Planning a Destination Wedding

Martha Stewart Weddings, Volume 10 1999

The destination wedding is a recent trend in which the bride and groom, along with close family and friends, travel to a wonderful location to exchange their vows, often staying on for their honeymoon. But whether your dream destination is a Caribbean resort, a European village, or a country inn, the event will require a bit of planning. Here are some basics to consider.

Marriage Regulations
Marriage regulations vary from state to state and country to country. Be sure to check the requirements of the location where you are getting married as far in advance as possible.

Travel Plans
Your guests, who will be traveling for the event, may want to make a vacation out of the trip. Try to pick a place that will be enjoyable for most and is not too difficult to get to. Guests are usually responsible for their own travel and accommodation expenses (though some hosts choose to treat their guests, which is a lovely and generous gesture). Keep in mind that if the trip is expensive, some people may not be able to join you.

It's helpful to send your guests save-the-date cards and information packets as early as six months in advance. Some airlines and hotels can provide group discounts if bookings are made early enough. As the departure date approaches, send your guests an itinerary so that they know the date, time, and location of each scheduled event.

Local Experts
You may want to enlist some local professionals to help in the planning. Resorts and hotels often have their own wedding planners or resort managers who will handle many of the details. Or you can hire a wedding consultant based in the area (or one who makes frequent trips there), who can recommend local photographers, florists, and caterers. It's also helpful to work with a travel agent, who can arrange travel plans and accommodations for you and your guests, as well as provide brochures and other information about your destination.

Organizing the Details
Plan on visiting the locale at least once before you get married. You'll have a lot to do, so organize your trip well ahead of time, and plan to meet with as many people as possible, such as the officiant, the photographer, and the caterer. Inspect the accommodations and the rehearsal-dinner and ceremony sites. Find out what types of transportation will be required. And look into the activities the locale has to offer your guests, such as boating and hiking.



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