Wedding woe: destination wedding

01:11, Jun 08 2012

Today's wedding woe comes from Clara, who asks:

Hi Greer,

Here's another wedding woe for you - the destination wedding. My fiancé and I still haven't set a date (some time next year) and the guest list is annoying us both! We were thinking about inviting a few close friends and family (hence getting rid of most of the people on our guest list haha) and telling them we were going to go to Rarotonga (or any other suitable location - yet to be decided) to get married on this date, and we would love it if they came.

Have any other brides chosen a destination wedding, where did they go and how many of their friends/family attended?  Did they think it was better getting married overseas or at home in NZ?




Nipping over to the Pacific Islands to tie the knot is an increasingly popular choice for many Kiwis.

It's not hard to see why: warmer climate, calmer lifestyle, beautiful surroundings and potentially a smaller number of people to deal with, thereby ensuring the people who made the effort to be there *really* wanted to be there for you. 

Getting married overseas isn't for everyone though, and like most wedding-related issues, there are tonnes of hints and tips out there for anyone who think it might be for them.

Now I haven't been to a destination wedding before, but I know people who have and I've kind of collated their feedback into a list of common issues:

- Not enough notice

It's a great idea to think you can keep numbers down by having the wedding overseas, but what if no one can make it? Obviously it depends on how expensive it will be for guests to travel to, but if you are asking guests to make the effort, the least you can do is give them enough warning to save funds or get holiday deals.

- Make sure it's worth it!

Nothing is worse than going to all that effort and spending all that cash... only to find out you're not even legally married at the end of the day.


Most places, especially locations that are known "wedding spots", have heaps of handy advice in terms of the paperwork.

- Think of the guests

Yes, you might be having a destination wedding so you have fewer guests, but think of who those people are going to be. This includes considering if a guest may be pregnant and can't travel (will you be OK with not having your sister or best friend there because they're up the duff?). Also, it's worth itt to consider the oldies. Will Grandad like the 35-degree heat in Samoa? Are older guests in good enough health to travel internationally?

- Trying to save money? Think again

A lot of people say they've eloped or had a destination wedding to "save costs". Unfortunately, depending on what you sign up for, it *can* actually end up costing you just as much, if not more, than an "at home" wedding. I cost is your driver, remember that just because it's in a different currency, it doesn't mean it's cheaper.

- Get to know your destination

Because you're not a local, make sure you triple check what local events or holidays are on at the time. Imagine someone coming to Wellington for a destination wedding during the Sevens (OK, I know, just imagine someone having a Wellington destination wedding full stop - hey! It happens!). This means getting to know your hotel/ceremony location more than how they present on their official website. Trip Advisor is good for this. Also see what other people say about the place and ask friends and family who may have visited also. You do not want to sign up to a dud deal!

- You want a smaller wedding, but wait...

Some people think that by having your wedding overseas, you do a scattergun approach to inviting people - "Hey! Who wants to come?!" - and assume that only a handful of them actually will. Be warned: What if every single one of them decides to make the trip? Suddenly your small, intimate, faraway-land wedding has blown out to be a biggie. A long way from home. Eep!

- Holidaying with the in-laws. Woot!

So you've made all this effort to go to this lovely place and now you're going to extend the trip and have a honeymoon there too. Great! Just be wary of friends and family who may choose to do the same. This won't bother everyone, but those wanting some chill-out time to bask in their new marital status - without the company of others - may want to think of an alternative plan when it comes to getting away from it all.

What advice do you have in terms of destination weddings? Have you been to one or held one yourself? What worked and what didn't?

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