Six experts give us the lowdown on destination weddings—where to have them, when to have them, and what you need to consider.
Bon Villahermosa of Events and Elements
Best Places: Since we have a lot of beautiful beaches here, a nice and practical destination for a wedding (due to its proximity to Manila) is Batangas. Stilts Calatagan and Punta Fuego are my go-to wedding venues. If couples want garden destination weddings, Tagaytay still has a lot of lovely places to offer. There’s Hillcreek, Antonio’s, and Ville Sommet to name a few.
Pros: There’s a feeling of intimacy in the air. Destination weddings are often small and tight-knit. Most guests who attend a destination wedding prepare ahead of time and make an effort to be there. If guests are checked-in, they're not in a rush to go home. They stay and party the night away.
Cons: Budget. You need to be ready for a lot of extra expenses. Most suppliers have out-of-town fees, with hotel accommodation and airfare. Moreover, logistics can get daunting especially if you’re not familiar with the place.
Chinkie Uy of Metro Eventscape Planners
Best Places: If you’re looking for a venue that is drivable for easier access, my go-to places are always Tagaytay, Batangas, and Baguio. For beaches, I would say Palawan, Boracay, and the Mactan area in Cebu. These are all beautiful places, but it will really depend on the couple’s personality and vision.
Best Season: Peak season here in the Philippines occurs in December and January, but I would choose January or February simply because it’s not too hot this time of the year, too. These months work best for any location in the Philippines.
Pros: It will definitely be an intimate wedding. It’ll be double the fun because guests who attend are the ones willing to take the time off. Aside from celebrating with you, your wedding is also a gift to them—you’ll be giving them a reason to have a quick vacation, and who doesn’t need that?
Cons: Destination weddings are not “senior citizen”-friendly because it’ll entail a lot of walking and traveling long hours. Keep your guests in mind while planning your destination wedding.
Jamie Castillo of Kisses and Smiles Events
Best Places: I’d say El Nido, Palawan for both adventure seekers and romantic couples; Crystal Beach Resort in Zambales for a beach vibe; and Paris for a super intimate wedding.
Best Season: Cool Christmas winds and early sunsets are great so the “ber” months are always the best—all the way up to February.
Pros: Guests are guaranteed to be really close to the couple. After all, they’d have to be willing to book tickets and accommodation just to witness and be part of the wedding.
Cons: It might come out more expensive. It’s harder to find suppliers. It could also be challenging to plan for the needs of elderly guests. Flight cancellations can make it difficult.
Name: Rita Neri of Rita Neri Event Planners
Best Places: In no specific order, my top destination wedding places are Amanpulo in Pamalican Island in Palawan, Shangri-La Boracay, Kandaya Resort in Cebu, The Four Seasons in Ko O'lina in Hawaii, The Beaufort in Singapore, The Dhara Devi in Thailand, The Montage in California, Amurita in Bohol, and The Four Seasons in Hong Kong.
Best Season: The best time for any destination wedding is dependent on local weather; it varies for each place.
Pros: A destination wedding is a great time to bond with your loved ones because it combines the wedding celebration with a travel adventure. If you plan well, costs can be less than a big formal wedding.
Cons: Costs can add up. Safety and security for some places may be a major consideration, and local wedding suppliers may not be as professional or as good as expected.
Name: Berlyn Yap of Berlyn Yap Events Management
Best Places: The best place for a destination wedding is wherever the couple would find to be most suited to their personalities. The best destination here in the Philippines for me is at a beach. Cebu is ideal because of a mix of an urban and beach setting, while for nearer Manila, Subic is great, too.
Pros: Guests are less likely to leave early during the reception.
Cons: Fewer guests can come and it could get more expensive because it would require frequent trips to the wedding destination.
Tuesday Vargas of Weddings by TV
Best Places: Boracay may have a reputation as a popular tourist destination and a certain notoriety as a party island. But if you do your research, there are pockets of quiet and calm that are perfect for solemn ceremonies like a wedding.
For couples who love the cold weather and the proximity of nature to their union, Baguio is another location I would recommend. The culture is very rich and diverse and since this is also a destination wedding capital, all arrangements for your guests can be easily managed.
Best Season: Select lean months with fewer chances of encountering a long weekend or a holiday so you can have more peace and quiet. Not to mention, the lean season has lower rates compared to the rest of the year. This is from June to September.
Pros: Destination weddings combine a vacation and an affair in one. Your guests will be staying with you for the entire event because they will also get a chance to relax. It allows you to get to know your selected guests as you will be spending more time with them.
Cons: If it is not planned well, weddings in remote locations can be a bit costly and pose as a logistical nightmare. Make sure that you create an efficient timeline in planning, book all the flights and accommodations in advance to get the best deals, prepare all your supplier arrangements, and always keep a certain amount of your wedding budget dedicated to unforeseen expenses.
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