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Destination weddings gaining in popularity

From bars to beaches, more couples are saying “I Do” to destination weddings. reports a 27% increase in bookings and anticipates continued growth due to stress-free and affordable options. Couples can take the plunge without sacrificing savings or sanity with the following packages and ideas.

Couples seeking more fun, less fuss are booking more casual locations. In Baltimore, Brad and Joanna Hudson tied the knot at Rocket to Venus, the bar where they met. Glen and Sarah Watkins said “I Do” at their favorite beach bar on St. Croix. “It’s about bringing friends, family together,” said Sarah Watkins, “The location was icing on the cake.” Hotel Viking in Newport, Rhode Island, which offers a chapel and a courtyard garden for weddings, reports an increase in couples inquiring about the rooftop bar for celebrations.

“Couples are expressing their creativity through unique locations and events,” says Hilary Lanzer of, which coordinates destination weddings at Caribbean resorts. Lanzer says at Coconut Bay Resort & Spa in St. Lucia couples are adding a beach bonfire complete with cocktails and live music to the Pearl Wedding Package. Starting at $6999 for up to 26 guests, the Pearl package includes photography, a cocktail reception, private dinner, steel band, and much more.

“The average cost of a wedding in the US is more than $29,000,” said Lanzer. “But in the Caribbean and Mexico you get so much more for a lot less.”

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A perfect example of more for your money is evident with the Tailor Made Wedding package at Paradisus Resorts in the Dominican Republic and Mexico. Designed for 42 guests, the package starts at $11,050 for weddings in January, February and September. Featuring an Open Bar BBQ; a $500 floral credit; all the wedding day details; a cocktail hour; private dinner reception; six spa certificates; a spa day for the newlyweds and more, the package makes creating a spectacular wedding affordable.

To add to the allure of a destination wedding, Lanzer reports that tying the knot in different countries is “easier now as countries ease marriage requirements.”

Konrad Wagner, the General Manager of Calabash Cove Resort & Spa, says when St. Lucia reduced the waiting period to get married (now a few hours, not 48), more couples took the plunge. Priced at $1500, “Lover’s Cove” is the hotel’s most popular package for elopers. It includes the ceremony, Marriage officer, legal documents, fees, bouquet, boutonniere, wedding cake, champagne, dinner, and breakfast in bed.

Easy access is another reason destination weddings are increasing. Numerous flights make the Bahamas very appealing. Melia Nassau Beach offers the “Tides” package perfect for small weddings. Starting at $4800 for 24 guests, the package includes bouquet, boutonniere, private dinner, sparkling wine, wedding cake, a cocktail hour, and more.

Tags: destination weddings, MICE, weddings


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