Long gone are the days of cookie-cutter destination weddings at all-inclusive beach resorts abroad! While brides-to-be hoping to get hitched in paradise can obviously still go this route, the new trend is to find a totally unique space, perhaps only a few hours from your home, that can be completely customized. We sat down with destination wedding planner and founder of Tropical Occasions, Aimee Monihan, to debunk some of the most outdated destination wedding myths that still exist today.
1. They're way too expensive
Au contraire, brides! "People travel no matter what for weddings," points out Monihan. If you live in Los Angeles but grew up in Arizona, half of your guests will probably be coming from out of town anyway, technically making it a destination wedding for them. As far as expenses for the bride and groom go, it all comes down to your budget and the type of services you select. "In Costa Rica, for example, a bride's bouquet costs around $100, whereas in the US it could be $350 or more," she notes. The point being that while some destinations will definitely be pricier, some could also come in beneath budget; you just have to do your research.
2. They save money because no one comes
Except nowadays, 75% of guests invited to destination weddings are actually showing up, according to Monihan. "Brides will contact us and say they're inviting 200 people yet expecting 60. When I tell them we should find a space to seat 175, they're surprised," she says. Many guests look at destination weddings as a great excuse to get away, and they're excited about taking a vacation with their friends. Lesson learned: never invite more people than you can afford to accommodate regardless of the location.
3. All destination weddings are all-inclusive beach weddings
Of course, many couples choose to say "I do" in the sand at an exotic all-inclusive resort. However, Monihan finds that today's destination weddings really speak to clients that aren't looking for a pre-packaged affair. "Some want that beach wedding, but they want to wear nice heels and to be up above, looking over the water instead. Others want to get married in front of a waterfall or on a volcano; they're thinking outside the box." If personalization is important to you, Monihan advises not doing the all-inclusive thing. "Get a professional planner in the area, give them your vision and let them help you plan it."
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4. A destination wedding has to be in another country
False! "A destination wedding is anywhere people have to travel to," explains Monihan. It can be 60 miles and a few towns over, on the opposite coast from where the couple lives or all the way across the world.
5. You have to pay for your guests travel expenses
"People think they have to pay for everything, like travel to and from the airport and hotel costs," reveals Monihan. This is so not the case though. "You foot the bill for the things you'd pay for back home." So the food, open bar costs and all that good stuff? Yes. Transportation to and from the wedding? It's nice, but not necessary.