The Best Parts Of Having a Destination Wedding

A couple kisses beneath a giant palm tree on their wedding day. A tropical view is one of the best parts about having a destination wedding.
Kissing beneath the trees at Now Sapphire Resort in Mexico.

As soon as Arthur and I began planning our wedding, it was a given that we would have a destination wedding. After looking at tons of countries and possible locations, we settled on an all inclusive resort in Mexico. I really think Mexico is the best in the business when it comes to all inclusive packages. 

Cost Effective

I got a lot of pressure, mostly from my family to have a “normal wedding.” There were a lot of people who could not make it to Mexico, and I was told over and over to consider them. At the end of the day, I couldn’t have a New York wedding. Weddings in New York cost upwards of $25,000. Shocked? I’m serious! It is not at all unusual for couples in New York to go into debt to pay 45-100 thousand dollars for their big day. I do not know a single friend who paid anything less than $30,000. 

Definitely nacho average bride.

I couldn’t see myself spending that much money for a wedding that we didn’t want. A destination wedding even with airfare and hotel wound up costing a fraction of that price. Not to mention, we got so much for what we spent. For starters, a week long trip to fucking Mexico. If you’re concerned about cost I highly recommend visiting with a travel agent who specializes in destination weddings. Often, they can find great deals. These almost always include your room free and upgraded. In addition, many resorts will throw in a deal like every fifth room booked is free. 

Our wedding set-up

I know a woman who had a wedding in St. Lucia. Every detail from her rehearsal dinner (which took place on a catamaran during sunset) to a steel drum band to DJ and everything else cost only $12,000 for 45 people. 

All smiles on the big day.

Remember – destination weddings tend to be small because there will be many people who cannot travel, or travel on the dates of your big bash. Zika Virus was a concern for many of the young friends we invited. So, you will wind up paying much less than a typical wedding of 150 people or more.

My best friend, Amanda, as my maid of honor!
Thinking about when we can join cocktail hour

I was OK with a smaller gathering. Originally, I wanted to elope in Vegas and not even have a wedding. I despise how “goo-goo” women go over their big day. However, 60 people (our total number) is actually a HUGE turn out for a destination wedding!

Arthur and I with our best man and maid of honor

Making Friends Before the Big Day

By the time our actual wedding reception rolled around, everyone knew each other. Seriously – all of the guests who were strangers at the beginning of the week acted like they had been friends or family forever. I’ve always loved bringing people together. Few things make me as content as being with a big group of my loved ones.

Being surrounded by people who love me and have my best interests in mind is so joyous. To have all of those people get along and act so warmly and loving toward each other was the best wedding gift I could have ever received. How many opportunities in life will you have to spend a week with so many of the people you know and love? This is hands down one of the best parts of having a destination wedding.

Tip: The night before the wedding I made my guests play “Getting to Know You Bingo” in the hotel lobby. Guests had to find a new person to initial each box that corresponded to their new friend. An example would be, “find someone who has never been to Mexico before” or “find someone who would love to have a shot with you” and “find someone who met the groom in college.” It was way more successful than I ever expected. Each Bingo box gave the guests a way to start a conversation with someone new. I can thank teaching for this hit!

Arthur and I as our guests play “getting to know you bingo”

Young, old, it didn’t matter. Everyone got along so well. It was a great way for everyone who is important in my life to get to the know the other people who were important to me as well!

Week Long Party

At the end of our wedding, I gave a speech to our guests. As I looked around at the dozens of people who were in attendance, I began to cry. I knew in that moment that there would be few moments in my life going forward that would ever compare to the joy that I felt during that entire week in Mexico. 

A group of girls who are best friends celebrate an impending wedding at the bar at Now Sapphire resort
My girl gang since high school arrived for the party!

So much planning goes into a wedding – nearly a year or two full of effort. I couldn’t stomach the idea of all of that zipping by in a matter of four hours. Instead, we were able to enjoy the company of those we loved most for an entire week. What made it so special is that everyone was so relaxed. 

Our friends enjoying gator watching

In a typical wedding, you barely get to spend time with your guests depending on the number. People travel far and wide and drop serious money to be acknowledged for maybe a total of ten minutes if they are lucky. Having a week with my guests meant I was able to enjoy quality time with each of them in a way that wasn’t rushed.

Cigar rolling class at the resort

We enjoyed meals together, pool time, and WAY too many evenings shutting down the nightclub. I was out until at least 1:30 in the morning the night before our wedding!

You’re only young once. Few people have the foresight to know that life will change in the near future. I’m glad that in this respect – I was. Growing up changes things. I knew after my wedding that everyone would continue on with their busy paths in life, and seeing friends would be a special occurrence. I made sure to spend every moment of that week partying like a rock star with my friends. The first thing in the morning there would be a mimosa in my hand! 

