International Nuptials

I graduate this year, and that’s a big deal. And I have some big after-graduation plans: I’m getting married! My boyfriend and I got engaged over the summer, and we’re hoping to get married as soon as is practical after graduation.

You might think that we’re old-fashioned for getting married relatively young, but we’re certainly not — in fact, we’re thinking about doing something kind of unorthodox for the wedding. In particular, we’re thinking about having a destination wedding. Not at the beach, though: We want to go to Iceland!

There’s one problem: My parents don’t care for the idea. They’re still being supportive, and they say they’ll be at the wedding no matter where it is, but they’re saying that getting married in Iceland is impractical. I know that’s true, obviously, but weddings are inherently impractical anyway, and this is what we think we want. Experts, what advice can you give us?

Getting married is a big deal! It’s true that you’re a bit younger than the average engaged couple in the country, but it sounds like you’re very happy, and that’s great. Your wedding day should be as beautiful as your love (or at least as close to that as you can get!), so it makes sense that you and your fiance — not to mention your mother — are thinking carefully about what that would look like.

Getting married soon after graduation might be a bit of a tall order, because planning a wedding takes quite a bit of work and can be very stressful. The weeks and months after graduation will no doubt be busy ones for you two, as you’ll be getting on your feet and securing your first jobs, your first homes, and so on. As for planning a wedding in Iceland, that will only be more complex — but you can find ways to make it work if that’s truly what you want.

Your mother’s concerns may not end up being ones that you share, but they are nonetheless valid, and you should consider them. You can still choose a destination wedding, but make sure you’re going into it with full knowledge of the drawbacks. Every type of wedding has its downsides, after all.

With a destination wedding, you may find that fewer of your guests can attend than you might hope. Traveling for a wedding is time-consuming and expensive under the best of circumstances, and international travel may keep some people from attending. And while we’re sure it’s the furthest thing from your mind, you should also remember that the wedding gifts you may receive are likely to be a bit less valuable if they come from people who spent a good deal of money just to be there with you on your big day. Throw in the fact that many of your friends may also be right out of college, and you may see a big day that feels a little smaller.

On the other hand, an intimate wedding can be a beautiful thing. And if you and your friends will bear no ill will over who can and cannot attend, then a destination wedding can be a wonderful choice.

Although planning a wedding in Iceland might be tough, but you could make things easier by working with travel and wedding planning companies that specialize in destination wedding planning. Outsourcing as much as you can will make things much easier on you, your partner, and your parents.
You should take some time to consider what you really want, and you should think about other options, too, such as a long engagement that gives you time to plan the wedding (and your recently graduated friends a bit of time to save up for airfare!). Ultimately, though, you should remember that it’s your wedding. As long as you go into things clear-eyed and with an understanding of the challenges, there’s absolutely no reason that you shouldn’t choose the wedding that you want.

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