There is no way around it. Wedding planning is stressful. Jon and I realized quickly that we did not want to plan a big wedding. We wrote down the pros and cons and decided that a destination wedding was perfect for us. We love to travel, so it was very fitting for us to have a destination wedding. Now if you have always dreamt of your wedding day with the complete package, then by all means you should have a traditional wedding. This post is not to knock traditional weddings, but to give encouragement to the brides that are considering a destination wedding. New brides often ask me “How did you make the decision to go away?” Here are my 10 reasons to have a destination wedding.
Jon proposed on Easter Day during an Easter egg hunt in front of both of our families. We had to have a fall wedding with Jon’s work schedule. Since he proposed in the spring, we had approximately 6 months to plan. We absolutely did not want to wait a year and half to get married. A lot of local wedding venues are completely booked over a year in advance. Instead we thought, “why not be different and have a destination wedding?” Of course my wedding day could not land on a Saturday that my Gamecocks play. This narrowed our day to a very specific timeframe. We picked the date 10-11-14 (gamecocks bye week), and then went on the hunt for a destination.
Long Term Goals
My parents offered us a decent budget for our wedding, but the cost of a venue and catering would have been well over budget. My mom is not a big fan of weddings, so she came up with a very intriguing proposition. She agreed that if we remained under budget we could have the remaining money to start our joint savings account. This was just too good to pass up and definitely held us accountable with making financial decisions while planning.
Jon and I both grew up in the Myrtle Beach area and still remain here today. With majority of our family and friends living in the area, our wedding list would have been close to 200+. Our budget definitely could not cover that number of people. This reassured our decision to keep planning a destination wedding. My father-in-law casually suggested Las Vegas to us. Jon and his family vacationed to Vegas over the years and were very familiar with the area. After looking up a few venues, it was a official. We were getting married in Las Vegas, the #1 city for destination weddings. We left an open invitation to our friends and family. Since we were traveling out west with a short notice of only 6 months, we were able to narrow our guest list to 40 people. Jon and I wanted everyone to be with us in Vegas, but in the grand scheme of things we wanted the day to be more focused on us instead of a “wedding.” We stayed well under budget allowing us to start our marriage with a little cushion.
Have all the Festivities in One Weekend
We decided to have our bachelorette and bachelor parties a few days prior to the wedding. Our friends were spending a good chunk of money to meet us in Vegas, so we wanted to make it as affordable as possible. We crammed all of the festivities into one weekend instead of having a separate trip for our parties.
Put a New Spin on Traditions
Our wedding venue was a small chapel on Fremont Street near the “Old Vegas.” Jon and I met with the wedding coordinator a few days prior to check things out. It is difficult to book venues without seeing them first, but we were happy with the rooftop terrance we picked out. The downfall to getting married in a chapel is the absence of a rehearsal ceremony. Since we were not having a rehearsal dinner, we decided to bring everyone together and attend an all day pool party. Both bridal parties met at Tao Beach and spent the day together in the beautiful Las Vegas weather.
Our wedding package from Vegas Weddings included a limo for the bridal party, video of the ceremony, photographer, bridal bouquet, groom’s boutonniere and live feed of the wedding ceremony for viewers at home. The wedding package definitely eliminated a lot of stress. I think the most stressful decision I had to make was whether I wanted Elvis to make an appearance. No, I’m not kidding it was an add on item for $200. Overall the process was super simple. The wedding coordinator asked a few questions regarding the type of ceremony and flower colors we wanted. The bridesmaid’s dresses were various shades of blue/teal that they picked out on their own. Jon purchased the groomsmen’s shirts and pants as their wedding gift. Our goal was to make our wedding stress free and cost efficient for us and our wedding guests.
Unique Wedding Photos
Our wedding package also included a private photo session at any location on the strip. Following the ceremony Jon and I piled into the limo with my matron of honor and the photographer. Our photographer was absolutely amazing. We did not get to hand pick him, but we sure did get lucky. The Las Vegas Strip provided a unique landscape compared to the usual southern backdrop in our home state. I love that our wedding photos are unlike anyone else’s.
Extra Bonding Time
Since we decided not to have a scheduled rehearsal dinner or fancy reception, we were able to spend more time enjoying each other and the location. I highly recommend forgoing some of the more traditional aspects of weddings. How fun would it be to have a bowling night or wine tasting? I also enjoyed having extra time with my mom and bridesmaids in our hotel room while we were getting ready. I researched extensively for a hair stylist/makeup artist in the Vegas area that would travel to our hotel room. If you are ever in Vegas and need hair/makeup, call Bree from Rouge Hair and Makeup. We were unable to have a trial, but she created my exact vision. Highly recommend airbrush makeup for all future brides. After all the primping concluded, we headed out for personal photos ops around the resort. We had plenty of time that day and I never remember feeling flustered or rushed.
Pick and Choose Traditions
You can still choose to keep the traditions that you would like and forego the ones you don’t really care about. Jon and I are not big fans of cake, so we didn’t have a cake at our reception. Guests were able to choose between key lime pie, cheesecake and chocolate island cake. I did partake in the tradition of something new (garter/earrings), something old (my dad’s wedding band attached to the inside of my dress), something borrowed (bracelet from my mom) and something blue (Betsey Johnson heels). We also wrote letters to each other the morning of the wedding that we read right before the ceremony. These are special touches that I’m glad we decided to do. But it does seems easier to eliminate traditional parts of a wedding when it’s a destination wedding.
Vacation for Everyone
Not only are people spending their money to travel to your wedding, but they are getting a vacation out of it. We left the schedule open as much as possible so everyone was able to do a little bit on their own. All of our family and friends gave it rave reviews. I highly recommend having a destination wedding if you are on the fence. It was definitely an experience like none other, but it did create a monster. Jon and I fell so much in love with Vegas that we have traveled back 5 times since our wedding to vacation there. I will definitely have future blog posts on things to do in Las Vegas. If you want to be a little different and you don’t have your heart set on a traditional wedding, then definitely look into celebrating with your friends and family at a destination. Destination wedding options are endless. You can have your wedding at a tropical oasis, a ski resort, on a cruise or if you are feeling lucky like us, Viva Las Vegas.