60 of our friends and family flew out to Mexico to watch us say “I do”

Since we would all start drinking so early, this would ultimately lead to more and more fun as the day went on. I’ll never forget performing choreographed dances in the club with my friends or several of us hanging onto the same raft in the pool and telling other guests that it was our dinner table.  

Vacation for All

People were not only coming to Mexico for our wedding day, it was a vacation for them as well. Our guests spent anywhere from a long weekend to two weeks at the resort. Everyone was able to enjoy all of the activities that the resort had to offer. Some even took day trips and excursions and that way were able to see more of the country. To see the tension melt from the shoulders of my guests who work so hard day to day was a treat in and of itself.

Double the Honeymoon

Being in Mexico allowed us to feel like we were on a honeymoon for the entire week. Our resort really treated us so special. The day after our wedding we were given a private romantic dinner right on the beach complete with bottles of wine and an exclusive menu. We also received a couples massage! The chance to relax on the beach and let loose in the sun as we celebrated our love was a great way to start a marriage together immediately following our wedding!

Blissfully in love on our wedding day

The best part? We had a real honeymoon to look forward to a few months later.

It Was Just So “Us”

When I look back on our pictures, we couldn’t have done it any other way. These photos of us in the lush Mexican nature surrounded by bright warm colors is just who we are as people. The joy in these shots and the joy I have looking back on them makes me feel like I made the right choice. We eat, breathe, and dream about travel constantly. Planning our wedding was also like planning a vacation. It was doubly exciting to plan the wedding for this reason. It was not only a special day for us, but a week long getaway with friends.

This backdrop speaks far more true to who we are than a wedding hall would have.

Unique Opportunities

I’ve always been an odd duck. I don’t like to do what everyone else does. By having a destination wedding we had some unique opportunities during the party..like jumping in the pool in our outfits!

I jumped in the pool with my wedding dress on, along with most of our guests and my husband!

Are you considering a destination wedding? Reach out to me if you have questions or need advice! Leave a comment below!

14 thoughts on “The Best Parts Of Having a Destination Wedding

  1. This is really cool! We’ve been contemplating a destination wedding, just haven’t done. This testimonial may just push us in the right direction! We’re thinking of Mexico as well, Glad to see it turned out incredibly beautiful!

  2. I love this idea. I also love Mexico it is one of my favourite countries so to combine the two on your special day is just perfect. I can’t believe the amount of $$$ spent on weddings in the USA, I guess the same amount is spent here in Sydney Australia. We recently attended a wedding here in Sydney and I guess if you add it all up it would be nearly the same as the USA.

  3. I’ve been to many destination weddings, so I can relate in this respect. You’re so right about the cost, sometimes it’s cheaper to do it abroad. I totally agree that it’s also a holiday for your guests, and a honeymoon for you. Many congratulations!!

  4. I like the idea of ​​getting married in a beautiful place and connecting it with the honeymoon. You have such beautiful pictures of the ceremony! Congratulations! Recently when I was in Mexico, I also saw beach wedding ceremonies. It is a great idea, and thanks for sharing interesting and useful tips.

  5. I love the idea of the destination wedding. I feel that it’s more intimate and memorable. Since most guests need to travel, you are not obliged to visit everyone to attend. Also
    I love the weekly long celebration after.

  6. Squeee this is all so sweet! It looks like you guys had an amaaazing day (and few weeks all together!!) I am so impressed that so many people joined you for the wedding and holiday!

    I did the opposite as I’d been living abroad for a few years, so I came home to my village for our wedding. I guess it still was a destination wedding for friends that came from abroad!! 😉

  7. Oh, this is so sweet. First of all, congratulations! I wish you to be happy and fully in love for the rest of your lives. It seems that you had a great party and the wedding pictures are absolutely amazing. I wish to have such a beautiful wedding one day, but until then, I first have to find the right guy …

  8. Congratulations on your wedding! I am really glad that you had your way on your wedding. I got married 11 years back and we had to do everything as our parents wanted, though we had not been aware of destination weddings back then! Seeing your wedding album, I do wish to get married again, of course with the same person in a place of our choice! Anyways, have a great life ahead!

  9. Great post!! Congratulation on your wedding, wish you both to have a long and happy married life. Your wedding seems amazing and perfect. I also have a dream of getting married somewhere in a tropical island or something. Small weddings are so much better than big wedding where the bride and groom have immense pressure and take away the actual fun, small wedding gives you the chance to focus on yourself and have as much fun as you can.

  10. What a beautiful article about your destination wedding. I would love to marry again in a destination with bunch of my close friends as my guests. I loved how beautifully you have managed to do everything in Maxico. Its important to spend time with your guest and when you are able to do it while getting married , nothing like that. Absolutely loved reading about it. Big congratulation.

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