Roughly one in five couples today are shunning the traditional church wedding in their hometown, opting for a destination wedding on a beach, mountaintop, castle or vineyard instead. And the trend is on the rise as couples realise that they can have their dream wedding by going abroad.
“With the average overseas ceremony costing less than a
third of the cost of a traditional wedding in the UK, even for a really
exclusive event, couples no longer need a big bank balance,” said Jennifer
Kelly of Barefoot Bride, an online
wedding planning service.
A destination wedding also solves the issue of who to
invite. In Asia, many couples feel that having an intimate destination wedding
is a way to reclaim their special day, rather than feeling obliged to invite many
guests who are friends and associates of their parents.
Once you have decided to get away to tie the knot, the
next question is where to go.
The Mamma Mia effect is still very much alive, leaving lots
of couples dreaming of a Greek Island wedding. Greece spoils you for choice
with its roughly 6,000 idyllic islands, with endless sands and dramatic cliffs surrounded
by aquamarine seas. As brides today favour the smaller islands for a more
intimate wedding of no more than 20 guests, pearls like Amorgos and Kefalonia
are now more fashionable than party islands like Mykonos or Phapos.
The island country of Cyprus, located in the eastern
Mediterranean, is locally known as Aphrodite’s Isle. Where better to get
married than where legend holds the goddess of love rose from the waves? There
is sunshine nearly year round, English is widely spoken and it is very
reasonably priced. Options for all budgets range from exclusive boutique hotels
to family friendly all-inclusive properties. Pritoras’s Fig Tree Bay and Green
Bay Beach are among the choicest areas.
The allure of the sun-drenched Caribbean is very popular
with North American couples. There are thousands of islands to choose from,
with miles of golden sandy beaches and clear blue water.
Getting married in the Caribbean also means your guests
can enjoy laid back group activities like catamaran cruises or dinners on the
beach. “Most of our clients want a location and a resort where their guests can
have unlimited access to meals included in the cost; they seem concerned with
keeping the costs down for their guests so places like Dominican Republic and
Jamaica, which have a lot of all inclusive resorts, are very popular,”
explained Sandra Aaron from Mindless
Sophistication Events, a wedding planning service.
Bali is the top destination for weddings in Indonesia.
The island has a moderate, warm climate, tropical jungles and stunning Indian
“A good number of small, bespoke wedding chapels have
sprung up on the island in recent years too, but most importantly, there are
lots of agents on the ground who handle all the marriage paperwork” explained
Jonathan Goh from Wedding Acts, a wedding planning service based in Singapore.
“The couple just needs to arrive a couple of days before the wedding.”
The legalities in Thailand are not as easy as Bali, but
most couples choose this destination for its beautiful beaches, delicious food
and the warm local hospitality. Most wedding ceremonies here will offer the
choice of a Buddhist blessing, lantern lighting ceremony and perhaps hiring a
baby elephant (a controversial practice we do not condone).
Phuket and Koh Samui are the more popular destinations,
but smaller islands too are coming into vogue. “With air travel these days, you
can bring 50 people to Thailand at a reasonable price and stay in Thailand’s
most luxurious resort, at a price that is probably half what it would cost to
get married in Europe or Sydney,” boasted Anthony Lark, General Manager of Trisara resort in Phuket.
The variety of this country is what makes it stand apart.
Some couples opt for a game reserve in the heart of the South African bush or a
stylish vineyard setting, but most cannot resist the lure of the beaches that
lap the country's coastline from Cape Town all the way round to Durban.
“It's where we got married three years ago and I think it
offers all that you get from a beach wedding in the Caribbean, but also has so
much more on offer for the honeymoon and the guests -- be it a bush safari or
the colourful culture and night life in Cape Town,” Kelly said.
Many couples are opting for more far-flung and exotic
destinations, like Cambodia and Vietnam, Stephanie Chai from weddingguideasia.com
said. Khmer ceremonies in Cambodia can add a different dimension to nuptials,
while in China, resorts in Ringha, in the Yunnan Province, are offering Tibetan