Wedding Wisdom

Planning Your Destination Wedding

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Welcome to Wedding Wisdom! Every week, JET experts will help you plan your dream nuptials from engagement to “I do.”  This week, wedding planner and bride-to-be Tami Smallwood, CEO of blush|WEDDING & EVENT PLANNING FIRM, shares more tips for your destination wedding.

Photo courtesy of Cellar Door Photography.

Photo courtesy of Cellar Door Photography.

Last week, I shared some of my favorite destinations for a getaway ceremony. This week I’ll share tips for pulling off your wedding in paradise without a hitch.

Do Your Homework. Every island, country and city has unique marriage requirements. Check with your destination tourism bureau for the exact requirements. Some municipalities require that you are in town for a certain amount of time before obtaining the license. Here are a few questions you should ask: How much is the application fee? What does your group need for traveling? Will your marriage be recognized by your church or religious organization?

Schedule a Planning Trip. Always plan a visit before you book your wedding. Take at least one trip to scout and secure your venues – ceremony and reception site, hotels that will accommodate all budgets. This visit will give you time to meet and secure local vendors such as caterers, florists and photographers. You can even schedule “tastings” with your caterer, view sample floral bouquets from the florist, and organize activities for your guests.

Don’t Compromise Your Vision.  Many beach resorts have “wedding packages” that have everything listed: décor, location, color pallet, etc.  Enlist the help of a professional wedding planner to help in designing and collaborating with the vendors at your wedding location.  Whether the planner is local to you or to the venue, they should be familiar with your destination.

When we think of destination weddings, we tend to think that we have to stay simplistic in style. After all, what can we add to the picturesque backdrop of the ocean? But, who says your beach wedding can’t be extravagant? You can wear the gown of your dreams, with no shoes and amazing foot jewelry.  Bring your local vision along with you (as long as you’re not uncomfortable).

Keep in Mind Those Who Cannot Attend.  When you host your wedding locally, you can invite and expect most of your family, friends, and even colleagues to share in your big day.  When you opt to marry at a distance, don’t take it personally if everyone invited can’t make the trip. Some guests tend to fall off due to travel or budget restrictions.

Track the Weather. Although many destination locations offer warm temperatures, they also come along with tropical weather.  Confirm if your chosen location has a hurricane season and that it doesn’t conflict with your wedding dates. Check the average temps for the periods during your stay and talk to the venue about alternative options during adverse weather.

Be Easy. When the time comes, take it easy – like beach living.  Enjoy your day and be married!

Your Turn: Are you planning a destination wedding? Let us know where you’re going in the comments!