Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Destination Wedding: Dos and Don’ts

With the cost of traditional weddings reaching the $25,000 mark, more couples are opting to head out of town and tie the knot in the romantic destination they’ve always dreamed of visiting. And I don’t blame them. There are a ton of reasons to move your wedding outside of your city limits and get married among the exotic backdrop of lush rain forests and azure waters.

Just be sure you know what you are getting yourself into, read the web for enlightening tips and destination wedding details.

To get you started, here are seven destination wedding dos and don’ts.


- Do ... try to get all of your most special people on board.
Even though I adamantly proclaim that major wedding decisions should be made by the bride and groom, it is important that the couple’s most cherished family members and friends are considered when planning a destination wedding. If a bride would love to get married in Maui, but doesn’t think her 85-year-old grandmother can make the trip, then she has to choose her priority. Likewise, if the groom can’t imagine getting married without his younger brother-who just lost his job and is feeling the financial crunch-then he should be cautious of asking his brother to travel to Europe for his nuptials. Remember, it *is* your wedding day, but you will likely be happier in the end if you have your closest family and friends near you.

- Do ... think of your guests
Be sure to book hotel blocks-with discounts!-for your guests and plan some events for them during the weekend. There will be more information on planning these add-on events in the coming weeks, so stay tuned here for more information and creative ideas.

- Do ... know the legalities before you go too far
Ever dreamed of getting married in front of the Eiffel Tower? Well … good luck with that. It is almost impossible for non-French folks to tie the knot in France. England requires a seven-day residency before getting a marriage certificate and Mexico requires local chest x-rays and blood work. Be sure you know the legal nitty-gritty before you get too deep into your planning and run the risk of a last-minute wedding mishap.

- Do ... consider hiring a wedding planner
Although my wedding planning pals would attack me for this, I normally recommend cutting your budget by not hiring a wedding planner. However, destination weddings are a whole new game. A good wedding planner can be worth her weight in wedding cake so consider hiring a planner to help with at least some of your wedding planning duties.


- Don't ... expect everyone to attend your wedding
Even the most affordable destinations can be a financial inconvenience on your guests. Realize that everyone can’t afford airfare, hotel or extra meals out and be a gracious, understanding bride when someone declines.

- Don't ... wait until the last minute to tell your guests
Save –the-dates are becoming increasingly popular in the United States for traditional weddings, but should always-always!-be sent for a destination wedding. If you can’t afford to mail expensive save-the-date cards, then send an e-card save-the-date. The idea is to make sure all of your guests know they are invited to your out-of-town shindig in plenty of time to make arrangements.

- Don't ... forget to dress for the occasion
If you are getting married on the soft white sands of the Mediterranean, rethink those 3-inch heels. Be sure to ask your wedding planner or resort coordinator if there are any other limitations you need to know of as you select your dress, shoes and other attire for your groom and wedding party.

Did you have a destination wedding? Do you have any other dos and don’ts to share?

Photos courtesy of mark sebastian and gewel maker


Melissa said...

I enjoyed your Destination Do's and Don'ts! I'm planning a wedding for next April in Negril, Jamaica and luckily we've managed to take all of your Do's into account so far!

I'm blogging about the Destination Wedding experience here:

Sara said...

I've got a tip: I'm a wedding photographer from Oregon and I love to shoot destination weddings, so I keep my travel costs as low as possible. I'm also from Oregon, which means that my base prices are lower than, say, a photographer from New York or Southern California.
I recommend bringing a photographer with you so you're not dealing with language barriers, etc. with your photographer, but pick someone who loves to do destination weddings and who is from a less expensive part of the country.

Sara Gray