You’ve made the decision…we’re getting married! It may have been a surprise proposal, it may have been a well-thought out decision between the two of you, or it may have been one of those moments when you gazed into each other’s eyes and just knew. Any which way, it’s a life-changing, fireworks popping, happy dance moment to be celebrated!
And now the fun begins! Your wedding is one of the first opportunities for you as a couple to scream to the world who you are. Do you want your wedding to be indoors in a church or hotel? Do you want a restaurant or banquet hall to host your reception? Do you want a wedding in the great outdoors? Do you want your guests to celebrate with you for just a night or share a memorable, long weekend?
Here at Lakedale (in the beautiful San Juan Islands of Washington state), we’ve noticed a shift in the wedding winds over the last decade. Every year, more and more couples choose to have a destination wedding (the simplest definition: an event that doesn’t take place in the city or town where you live) instead of a more traditional ceremony, especially if you want all or part of your nuptials to be outside. It’s estimated that one out of every four weddings is now a destination event.
With virtually limitless choices when it comes to setting and venues, destination weddings give a couple some amazing and creative options to share their commitment with friends and family…and oh, did we mention the fun part? Outside the confines of the cities and towns that most of us live in, the world is full of beautiful beaches, forests, mountains and deserts that make stunning backdrops for wedding events. Choosing a destination wedding usually gives you much more control over the size of the guest list (will Dad’s old golfing buddy or that guy from the accounting cubicle you rarely see really want to come?) and they often end up being much less expensive than traditional events…sometimes significantly so!
There’s a slew of information online about etiquette, who should pay for what, and lists of “do’s and don’ts” for couples considering a destination wedding. So, we thought we’d help by putting together a short list we hope will make the entire process, well…less of a process, and more fun for everyone involved!
Natural Outdoor Beauty Requires no Decoration:
You can spend a gazillion dollars on flowers and decorations to gussy up that conference room or banquet hall, but it’s still going to be a conference room or banquet hall. On the other hand, beautiful outdoor spaces need little to no decoration and you still end up with a beautiful outdoor space. Mother Nature has your back and she does a pretty darned good job of decorating the space for you.
Casual can be Classy:
Take a moment and imagine the times in your life that you’re most comfortable, relaxed, and at peace with the world. We don’t want to go too far out on a limb, but we guess you probably weren’t wearing a tuxedo or six-inch stilettos in that moment…? You and your guests don’t necessarily need to wear sweatpants and t-shirts to the wedding, but casual and comfortable is king in the outdoors. Being dressed up is great too, but keep the atmosphere casual. Think of things like campfires, S‘mores, and lawn games like cornhole, horseshoes and Kubb to inject a little relaxation into your reception, especially if you’re inviting guests with children. If you and your guests are relaxed, you’re going to be less stressed and having fun, and isn’t that exactly the point?
Put a Roof on It:
Another great element that most destination venues provide is diversity in lodging options and pricing for your guests. Here at Lakedale for example, we have options for camping (for your back-to-nature college buddies), to glamping (for your friends with young kids who want to camp with comfort), to your middle-aged cousins and kids (who want to hang out together in a log cabin and make S’mores over a campfire every night), and for grandma and grandpa (who are thrilled to stay in a lodge room overlooking a lake, with a delicious breakfast prepared for them every day). Some couples opt to have their guests reserve their own rooms, while some decide to “buy-out” the resort and create their own version of a dream destination wedding! At one of our favorite weddings, the bride and her friends made 200 dreamcatchers and hung them all over the resort. Making it personal is our motto!
Vows and Various Views:
Aside from beautiful, natural settings and relaxed environments, destination venues provide great flexibility for all the elements of your wedding. Having a different feel for each part of a traditional wedding usually involves a change of venues, and that means …transportation. But imagine reciting your vows on a grassy knoll surrounded by tall pines, then walking (or rowing a boat) to a cocktail hour on a deck overlooking a glassy lake, then culminating your celebration with dinner at long farm tables and dancing under the stars in a meadow aglow with strings of lights overhead…all while never leaving the property? You can have a variety of looks and feels, all while reducing the planning and logistical stress. That’s what we call having your wedding cupcakes and eating them too!
Two Days for the Two of You:
Escaping our routines and same-old environments is probably the main reason we all go on vacations. Without a “to-do list”, we’re much more likely to enjoy the people and places that surround us. And really, when is that more important than your wedding? To be exactly where you, your partner, and your guests want to be, because that’s when truly memorable moments are made! When you design a unique wedding weekend, your guests will have no problem justifying traveling…they get a vacation, and they get to celebrate the beginning of the two of you!
Whether you opt for a traditional wedding, or decide to dance down the destination wedding path along with your friends and families, we’re thrilled to help! After hosting an average of 10 weddings a year, all year round, we have lots of ideas to help make your big day…well, your big weekend! Our wedding guru Carla, (firstname.lastname@example.org ) is wonky about weddings and would love to chat with you (and take you on a tour of Lakedale’s special wedding venues). Or check out our wedding page. Love to see you soon!