawking at you over the poolside buffet!
Royale Titikaveka Wedding- Royale Takitumu, Rarotonga Cook Islands
This is a beautiful location for a romantic and private ceremony, with private beach huts and the choice to have the ceremony on the beach, the lawn, poolside or in the local chapel.
Includes: Personal Wedding Coordinator, Marriage License, Necessary Transport, Minister or Celebrant, Flowers, Floral Archway with 2 Flaming Tiki Torches, In room massage for Bride and Groom, Island String Band prior to ceremony, Official Photographer with Album, 50 photos and negatives, 2 Tier Wedding Cakes, 2 Bottles of Celebration Bubbly, Dinner for Two, Video of Ceremony from $2410 per couple. Cheaper packages are also available. Visit www.royaletakitumu.com/.
Seaside Wedding Chapel Package- Shangri-La Fijian Resort, Fiji
On its own private island 45 minutes from central Nadi, this resort caters for all including families with children. The Seaside Chapel is picturesque. This package includes: Coordination of wedding, set-up, marriage licence, bouquet and flower lei, Celebrant, Transportation, Photographer with 72 prints and negatives, chapel decoration, Fijian Village Choir, Flower Shower, Welcome Board and Memorial Plate, Wedding Cake, Bottle of Sparkling Wine, Fijian Seranaders, 4 course dinner for Bride and Groom. From $2650 per couple. Visit www.resortweddings.com.au/packages-fiji.html.
Destination weddings to Europe are gradually growing in popularity. Marrying in Europe gives you countless options: a castle in Scotland, a vineyard in Tuscany, clifftop on the Amalfi Coast, any of the Greek islands…According to Paola, the newest popular destinations include Turkey and Croatia.
Villa Bossi, Orta San Giulio – Lake Orta, Italy
Just over an hour from Milan, the quaint little island village on Lake Orta is an incredible way to spend your special day. Travel from the mainland by boat to Villa Bossi where you can choose to say your vows in a wedding hall, or by the shore of the lake. The photograph opportunities are phenomenal with the classic Italian architecture, weeping willows, and
backdrop of the lake. There are several restaurants on the island and in the Villa to hold a reception.
Palazzo Parisio- Naxxar, Malta
You can wed your prince charming in the most prestigious palace in Malta. Surrounded by lush greenery, the palace offers you access to the grounds for photography, and rooms for the ceremony, reception, and a bridal suite. You can choose between a finger food menu or a Gala dinner, as well as choices with beverages, wedding cake, decorations and flowers- the
entire organisation can be done for you, so you can relax and be a princess for a day! There is accommodation available nearby. Visit: www.palazzoparisio.com.
Things to consider
It is important to acknowledge that by choosing a destination wedding, your guest list may be significantly smaller. While this may appeal to some couples, the choice to wed away from home may come under criticism from family and friends who do not have the time, money, health or desire to travel. For those who are willing to travel, it is important to give them as much notice and planning time as possible – Paola suggests 12-14 months prior to departure.
Tip: Organise a small celebration or gathering on your return for those who missed out on the wedding. You can share stories and photographs, and perhaps screen a video of the ceremony.
Delicate and often bulky (not to mention expensive), the bridal dress is not just another item to throw in the suitcase. While you could check the dress in a special handling, most brides prefer to take it as carry-on for safety reasons. Some planes will have a closet where the dress can be hung, but it is best to contact the airline in advance to confirm.
As with any wedding, there are things that are out of your control, which is only exaggerated when the location of your wedding is far away. It is vital to purchase insurance and recommend to your guests to do the same, just in case disaster strikes.
As its popularity continues to grow, countless websites are emerging dedicated to destination weddings. However, Paola recommends that couples should be “wary” of organising everything online. “I have heard horror stories…properties that were unclean, disorganised or different to their advertisement.” Instead, she suggests having personal meetings with your destination wedding planner. By having face-to-face conversations, the planner can get a feel of what you want for your wedding and make
recommendations accordingly. You will be building a trusting relationship, and know you can rely on someone back at home if something goes wrong.
Special Offer: Marry Me Abroad is currently offering a 10-20% discount on their Europe packages. Visit: www.marrymeabroad.com or call 1300 553 573.