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 Planning Your Perfect Destination Wedding
 02-09-11

Planning Your Perfect Destination Wedding

 

By WeddingSolutions.com

 

 

In 2006, 2.3 million Americans got married, according to the "American Wedding Study" conducted by Conde Nast Bridal Media, and about 16 percent of all couples have a destination wedding. The market for destination weddings has risen 400% in the last 10 years.

 

Why plan a Destination Wedding?
There are many reasons to choose a destination wedding. Many couples look to a destination wedding as a way to have a unique and memorable wedding experience. Often, when looking at a guest list, many people will have to travel from far away states or countries. A destination wedding allows them to travel somewhere exotic and fabulous, where they can also enjoy a relaxing vacation; as opposed to asking guests to book a flight and hotel in a less exciting hometown. Some couples are in love with the destination, and want to spend the most special day of their lives in their idea of paradise. More couples decide upon a destination wedding as they are from different areas of the country, and do not want to decide against one hometown for another, so they opt to go to a location that will, from now on, be somewhere special to each of them.

 

How far in advance should you plan a destination wedding?
This really varies with the destination. One major factor is how many guests are going to be invited. For a traditional wedding a month or two is acceptable notice for "Save the Date" cards. Destination Weddings however involve travel arrangements, and therefore should be sent out at least 4-6 months in advance. This is to allow the guests to properly budget and plan for the trip, and to make sure that they are able to obtain reservations.

 

What to look for in a hotel

For instance, if the resort is largely self-contained and there is very little reason for your guests to rent a car, a hotel shuttle from the airport might be necessary. If there are a number of kids attending, you might require a pool. Other considerations include exercise facilities, restaurants, concierge, a banquet hall, etc.

Other incentives include guest extras like a room upgrade or an amenity such as a bottle of champagne. The bride and groom themselves might be eligible for a free or discounted room!

Here are important things to ask yourself and your travel specialist before choosing a destination wedding hotel(s):

What to ask for when you book a hotel
Will all of my guests be able to fit into this hotel?
How close is the hotel to the ceremony? To the reception? To other hotels?
Can the hotel 'hold' rooms for my guests until they book, and if so, for how long?
If we are required to block off rooms, what happens if not all of them are used?
Will guests receive anything 'extra' like a room upgrade, or an amenity, by being part of the group?
Is there a group discount?
Will we receive a discount, free room or room upgrade for hosting our wedding or arranging a group stay at this hotel?
What services are available for our guests?

 

Research to do

Before you get your heart set on any specific destination wedding plan, its super-important to do your research and determine whether what you have in mind is feasible. Not only do you need to investigate costs, but you will also need to carefully determine what the requirements and regulations are in regard to saying your "I dos" in the destination of your choice. Some countries only allow citizens to marry on their soil, others may have a residency requirement whereby you have to live in the country for 30 days, 6 months, or a year before you are eligible to marry there.

 

You'll also be required to provide various forms of documentation in order to marry in another country, and you need to know what specific documentation is required for the country in question. In some cases, the law of the land requires that you also have the documents translated at your own expense, in advance, into the official language of the country in question. These are merely examples of the types of red tape and hoops you may be required to jump through, so careful investigation is paramount.

 

Another important part of doing your research has to do with determining whether there are any travel advisories or weather concerns for the area you'd like to be wed in. Use the same precautions you would when planning any other vacation. Check weather conditions for the time of year (avoid planning your wedding in the middle of hurricane season, for example), check with US Department of State to ensure that there are no travel advisories for the area.

 

Most popular destinations?

Caribbean (Aruba, Nevis, Antigua, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands)  

Mexico (Cabo San Lucas, Cancun, Cozumel, Ixtapa)

Hawaii

 

Others?

Bahamas

Jamaica

Fiji

Tuscany, Italy

Scotland (castles are popular)

Ireland

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