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 Choosing Your Destination

A couple's wedding and honeymoon are two of the happiest times of their lives. Planning these special times can be fun and exciting, but hours of research are required in order to make the right decisions. In recent years many couples have realized the time, effort and expense of planning a wedding and a honeymoon can be too much and decide to combine them to create the perfect destination wedding. When choosing the best location to have your destination wedding, there are many things to consider. Your idea of a perfect destination may differ from that of your fiancé.

First, determine the type of atmosphere and climate you prefer. Then consider the types of activities you would like to engage in. Are you planning to have both your wedding and honeymoon in the same location or travel to another location once the wedding is over? Planning the events together is often easier then planning the events separately.

Do you want the weather to be hot for swimming at the beach... or warm for long guided tours of unknown cities... or cooler for a fall wedding in the woods... or cold for optimum skiing conditions? Keep in mind the time of year in which your wedding falls. Will you be escaping from warm or cool temperatures?

If you have a specific destination in mind, you (or your travel agent) will need to do some research to be sure the weather conditions will be suitable for your planned activities.

Next consider your guest list. Are you inviting family and friends or is this a private event for you and your fiancé?

If you are planning to invite a number of guests you will want to choose a location that is easy to travel too with ample accommodations and things to do and see in the locations, such as nightlife, dining and shopping? Options such as planning an the event on a cruise ship or popular destination with a lot of activities will keep your guests entertained; but, keep in mind that it might not be private enough for the newlyweds. As the bride or groom you may want to plan activities for your guests before and after the wedding but most of the time, guests at a destination wedding will have their own agenda on what activities they want to do and what local attractions they will enjoy.

Finally you will have to consider your budget. Who will be paying for the event and what type of expenses are involved with your travel destination. Often times planning a destination wedding can be less expensive. Some facts to think about are:
. The average cost of a destination wedding is $17,000 for 100 guests
. Receptions at destination weddings cost, on average, 41% less than receptions for traditional weddings .
. 27% of brides and grooms will pay for the wedding themselves .
. The average number of guests who attend a destination wedding is 56.

In addition to actual ceremony and receptions costs there are travel costs such as: transportation to and from your location, overnight accommodations (how many nights will you be there), will you be paying for guest or wedding party accommodations, will you have a kitchen or will you have to dine out?

Top 10 Favorite Destinations:
1. Hawaii
2. Jamaica
3. Mexico
5. St. Lucia
6. Italy
7. U.S. Virgin Islands
8. Aruba
9. Las Vegas
10. Bermuda

Top 10 Most Affordable Destinations:
1. Mexico
2. Las Vegas
3. Florida
4. Jamaica
5. Dominican Republic
6. Bahamas
7. California
8. Hawaii
9. Canada
10. Poconos

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