Our 2015 Wedding Finance Survey found that 1 in 5 couples had a destination wedding, but how did they plan it? We wanted to dig a little deeper, and I had the chance to sit down with Romance Travel Concierge to get their recommendations on how you can easily plan a destination wedding. They created their company to help couples plan their destination wedding by providing a list of the best, hand-selected vendors and offering planning tools that help you create and book your entire wedding, including your airfare. So, who better to ask for destination-wedding tips than the pros?

Q: What are the benefits of doing a destination wedding? 

For most of our clients, having a destination wedding has been a long time dream. In most cases, they want to get married overseas because a location is either meaningful to them or they want to create new memories somewhere with each other and their families. 

We've been doing this a long time and we've learned that a lot of people considering a destination wedding, anticipate it being very expensive and perhaps even the more challenging option. But in the end, it can actually be more cost-effective. The celebration is a private and intimate affair with a few of your closest. (No guilt here about the 500 people that your mom wanted there but couldn't make it). You're also not incorporating all the traditional, more "artificial" elements had you decided on having a local wedding. 

Q: What would you recommend engaged couples think about before booking a destination wedding?

It's important at a time like this to remember that your day is about you and celebrating your love as a couple. Pursue your dream, no matter how lofty it may seem in the beginning. Nothing should be "off the table." Just do your research and know that there are convenient, trustworthy tools out there to help make this a seamless experience. 

Q: What are some challenges you've seen couple have while planning a destination wedding? 

We've seen it all but the primary challenges with booking a destination wedding, (especially in Europe), are coordinating with time differences, language barriers with various vendors, and tracking multiple contracts. We also see what we call "analysis paralysis", where couples "freeze up" because there are to many decisions to make.

Q: If there is one thing a couple should splurge on for their wedding, what would it be? 

Themselves, first and foremost! Making room for alone time during this potentially stressful time is probably one of the most critical things a couple can do. Just like the birth of a child, the birth of a marriage is a new beginning that needs to be nourished. 

Q: If you have a tight wedding budget, how are some ways couples can save on a destination wedding? 

Like we mentioned earlier, you'll most likely save a lot from the get-go because your guest list will be smaller. So all of the associated costs, from the venue to reception and food, will be less. You can save even more by planning for a location and time that is a destination's off-season. 

Q: Are there hidden costs you would recommend couples ask about before booking a destination wedding? 

Taxes and fees! We cannot stress that enough. When we quote you a price all of that is included but most places will only show you the net cost at first.

Q: What are popular destinations for both weddings and honeymoons?

Research shows that Hawaii and the Caribbean Islands are always high on the list. But we've found that a lot resorts market their destinations to include "free weddings" if you book with longer periods of time with them. This resulted in a somewhat "wedding factory,” where personal tastes and more importantly romance go out the window. Don't let this happen to you! Try not to think too much about what's popular and focus more on what you want. Chances are you can make it happen.  

Q: How do you recommend engaged couples choose their destination? 

First think about what types of vacations you like. It is the beach, or do you prefer a place that has a lot history, arts, and culture? Do you like the snow or would you rather it be warm? Once you've figured out what you enjoy the most, you can pinpoint location and time. At the end of the day however, it's pretty simple because it's about the two of you. 

To learn more about Romance Travel Concierge, check out their website.

Happy Planning,

Madeline