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How can I plan a successful Destination Wedding?
Simply Weddings Las Vegas │ Las Vegas Wedding Planner

Destination weddings are sometimes also referred to as “Honeymoon Weddings” because they mix a wedding and honeymoon all in one. “Familymoon” is another term we are starting to hear used interchangeably with the destination wedding because it is, in essence, a honeymoon that the whole family (and often close friends) goes along on.

Why are Destination Weddings such a HOT Trend?

It’s hot because it appeals both to those who want to run away and get married somewhere exotic, as well as to couples who want to share a really memorable wedding experience with the people closest to them. Couples are capturing this idea because, instead of having just one day to celebrate their nuptials with their favorite people, they have several days of quality time together. Compare this with the traditional wedding, where often times the day speeds by in a whirlwind and the couple has only fleeting moments to spend with individual guests and you start to see the appeal of the destination wedding.

Another reason for the destination wedding trend is that re-marriages now account for 50% of marriages in the US and Canada. While a conventional or traditional wedding is perfectly acceptable for a remarriage today if that’s what the couple wants, some couples just aren’t comfortable with a lot of hoopla when it’s not their first trip to the altar. Some prefer something a little more low key or quiet, with just the people closest to them in attendance. The destination wedding is perfect for this.

The internet is also a huge catalyst where destination weddings are concerned. The internet makes the world a much smaller place. Through online research you can explore geographic locations, tour resorts and hotels, read menus, look at cakes, and view examples of a photographer’s work. Planning a wedding from afar is no longer the scary and risky proposition it once was. You can make contact with resorts and vendors, including wedding coordinators, in the destination of choice via email, and have information, price lists, and contracts sent back to you in a matter of moments. It’s also much more affordable to enter into dialogue with service providers via email than it would be if you were racking up long distance bills along the way.

Research Required

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 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.

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 in question due to political upheaval, civil war, or terrorism.

Who Pays for Guests Accommodations and Travel?

This is the big question that everyone is asking. There is no rule of etiquette that requires the couple to pay for guests travel and accommodation expenses, however, it is certainly hospitable of you, and a real treat for your guests, if you can cover some of all of their costs. Some couples do this, others do not. If possible, you might consider covering a portion of your guests expenses, say, just their airfare or just their accommodations.

Obviously, if you are picking up some or all of the tab, you’ll increase the likelihood that guests will be able and willing to attend.

Paying for Bridesmaid and Groomsmen Expenses

The couple is, however, responsible for covering the accommodation expenses of their bridal attendants, in other words, the bridesmaids, groomsmen, and honor attendants. This rule of etiquette applies for all weddings, not just destination events, any time an attendant will have to travel to participate as a member of the wedding party. If your budget is tight, keep this in mind before selecting your attendants and perhaps limit yourself to just one honor attendant on each side.
Easy on the Expenses

Whether you have decided to foot the bill, or at least part of it, for your guests, or whether they’ll have to pay their own way, try to reduce the costs as much as possible by looking into group rates on airfare and hotel rooms. American Airlines has a program whereby they will provide a group discount if 10 or more people are flying to attend the same event. It doesn’t matter if the cities of origin are not the same, as long as everyone is headed for the same destination. Other airlines may be willing to discount tickets when a group is traveling as well, so try to negotiate the best rates possible for you and your guests. (It’s possible to do this yourself, but a good travel agent or wedding planner will be skilled at getting the best rates for you).

Similarly, hotels or resorts will often discount room rates when you are booking multiple rooms at a time. Have the resort reserve a block of rooms for your party. When guests call in to make their reservation, they simply mention that they are part of your party, and they will qualify for the group rate. Make sure you tell the hotel or resort to keep all the rooms on the same floor – that way guests can be cozy and can interact with one another.

If you have chosen a particularly posh hotel or resort, you might also want to source out alternate accommodations that are close by but a little easier on the wallet so guests can have budget alternatives. Make guests aware of all of their accommodation options so that they can select that which best fits their budget.
Get Professional Help

If this is all sounding complex, overwhelming, and time consuming, truth be told, it can be. Some couples think that running away to get married will simplify their wedding plans, but depending on the destination you are running to, and the type of event you are planning, it may just introduce a different set of complexities.

If you choose to use a wedding planner, you can either select one based in your own hometown, or find one who is located in your destination. In either case, once again, it’s best to look for someone who specializes in destination weddings. This is particularly true if the consultant is your own area and will be coordinating this event from afar.