Everyone asks "What's the most important thing to consider for your wedding?" Of course, the most important thing is whom you are going to marry (obviously -- and don't forget it), but after that there are 1,000s of other decisions to make. I think that next to whom you are going to marry, the location is really the biggest factor. It can determine so many other things like style, geography, costs, the feeling of the wedding, how much or little you have to do (for example a hotel already has bathrooms for all the guests unlike a private home -- in case you have not seen all the estimates for Chelsea Clinton's wedding, the estimate for the portable bathrooms is around $15,000).
I've been thinking about location a lot as there has been so much talk about Chelsea's wedding tomorrow night. I am in no way judging what Chelsea is spending (or Bill and Hillary), but in addition to the wedding being big (and all costs are incremental and Chelsea is the daughter of the Secretary of State and a former President of the U.S.) it's just something to think about when you have a wedding at a private home or somewhere that is not set up already for events. Forget the cost of the dress, flowers, and cake -- you'll have those anywhere -- but the tent, generators for power, kitchens that need to be set up by the caterer, bathrooms (as I mentioned), parking, rentals, flooring, etc., etc. It's just so important you consider all the costs in your budget before you commit to a location that is not set up for events. Not to say that weddings at home are not super special, very personal, and like no one else's -- but it's just something to consider. Are you the bride who wants to plan/pay for all those details -- to create a unique space of your own -- or would you rather be somewhere that “has done this before?"
It's funny because usually destination weddings can be the opposite (fly away with your best friends to Bermuda, pick a beautiful resort, and don’t worry about all the details (there aren't three tastings or you're not going to interview five florists, but it will be an amazing couple of days). As I've worked on our Sandals Weddings by Martha Stewart program I am always thinking to myself how lucky couples are that everything is already organized (of course they still have options of style/cakes/menus etc., but they are not investigating porta potty rentals). Either way both kinds of weddings can be great -- it's just a matter of what kind of planning you want, what kind of wedding you want, and what kind of budget you have? Where do you fit in here?