Searching The Byways For A Wedding Destination

wedding decorationIt used to be that the only travel planning that most people did for their wedding was for the honeymoon.

The wedding ceremony would be performed at a local church or chapel, followed by the wedding reception at a nearby event center. Then the happy couple would steal away together to an exotic location to start their life together.

But that trend is changing. These days, more and more couples are taking the entire wedding on the road for a destination wedding. Instead of just the bride and groom going away, friends and family join them in traveling to a distant spot for a celebration vacation.

While a wedding destination in Montego Bay would probably be the ultimate choice for most soon-to-be newlyweds, the majority of couples will have to settle for a location somewhere along the byways in the continental United States. Convincing friends and family to travel outside the country for a wedding can be a difficult task.

The good news is that there are plenty of places inside the country that offer fabulous destination weddings.

Historic Chapels

If you are adamant about having your wedding ceremony inside a traditional chapel, then Las Vegas might be the perfect place for a wedding destination. There are an abundance of picturesque chapels that can give you the perfect setting for your nuptials.

And since Las Vegas has an abundance of attractions that appeal to people of all ages, selling the idea of traveling to the entertainment capital of the world won’t be a hard sell. The shows, games, and amusements available make it the perfect place for a travel wedding.

Scenic Settings

If an outdoor wedding is more your style, you might want to consider one of our national parks as a destination. Maine’s Acadia National Park and California’s Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park offer venues on either end of the continental US that are both beautiful and inexpensive.

The application fees are only a few hundred dollars (see here and here for forms), and in exchange you can exchange your vows surrounded by breathtaking beauty.

Maine and California are not your only options for a national park wedding. Parks in Virginia, Montana, Wyoming, and Washington also offer similar wedding accommodations.

And don’t forget one of the most epic parks of all – Yosemite National Park in California. They even have a chapel for the ceremony, ensuring that Yogi Bear won’t intrude while you are exchanging rings.

Start Planning

Having a destination wedding is not something you can pull off last minute. It will take planning and organization for everything to run smoothly. Here are a few tips to help you stay on track:

  1. Pick A Location – Most of the items in your checklist will revolve around where you decide to get married. Checking online reviews is an excellent way to start. Or consider talking to a travel planner. Having an expert in your corner when it comes to negotiating prices and dates will be worth every extra penny you pay.
  2. Do The Research – Be sure you check into local events when you do your planning, and also ask about other events that the resort may be hosting on your target dates. If you unknowingly choose the same date as a local holiday or large convention it can make finding accommodations for your guests nearly impossible.
  3. Invite Early – Giving your guests the maximum amount of advanced warning will ensure a good turnout for your wedding. Most people need to arrange their vacation time in advance, and are more likely to attend if you give them enough time to make arrangements. Just telling them about the plans without giving solid dates is not enough – people often wait for concrete dates before making a decision.
  4. Think Beyond The Day – While your focus might be centered around the big day, your guests will want other activities that carry through the entire weekend. Planning some group events and also providing information on additional attractions they can choose for themselves will make for a much better trip for everyone involved.
  5. Organize Online – Social media is a great way to keep everyone on board with your wedding plans. A dedicated Pinterest board for ideas and Facebook group for the event can make communicating to everyone involved much easier. Consider setting all of these things up in advance so that you can include the relevant links in the invitations. And think about asking for email addresses and cell numbers from those that RSVP. This will make it easy to communicate with everyone involved, including sharing any last-minute additions or changes that might come up.

Those are just a few suggestions to get you thinking about moving your wedding outside your local community, and to a fabulous destination instead. While it may be a little more work, in the end incorporating one of the amazing locations along our nation’s byways can turn your special day into the memory of a lifetime for both you and your guests.