An intimate celebration
So many people dream of getting married on a tropical island paradise or a romantic vineyard in southern Europe. And, for an increasing number of couples, they are making this dream become reality. Wedding specialists Joby Yit and Coco Wong share some helpful tips on how to plan a destination wedding.
'There is a trend to have a destination wedding, especially for couples who want to have a relaxed, stylish, fun, yet romantic wedding. It seems the number of couples [going abroad to get married] keeps increasing,' says Yit, manager at Wedding Abroad (http://weddingabroad.com.hk). She adds some couples still opt for a traditional Chinese wedding in Hong Kong after their overseas wedding, then the newlyweds can show a video of their wedding in the sun to guests at the banquet.
Couples only need about four to nine months to organise a destination wedding - unlike a wedding in Hong Kong, which usually requires bookings at least one year in advance, Yit says.
One of the best parts of getting hitched abroad, she notes, is the element of surprise. 'For some couples, they say it was touching to get married in a chapel which they have never seen in person,' Yit says. On the downside, compiling and completing all the documentation can be extremely complicated, she adds.
Wong, founder of Coco Weddings (www.cocoweddings.com) agrees more people are holding destination weddings.
'It's much easier to plan now, and in the last five years there have been a lot more companies that provide this service,' she says.
With more information available on the internet, Wong says couples can easily access possible wedding destinations, airfares and travel packages. Wong says couples have less stress since there are fewer details to worry about, from decorations to the entertainment of the night. Decorations and entertainment are not as important in destination weddings as they are at events in Hong Kong, as guests have most likely never visited the venue before, she says.
According to Wong, the biggest stress comes from lack of control. 'You never know what is going to happen in a foreign country. Depending on the country, some people don't answer your questions straight away, or they don't get back to you at all,' Wong says.
With destination weddings, Wong says a huge advantage is the intimacy of the celebration.
Only close friends and family would spend the money and travel to attend a destination wedding, and the whole event is more memorable since it tends to be a weekend party with guests celebrating over a few days.
For those who want to save money, Wong points out the hidden costs of a destination wedding.
Transporting and accommodating your own hair stylist, make-up artist and photographer can make a destination wedding a lot more expensive than an event for a similar number of guests in Hong Kong, she says.
Wong says timing everything is the most challenging aspect of managing an event overseas.
'It's hard to time the whole logistics, and how quickly [people in the country will] respond. And sometimes a bride will have a set idea about something, say pink peonies, but the destination will not have those exact flowers. This is when a destination wedding can be difficult.'