Apr 19, 2008

Destination Wedding Planning

Destination Weddings bring your closest companions together for a romantic, exotic, and memorable experience as you say your vows away from home. Destination Weddings take a different kind of planning than other Weddings, but they can be well worth it. Some things to consider while planning:

Hire a Wedding Coordinator. A Wedding Coordinator can oversee the details you can't manage from home. Do some research, and either find a Coordinator at your destination, or one from nearby who has experience planning destination Weddings. Make sure you ask for references, and ask what kind of contacts they have in your destination area. Make sure you trust them, and that they keep you constantly updated so that you can make sure the Wedding is going to turn out they way you want it to.

Email and Fax are your friends. Especially if you're using a Wedding Coordinator at your destination, you want to be able to communicate explicitly. Ask for digital pictures of the site of your Wedding, what the site looks like at the time of day you are planning your Wedding, what it looks like with tables and chairs, or pictures of a ceremony taking place in the style you plan to use (i.e. everyone standing on the beach.) Get pictures of cakes made by local bakers. Send your plans to your coordinator. If they will be decorating, give them samples of your invitations, pictures of your dress, anything that will help them maintain the theme of your Wedding. Check the work of local photographers if you are planning to use one.

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Find out what the legal requirements for Marriage are. Check with local authorities to find out what the legal requirements for Marriage are. Check also with your local authorities. Make sure you know what documents to bring with you. Also find out if a Marriage performed at your destination will be legally binding at home.

Plan your Guest List. For practical reasons, the guest list for a Destination Wedding is usually smaller than a traditional Wedding. This intimate feel is part of the allure of a Destination Wedding. When planning, consider what is going on in the lives of your guests. If you have siblings in college, they may not be able to afford the time or money for an extended trip to an exotic locale. Similarly, friends with children may not be able to escape for your Wedding. Keep these things in mind in your planning. But do invite those you really want with you. Even if they can't attend, they'll appreciate how special the invitation is.

Hotel options. With local Weddings it is customary to arrange some hotel rooms at a discounted rate for out of town guests. This is definitely applicable to Destination Weddings as well. You are not responsible for reserving or paying for the hotel rooms, but arranging for them to be available to your guests is a good idea. An exception to this is your bridal party, whose lodging you should cover.

Get a group airfare rate. Try to get a discounted group rate for airfare. This is another thing that guests will have to pay for themselves (unless you are able to and willing to cover the expense).

Send out the details. For a couple planning a Destination Wedding especially, a Wedding Website is a great idea. You are also going to want to send your guests hard copies of the details of the Wedding. You could have a separate sheet of information- informing them about hotel and airlines that you suggest- printed and included with the invitations. Either here or by word of mouth, let guests know what the formality of the affair will be.

Have a party to celebrate your Marriage at home. Host a party when you get home so that everyone can join you in celebrating, even if they couldn't come to your Wedding. This is a great way to include all your loved ones. This can be much more informal than a Wedding Reception.

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