Today, more and more brides and grooms are choosing to abandon the traditional large wedding in favor of nuptials in more exotic locations. For some, budget limitations make destination weddings the most attractive choice. Usually, only close friends and family attend these celebrations, sparing couples expensive receptions. Destination weddings have become increasingly popular for couples of all types, whether it is a first-time wedding, renewing your vows or getting married past the first time.
When it comes to planning a destination wedding, timing really is everything. Make sure that your celebration doesn’t get bumped to the second-choice resort by booking well ahead of time. Most resorts or hotels allow the happy couple to reserve blocks of rooms at a discounted rate for guests, so be sure to request plenty, and be mindful of how fast they’re filling up.
Traveling abroad does require a significant amount of advance planning for the couple, as well as their families and guests. Passports need to be secured in some cases, vacation time from work and airfare are just a few of the considerations that have to be handled in advance of the event. Save-the-date cards with airport, hotel and other pertinent information should be made available far enough ahead of the blessed event, and certainly well before the actual invitations are mailed, to prevent invitees from missing the event entirely.
If your family and friends will be vacationing at the resort for the week after your wedding, you can take extra care to preserve your privacy. Seek accommodations at a different hotel, or ask for a room on a separate floor, or the honeymoon suite.
The glory of most destination weddings is that they’re usually set in romantic getaways, perfect for honeymooning couples that want to stay put post-ceremony or even engage in a little island-hopping. Destination wedding experts estimate that the honeymoon averages roughly 14 percent of a typical wedding budget. Couples who elect to combine the celebration and the getaway can enjoy a significant savings by choosing a destination wedding.
More and more couples who want to share the ceremony and after-party with their guests are choosing cruise lines for affordable and fun events. Especially wonderful for second marriages or vow renewal celebrations, cruise weddings have skyrocketed a whopping 60 percent over the last 10 years. This increased interest in cruise bookings is largely thanks to couples looking for a more economical and family-friendly alternative to traditional weddings.
Every country has its requirements for legal marriage, including witnesses, marriage license applications, blood tests, proof of immunization and residency requirements. Before embarking on your voyage, be 100 percent sure that both of you possess all of the necessary documentation, lest your marriage vows turn into simple declarations of love. Do your homework.
Luckily, most destination wedding locales want your business, so they’re often more than willing to guide a frazzled bride-to-be through the finer details. Be sure to research local marriage requirements thoroughly before settling on a location. Above all else, don’t forget to apply for or renew your passport well in advance of your wedding.
Modern etiquette absolves the bride and groom from paying for the trip, but there are a few conveniences that the happy couple can certainly handle in advance. First, be sure to provide detailed instructions on transportation from the airport to the wedding site since many resorts are a significant distance away. Also, provide several options for accommodations of varying price levels so that people on different budgets have options to consider. If your budget allows, consider hosting an extra event, such as a welcome party with dinner on the beach or group excursion to see the local sights as a thank you to the guests who went out of their way to attend.
Many couples having destination weddings fore go creating gift registries to show guests that their presence is a gift in itself.
A qualified, reputable destination wedding planner can take care of many of the small but significant details we’ve already mentioned. They simply have the resources and experience to get the job done faster, easier and with more assurance than the average bride. In addition to helping a couple pinpoint those pesky marriage requirements, a professional planner often knows the local legalities for ceremony and reception planning, such as the process for obtaining event permits. They also tend to have existing contacts with well-respected vendors and can give a bride an idea of what to expect as the big day draws near. Many popular resorts and destinations employ staff consultants and fold the cost of their services into the package wedding deal. These staffers easily relieve a lot of headaches with their know-how, allowing the bride and groom the opportunity to truly enjoy the most important day of their lives.