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Traveling to get married: how the ‘destination wedding’ works

Choice of venue, etiquette when inviting guests, paperwork and other essential tips

In free translation the expression “destination wedding” means “marriage as a destination”. The trend, already consolidated in Europe and the United States, has strengthened in recent years in Brazil, driven by celebrities who have said yes in spectacular settings. Replacing the conventional party with a ceremony on the beach, in a resort, in a glamorous city or even on the high seas (with or without guests) not only adds further flavor to the union but can also have benefits that go beyond romance.

As incredible as it may seem, traveling to get married can be cheaper than a buffet and a church. Plus, it works as an elegant way to get around difficult social issues, such as including guests due to family pressure or the dilemma of where to celebrate when the bride and groom come from different cities (or even countries).

How much does it cost

Whether it’s in the corner of your house or in the Hawaii, the sky is the limit for the price of a wedding. But, in general, the cheapest way to get married away from home is to take out a package with all the services in a Caribbean resort (especially in Cancún or Punta Cana) or to throw yourself into the fantasy of unions in Las Vegas and Orlando. Saying yes on a cruise, in Brazil or abroad, can also be practical.

In European destinations – such as Portugal, Italy and France – or on the coasts of Brazil, the business usually involves an agency that takes care of the organization, hires suppliers based on the customer’s taste (and budget) and, sometimes , also advises spouses and guests on travel logistics. In this case, budgets tend to be more robust and depend on countless variables.


Weddings away from home require an extra dose of planning. Therefore, it is essential to notify guests a year in advance, giving them enough space to organize their agenda, travel and bank account. According to “destination wedding” etiquette, it is common for the guests themselves to cover their own transportation and accommodation costs. Precisely for this reason the spouses must have the courage to understand that the trip could be unachievable for some friends (and also candidates for godparents).

The right place

It is not enough that the spouses love a certain place or have a special relationship with it. Choosing a wedding destination must be a careful operation, especially when it involves guests. It is essential to take into account the weather conditions on the date in question, avoid peak seasons (which can make travel more expensive and difficult for everyone) and consider access facilities, such as direct flights, road traffic, etc. If the spouses wish to spend this special moment in the company of friends, it is also important to consider whether the proposed program is compatible with the economic situation of the majority.


The most recommended thing is for the spouses to get married at the registry office in Brazil before or after the trip and only carry out the symbolic ceremony abroad. If you want to seal a legally valid union in another country, you must inform yourself in advance about the necessary documentation and procedures, which vary depending on the destination.

5 essential tips

The combination is amazing: travel, best friends, the most special day of your life. But you have to be careful not to add the stress of organizing remotely into the equation. Below are five tips for overcoming anxiety and enjoying your wedding without headaches:

1. Adapt your expectations to the reality of the destination. The services of the chosen place (from the type of flowers to the dishes on the menu) will not always be exactly what you dreamed of. It’s better to make concessions and focus on the experience.

2. Take cultural differences into account. We cannot impose our habits on local customs and there is not always flexibility to negotiate exceptions.

3. If your standards are very high, it is better to have someone you trust at your destination to take care of everything closely instead of choosing a standardized package.

4. Establish the budget and number of guests before anything else. Only subsequently will it be possible to choose the location, the type of experience and the details.

5. Be aware of possible exchange rate fluctuations when getting married abroad: In times of high dollar and euro rates, setting a budget now and paying months later can make big differences in your budget.

Source: Terra

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