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In the battle of destination versus local weddings, which one wins?

Ding ding ding... Introducing the Bride Battle, where we pit two wedding trends against each other to see which comes out on top.
Up first: destination versus local weddings. Oh yeah, that's right, we're putting chateaus in France and tropical islands in the South Pacific in the ring with Australia's homegrown vineyards and beaches. Which trumps the other? Well, that's exactly what we're here to find out. Of course, both have their own perks, whether it's giving you the chance to hole up in a Tuscan villa for a week or being a super-convenient local winery that means you can invite all your nearest and dearest (and their partners) to join in on your big day. But, sorry to burst any bubbles, there can be drawbacks too - like being guilted into inviting everyone you've ever known. With that in mind, we've created five rounds with each looking at a big-hitting issue that might come into play when you're deciding if you should book plane tickets or the church down the road. Which one do you think will win?

Round one: the planning process

Destination
We’re not going to pull any punches: planning a wedding in a country you don’t live in can be tough, and it can be even harder if you don't speak the language. That’s why doing your research is key. You’ll need to think about the legal stuff (visas, permits, licenses) and the logistics – how your guests will get there, where they’ll stay, what you’ll need to bring from home – as well as general planning bits and bobs like sourcing and briefing suppliers. Your best place to start is looking into the area you want to tie the knot in and locking down a local wedding coordinator (like our good friend J-Lo à la The Wedding Planner). A planner will be your one point of contact and should be able to suggest local vendors for the big day. Some venues include a planner in their wedding packages, but it’s worth asking for one if they don’t. If you’re not already, now's the time to get acquainted with Microsoft Excel too, because having contact details, budgets and any notes all in one spreadsheet is #protipnumberone for keeping on top of all your desti wedding details.  

Local
It’s simple: planning a local wedding is easier than its destination counterpart (but we’re pretty sure you already knew that). Why? Because you won’t need Google Translate and a plane ticket to make appointments with suppliers, check out venues or make last-minute dashes to the florist. You can actually visit your suppliers, and won’t have to book things based solely on fuzzy Skype sessions or images on your iPad. Tying the knot locally also means you won’t be between a cancelled DJ and a hard place if something, touch wood, goes wrong.

THIS ROUND GOES TO: Local.

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Round two: the support

Destination
Sorry all, but planning a far-flung wedding can mean flying solo in the support stakes. Sure, you can tell your mum and ‘maids about how your wedding planner doesn’t answer their emails or how you can’t find a local supplier to make the bouquet you spotted on Pinterest, but it’ll be you and your bae doing most of the leg work and decision-making. That’s where having a central point of contact – either at your venue or with a wedding planner – will come in handy, because even though it’s over a computer or long-distance phone calls, they’ll be your go-to for support. 

Local
Get ready to brush up on your delegation game, because it’ll be super-handy when you’re pulling together a local wedding. Whether it's your bridal party or your family, handing over some of your responsibilities to others is a quick and easy trick that will take the weight of planning an entire wedding off your shoulders. It also means you won’t be alone, because you’ll have a network of people to fall back on if you start to feel overwhelmed or stressed. The idea of addressing envelopes or hunting down the perfect shade of blue fabric for your bunting may not thrill everyone as much as you, though, so before you go wild with delegating, suss out how much your nearest and dearest are willing or able to help out. 

THIS ROUND GOES TO: Local.

Round three: the guest list

Destination
Feeling the pressure to invite your mum’s best friend’s daughter’s boyfriend, who you’ve only met once and aren’t even sure you really like? We feel you, and having a destination wedding could be your opportunity to give your guest list a serious pruning. Whether it’s because you’re putting everyone up in a chateau/resort/villa, chipping in with the flights or have limited space, a destination wedding is your excuse chance to assess who you really want at your big day. Those lucky enough to bag an invite are usually those you’re closest to and who play a big part in your lives (read: if you want to leave neighbours and work friends off the list, you totally can). Call it crazy, but people are also generally more understanding if they don’t receive an invite to a destination wedding – knowing you won't have to shell out for travel and accommodation can do that – which means you may avoid ending up in people’s bad books. Win-win!

Local
Much like a destination wedding, how many people you choose to invite to your local nuptials will depend on your venue capacity, budget and who is paying for what, but sending at least one obligatory invite could be pretty hard to avoid. Creating a guest list that doesn’t offend anyone is up there with painting your nails in a moving vehicle in the 'art form' stakes. Chances are you’ll have to contend with family politics, friends asking for plus-ones and colleagues dropping not-so-subtle hints about how much they’d like to attend. Before you know it, you could be extending invitations left, right and centre. To make sure this doesn’t happen (unless, of course, you’re all about the more, the merrier), let your social circles know your wedding isn’t a free-for-all and you’ll be sticking to your guns when it comes to your guest list. 

THIS ROUND GOES TO: Destination.

Round four: the budget

Destination
Myth-busting time: it’s a total lie whenever people say you need to drop a bucketload of money to have a destination wedding. And yes, while it’s true you will need to cover flights, accommodation and other service fees, it’s not impossible to tie the knot overseas on a reasonable budget, especially if you look for the best deals #bagabargain. That’s not to say you can’t pull a Kimye and throw a destination wedding with the whole shebang – a rehearsal dinner in a different country, the ceremony and reception at a castle, couture gowns for everyone and a media wall of paparazzi – but it is possible to have a wedding at the other end of the budget spectrum too, by having an intimate guest list, making the most of off-season specials and keeping any fancy extras to a minimum. 

Local
The same principle applies with having a domestic wedding – the final spend is in your hands. Yes, getting hitched locally can work out cheaper, but only if you have it on the same scale as you would a destination wedding. A local wedding where you’ve researched the best prices, made kit yourself, and have had friends and family chip in is always going to be less expensive than if you go for a luxe destination alternative. Likewise, if you opt to have a lavish wedding in your hometown, but would've had something more low-key overseas, it’s entirely possible you’d end up needing a bigger budget here. 

THIS ROUND GOES TO: We can't call it – it's a tie.

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Round five: the quality time

Destination
If they’ve RSVPed ‘yes’ for your big day, chances are your guests are planning to combine your wedding with a sneaky holiday. Those extra days of leave mean more time to spend with you before and after you swap ‘I do’s. And that opens a whole new world of pre- and post-wedding possibilities, especially if your venue boasts on-site accommodation or your guests are staying in digs nearby. We’re talking an arrival breakfast or swanky rehearsal dinner; a recovery barbecue the morning after or a party that kicks on over the whole weekend. Feeling super social? Consider planning excursions and activities for your guests, or including a mock itinerary in their invitation packs. 

Local
Here’s the thing, couples often say their big day went by in a flash because it really does. That doesn’t mean it’ll necessarily happen to you, but if it does you can expect a flurry of posing for happy snaps, cutting shapes and trying to say hello to every guest. Of course, you can squeeze in extra time with your friends and family by having a rehearsal dinner or wedding breakfast, but your guests will have to work these in around their everyday schedules. It's also not in everyone's budget to stick around for a few extra days, so some may have to leave after the reception.

THIS ROUND GOES TO: Destination.

The verdict...

Oh, this is a bit unexpected. It looks like it's even stevens... we hope you didn't have any money on this battle!
 
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