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How far in advance should couples start planning a destination wedding?
Event planner Kym Bichon, of The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida, is known for her thoughtfully executed weddings that reflect couples' distinct personalities. Here, she offers up her best advice for planning a destination wedding.
In a perfect scenario, a year. But with the right help in place, it's entirely possible to pull off an event in three months.
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And how many times should they visit their location beforehand?
At least once. It's so important to walk the grounds and meet with your planner and vendors to discuss the decor, entertainment, and catering. If you can, do a run-through with your hair-and-makeup people, too.
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What visual references should a bride give to her planner?
Anything and everything that illustrates your style. Pull a sampling of food, gown, flower, and favor ideas that you love from magazines, books, and websites. Paint colors and Pantone chips are also helpful. That way, your idea of turquoise isn't open to interpretation.
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Planning from afar is an undertaking. Any simple ways to add personal touches?
Customize the hotel-provided newspaper with a fake front-page wedding announcement. Print them before you leave, then bring them with you and have them delivered to guests' rooms the morning after you get married. Another nice idea is to have family members contribute to the decor. At a recent wedding, the mother of the groom paid homage to both families' hometown roots by creating designs of Texas and Florida for the napkins.
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Any easy-to-ship decorations that really go the distance?
To make basic white china (which is all many locations offer) a lot more interesting, rent charger plates in your wedding colors. They're thin, stackable, and inexpensive, and they can really brighten your tables.
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What items do brides often forget to pack or not even consider bringing?
Stain remover for any last-minute spills (baby powder is my favorite for removing oily spots), blotting papers for hot weather, aloe vera for sunburns, and a gift for the groom. So many brides don't remember that last one! It's also a good idea to pack a second pair of shoes with lower heels for dancing, and a strapless terry-cloth romper to wear while you're getting your hair and makeup done -- it's a lot less bulky than a robe.
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What are the latest wedding trends?
Bright colors are really popular; I'm seeing a lot of fuchsia and purple. Monochromatic palettes are also big right now. Foodwise, lots of brides are asking for hors d'oeuvres that mix small bites with miniature drinks. Tuna tacos with margarita shots, lobster-and-corn fritters with little glasses of beer, and grilled-cheese wedges served with tiny mugs of tomato soup are some of my favorites.