Weddings are always filled with choices: What kind of food do you want to have? What decorations, music, vibe, and venue will you choose? But first, let's delve into a question that many couples often overlook—what kind of wedding do I truly want?
By this, I mean: Do I desire the new norm for weddings? Should I find a local venue and invite everyone I know, including family members, colleagues, and even neighbors? This has become the prevailing expectation, leading many to believe it's the only option without considering the question of "what kind?"
Here's a brief list to broaden your horizons, introducing a couple of alternative options to consider. Additionally, I'll share why I chose the path I did (and don't worry, I'll soon explore other wedding styles in future blogs).
Full "traditional" Weddings (AKA the new norm)
From this list, my husband and I personally selected a destination wedding. We had been aware of this question for some time, thanks to my mother's guidance and our involvement in the wedding industry. However, if this concept is new to you, as it is for many, you might be wondering: Why would I consider anything other than a "traditional wedding"? Well, sit back, relax, and allow me to share the story of why we opted for a destination wedding, along with some reasons why other couples might do the same! :)
Firstly, my mother always encouraged me to think about options that were outside the expectations of a grand wedding. She taught me that I had the freedom to elope with just my husband or have a small, intimate gathering in a location of my choice, even if it wasn't in my hometown. The best part was not having to invite every single person I knew—relatives, friends, or acquaintances. The idea of choosing any place I desired always resonated with me. Over time, I developed a deep love for the beach after exploring various natural wonders across the United States, such as mountains, canyons, caves, islands, jungles, open fields, and plains. Among them, the allure of the blue waters and white sands left an indelible impression on my heart. I knew that one day, I wanted to be a barefoot bride, exchanging vows on the pristine beaches next to crystal-clear blue waters. And lo and behold, my dream became a reality.
Secondly, while I wholeheartedly support elopements... But, I couldn't imagine my special day without my parents, grandmother, best friends, and other loved ones. As I pondered the guest list, it became clear that if I invited one person, I had to invite another, and it continued to snowball. Gradually, we realized that if we were going to have a small wedding, we needed a venue that could accommodate at least 20 people. Most elopement venues could only accommodate 3 to 15 people, and once the guest count crossed that threshold, it was considered a wedding. So, if we were going to have a smaller celebration, we decided to explore the idea of a full-fledged destination wedding.
We had a destination vibe in mind and a rough estimate of the guests we wanted to invite, so, we delved into the planning process, determining whether our vision was feasible and within our budget. Surprisingly, the pieces fell into place quite quickly. Within a couple of days, we found our dream venue, and from that point forward, we dove headfirst into planning our destination wedding.
The third reason behind our decision was that we wanted the wedding to be a reflection of us. Our primary focus was to ensure that the people closest to us could attend because their presence would bring us the most joy. We wanted to be in a location that held special meaning for us, allowing us to create lasting memories. To include those who couldn't attend the wedding, we organized events such as an engagement party and a bridal shower, providing an opportunity for their participation without the pressure of attending the actual ceremony. We also set up a Honeymoon fund as an alternative to traditional gifts, giving them another avenue to contribute and feel involved.
By prioritizing our desires, we made our wedding a celebration of our love story and the beginning of our own family. I've witnessed numerous weddings where the couple felt obliged to spend time with every attendee, especially those they hadn't seen in years or those who traveled long distances to be there. Consequently, they couldn't dedicate much time to their wedding party, immediate family, or even enjoy their carefully selected dance music or live bands. While some couples cherish these moments due to the reasons I mentioned earlier, my husband and I longed for quality time together, dancing to our favorite songs, and engaging with a select few individuals rather than a crowd of 150-300 people simply for the sake of politeness.
Why did a destination wedding help us achieve this? Firstly, the guest count was naturally limited due to various factors. Secondly, we deliberately carved out moments to enjoy each other's company. Thirdly, we made sure to dance when we wanted and invited others to join us on the dance floor, fostering interaction. However, the most significant advantage was that many guests arrived early since it was a destination wedding. This allowed us to greet and chat with them before the big day, reducing the number of obligatory conversations during the event. We could simply enjoy everyone's company and dance alongside them. To further enhance this dynamic, we arranged group activities or hosted a rehearsal dinner or welcome party for those who arrived early.
In conclusion, these are some of the reasons why I chose to have a destination wedding. Some of the other reasons are difficult to express in words and can only be summarized as "We just wanted it that way." So, whatever your reason may be, remember that it's your day. You don't owe anyone an explanation; simply state with conviction, 'We couldn't picture it any other way.' That statement holds true for me, even with my experience of photographing over a hundred weddings. All I could envision was myself as a barefoot bride on the beach.
If you're planning a destination wedding or elopement and need a photographer who truly understands your vision, feel free to reach out to me using the button below! I'm passionate about shooting weddings anywhere in the world and will wholeheartedly support your decision to have a destination wedding.
Let's become friends and create magical memories together. 👀✨💕