Every couple has dreamed about having a destination wedding at one time or another. Frankly, who can blame them — the thought of hopping on a plane with your very nearest and dearest and tying the knot in some beautiful foreign locale is very attractive.
With a destination wedding, you can say “I do” at sunset on a tropical beach, start your married life in your favorite vacation spot, or relax and enjoy the tranquil beauty of a unique wedding venue near the Bay Area in wine country.
But alas, destination weddings are the kind of thing we can only dream of… right?
Wrong! In fact, destination weddings are more common than you might think; according to statistics from TripSavvy, about 1 in every four weddings is a destination event — about 340,000 each year. And while destination weddings can take place in far off locations, many happen not too far from home; for example, many San Franciscans (and other couples across the West Coast) enjoy elegant destination weddings just a few hours away in Sonoma or the Napa Valley.
What makes this non-traditional wedding option so popular? Here are just a few of our favorite things about destination weddings.
A Stress-Free Option
It’s no secret that planning a wedding is incredibly stressful. You and your partner have to make so many decisions (The invitations! The venue! The food! The DJ!) in a rather short amount of time. And if something goes wrong? No biggie — it’s only one of the most important days of your life!
These days, there are countless options a couple can choose from when planning their special day. Unfortunately, this can be both a blessing and a curse. While the many venues, vendors, and DIY ideas available today make it easier than ever to design a wedding that perfectly reflects your interests, it can also lead to a bad case of decision fatigue, which might take away from your enjoyment of the wedding experience.
A destination wedding can help take some of the pressure off your shoulders. Many destination wedding venues in the Bay area and beyond offer all-inclusive wedding packages or preferred vendor lists, which help narrow down your choices to something much more manageable. These venues still allow you to customize and tailor your wedding to your tastes, but it also alleviates the stress of all that extra planning.
Additionally, a destination wedding is by its very nature a relaxing experience. It’s literally a wedding combined with a vacation! Couples can get out of the city and unwind in the quiet beauty of a more serene landscape, which will make their wedding day much more enjoyable. And thanks to local resort spots like the Napa Valley, a romantic escape from city life is never more than a few hours away!
A Unique Experience
It’s been said that today’s young people value experiences over things. They want to travel the world, try new things, and make amazing memories with the people they love. Well, good news: a destination wedding makes it easy to do all those things at once! This is part of the reason why so many young people are forgoing traditional weddings in favor of a fun, romantic adventure.
For example, let’s imagine that a couple decides to have a destination wedding in California’s wine country. Sure, they will have a gorgeous wedding in a unique and breathtaking location, but they can also take advantage of all the amazing activities the area has to offer. Visiting Redwood National Park, boutique shopping in Healdsburg, and delicious meals accompanied by the finest wines in the nation. In Sonoma County, couples and their guests can even get a complete tour of a winery, complete with a view of the back rooms and a meeting with the owner! The memories of these amazing experiences are sure to last a lifetime — and they’ll be even sweeter if they are part of a couple’s wedding!
A destination wedding turns one special day for you and your sweetheart into an unforgettable retreat for you, your partner, and all of your guests. Instead of celebrating just one day (albeit one very special day), you can make your wedding celebration last all weekend long, with different kinds of activities available that suit all your guests’ interests. Now that is one experience that everyone will love.
An Intimate Occasion
Destination weddings, like your traditional nuptials, come in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes, couples tie the knot with no one but each other present (plus a couple of witnesses, of course). Other times, long-time lovers become life partners in front of everyone they know, and everyone gets to enjoy the gorgeous vacation spot the couple chose.
While your destination wedding can truly be any size you’d like, it’s common for these ceremonies to be smaller than hometown affairs (48 guests on average compared to the standard wedding’s 136). Travel accommodations, cost, or time constraints often mean that destination weddings are a smaller, more intimate event. But if you ask us, that can be a wonderful thing! A small wedding means you have more time to connect with your guests and really enjoy their company — and on your wedding day, what could be better than that?
There is also one major benefit to having a small wedding: a lower overall cost! We all know that weddings are expensive — The Knot reports that the average San Francisco wedding cost $39,329 — but that final bill can vary wildly based on the size of your guest list. As we said, destination weddings are by nature more intimate soirees, and that means you and your partner can keep costs low and start your married life in nice financial shape.
As you can see, there are quite a few benefits to having a destination wedding at an interesting and beautiful wedding venue. Whether you’re getting married on a beach in Barbados, under the lights of Las Vegas, or at a stunning estate in Napa or Sonoma, a destination wedding makes it easy to bring your dreams to life for a day you and your guests will never forget.