Here’s where couples mate away from home – Twin Cities

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Amy and Christopher Gallant live in the “Marriage Capital of the World”. But for their nuptials, the couple – who both have roots on the East Coast – traded in Las Vegas for New England, choosing to be married in an 18th-century church with a clock tower and belfry.

In June 2018, the two traveled to Amherst, New Hampshire, where Amy had grown up, to be married at her childhood church.

“I think it was really special for us to get on a plane and say, ‘We’re going to our wedding,’ and not just going down the Strip, ‘says Amy. “It was a whole week before the event.”

For their destination wedding, which is generally defined as a wedding that takes place 200 kilometers or more from their home, around 100 people attended. Guests have come from as far away as Macau. Much of Christopher’s family came from Maine, and many of Amy’s family came from Boston. Dozens of friends came from Las Vegas and other cities where the couple lived.
“It was so nice to have the group collide – people you’ve known for decades who’ve never met other social circles – to meet and chat and mingle,” Amy says.

The internet has made planning easier, despite the distance. They had Skype sessions with their pastor and found the DJ and photographer online.

“I really don’t think we could have done this 20 years ago,” says Christopher.

In the end, the day was everything they hoped it would be – filled with beautiful scenery, history, nostalgia, and the people they loved, all gathered in one special place.

According to a 2018 survey by wedding planning site The Knot, nearly one in four American couples who married in 2018 – 23% – considered their wedding to be a destination wedding. The majority of them – 81% – were in one of the mainland’s states, while 19% ventured to a more distant location, either to international destinations, or to Alaska or Hawaii. Of those who opted for a destination wedding, 15% also held a second celebration near their homes, according to the survey.

Lauren Kay, associate editor of The Knot, says couples often opt for destination weddings for an intimate and one-of-a-kind experience.

“I think a lot of millennials and couples getting married today are looking to do something unique,” ​​she says. “They get married at the same time as their friends and colleagues, so they want their marriage to stand out and be special.”

When deciding on a destination, Kay adds, they rarely throw a dart at a map. Rather, she says, they’re looking for a place that tells a story about them as a couple – just like Christopher and Amy did.

“They don’t try to be different just for the sake of being different,” Kay says. “They want to have a meaning behind this.”

As the bride and groom begin to plan their weddings, Kay shared some trends in destinations, themes, and practices to look for for the coming year.

Vineyards, Southern charm and “Vegas, baby!” Will be hot. Kay expects the following domestic destinations to be popular:

  • Las Vegas. It’s easy to get to, it’s a snap to get your marriage license, and there are wedding venues and packages to suit all tastes and budgets.
  • Charleston, South Carolina “It’s this lovely town that looks small but has that romantic side,” Kay says. Plus, it’s affordable, the food is great, and couples can find options of unique and historic places.
  • Napa Valley, California The wine country is always popular for its romantic vineyard views, top-notch food and drink options, and of course, fun tasting experiences for groups.
  • Hawaii. For beach ceremonies, “it’s just an iconic location,” Kay says. The islands offer an exotic atmosphere but do not require a passport. And it’s a great excuse for guests to book a vacation on the island.
  • Florida. Couples love the Caribbean feel of the Sunshine State, minus the long travel time. Kay expects Sarasota, Miami, and Key West to be popular. For couples interested in a cruise wedding, Florida is a great place to start as there are many ships that sail there.

For international destination weddings, the beaches will be large. “The Caribbean will always be at the top of the list,” says Kay. She ticks off the top contenders: the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and, for those who want something a little more distant, Costa Rica. Mexico continues to be popular, especially the Riviera Maya with its access to nightlife, beaches, resorts, and cultural attractions like ruins.

LGBTQ couples will look for gay-friendly destinations, like Curacao. The Dutch Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela is known for its live-and-let-live attitude and appreciated for its colonial architecture dotted with pastels, dives and tropical drinks (often colored blue, thanks to its namesake liquor. ).

The “local” will be crucial. When it comes to wedding themes, it’s less about choosing, for example, wedding colors like pink and gold, and more about finding the right vibe by playing on local elements, such as the food. and the culture of the destination. In Charleston, that can mean a menu with shrimp and grits; in Jamaica, that might mean hiring a reggae band.

Couples will be in the spring for part of the cost. Destination weddings, like most weddings, can be costly for all parties involved. According to The Knot’s 2016 Romantic Travel Study – the most recent available – the average cost of a domestic destination wedding is $ 28,372, while an international national wedding costs around $ 27,227. (It’s actually cheaper than a traditional wedding in the United States, which costs an average of $ 33,931.)

Kay says nearly half of couples planning destination weddings cover some of the costs of the guests, whether it’s transportation from the airport to the hotel, a welcome cocktail, a brunch. farewell, group excursion or other options. Some couples, she says, will even ask for money as part of their marriage registry to help pay for travel expenses for friends and family.

“If you ask them to take the time and travel, you want to help them provide things for them, so that when they get there they don’t have to pay anything else,” says Kay.

The bottom line is that couples will want to pick a place where everyone has a weekend – or more – to remember.

“They want us to talk about their marriage for weeks, months, years to come, in a very favorable way,” says Kay.


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