Fed up with wedding planning? Is elopement starting to look like the only reasonable option? Laurie Keith is the President of Romantic Planet Vacations and she has another idea to help save your sanity: A destination wedding.

SDTC: What are the more popular reasons for choosing a destination wedding?

LK: It’s a lot less expensive than having a local wedding. Here you must pay extra for the reception dinner and bar as well as a wedding planner, but in most all-inclusive destination weddings these are included. The average local wedding cost in Canada is about $30,000. The average destination wedding cost is about $6,500.

It’s also a celebration over one week instead of just one day.

The other popular reason is that it’s really stress-free. Everything is taken care of before you arrive. Most resorts already have set packages that you can choose from (although all are customizable) so the destination wedding planning process is extremely easy in comparison to planning a local wedding.

For Canadians, how popular are destination weddings vis-à-vis domestic weddings?

When I started Romantic Planet Vacations in 2004, only 7% of all Canadian brides were planning a destination wedding. Today it is estimated to be 25%. It’s very popular these days and understandably so.

What are some off-the-beaten-path destinations that are becoming more in vogue?

Italy is becoming a hot destination for weddings these days. We can arrange packages in Venice, Rome, Tuscany and others. Imagine getting married in a romantic villa overlooking the Tuscan sun surrounded by your friends and family? We also have destination wedding packages in over-water chapels in Bora Bora!

Can you give us some tips for couples when it comes to choosing a honeymoon destination/hotel?

The first and foremost tip is to work with a CERTIFIED honeymoon specialist as the very first step. Reviewing all of the worldwide options can be overwhelming but if you can sit down or have a chat via skype or phone with a specialist, they can listen and learn what your needs are and assist in find that perfect destination and perfect hotel that’s best suited for your needs.

Are there any affordable options for destination weddings/honeymoons?

Yes, there are destination wedding packages that suit all budgets. Some resorts offer complimentary wedding packages like the RIU resorts and the Melia properties in Cuba. You just bring the group and your wedding is free! As for the travel side, most all-inclusive packages for 7 nights from Canada average about $1850 including tax per person, airfare and hotel. For those seeking something under $1500 we usually recommend Cuba as it’s often less expensive than other destinations but offers the same great resort and beach holiday. For those looking for something under $1000 per person, we recommend a short stay in Bahamas or even Las Vegas where you can find a 5-star resort for a 3-star price.

What’s happening at the Romance Travel Show that we should know about?

We are having a trade-show for the first hour and a half consisting of travel exhibitors from around the world that cater to honeymooners and those in the early stages of planning a destination wedding. Here the couple can chat with representatives from tourism boards, resorts, and tour operators and pick up their literature and learn about the current promotions. Thereafter, Romantic Planet Vacations will be having an invaluable presentation on how to plan the perfect destination wedding or honeymoon including a step-by-step guide of selecting the perfect resort and destination, how to correspond with your on-site wedding coordinator, and how to budget for that special day. There will be fun and food for all ending with some great door prizes, including a chance to win a luxurious trip for two to the Mayan Riviera!

The Romance Travel Show is Canada’s Only National Destination Wedding & Honeymoon Expo. It’s coming to Toronto on Thursday, February 25, 2016 at the Park Inn by Radisson Airport West & Grand Victorian Convention Centre.