Feature photo by Emery Co Photo

Instead of going to the chapel these days, more than ever couples are headed out of state or out of the country to get married. And we’re not just talking about quickie weddings in Vegas. Couples today choose tropical beaches, scenic mountain tops and exotic locales as their wedding location. So why are they packing up and heading out to tie the knot?

One major factor is cost. Getting married on a Maui beach may seem extravagantly expensive, but price it out next to a reception at a downtown Chicago hotel on a Saturday night and you’re looking at thousands of dollars in savings. How so? If you have a wedding near home, you’re more likely to invite extended family, friends, co-workers, neighbors; the guest list tends to grow. But if you’re traveling to a distant location to wed, not only does your guest list tend to be kept to close family and friends, but you’ll also be more likely to receive a few “no”s on your RSVP cards. Guests may not be able to spend the money, or the vacation days, so don’t be surprised to have less guests than what you’ve invited.

Couples may also choose to get married away from home because the location they’ve chosen holds special meaning to them. Perhaps they met back in college on spring break in Cancun, so they’re exchanging vows on the beaches of Riviera Maya, or they’re getting hitched at Disney World because their first date was going to a Disney movie. With online wedding officiant certifications, a bride and groom can grab a friend, have them ordained and get married just about anywhere.

Since destination weddings tend to be smaller and more intimate than soirees at big reception halls, they’re a great opportunity to spend time with guests and truly share your day. Generally you’ll need to arrive to the location a few days prior to the actual ceremony, so you’ll have the chance to actually spend time with the friends and family you’ve invited. And after all, that’s what a wedding is about: sharing your love with the ones you love.

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