Article submitted by Gwyn Collins at Dreamcatcher Photography
Planning a destination wedding is fun and exciting and does require a huge amount of faith if you have never been to your location and are using local vendors. You must be able to let go of some of the control and just trust that everything will be beautiful! Remember, most resorts conduct weddings almost every day and they are pro's in making your wedding the best day of your life! ENJOY!
Choosing a Resort/Destination/Time of year - Look for a location that means something to you and your Groom and that you will want to visit again for future anniversaries! Research prices/group rates, local attractions, how close it is to the airport and how much paperwork is required for your big day! be wary of time of year (i.e. hurricane/storm season) you can even look up average rainfall and statistics for that month on most weather websites.
Legalities - Locations like Hawaii and Jamaica require little paperwork to legally marry your honey! Some places will require original long version birth certificates (and will keep them!) as well as blood tests which can have a price. Make sure you know what to expect before booking a location so there are no surprises or, plan on having a ceremony (not-legal) and then tie the knot in your home country!
All the Other Fun Stuff! - Flowers, music, photographer, dress, favours, wedding party - all the fun stuff to do! Luckily with destination weddings becoming more and more popular, many websites sell invitations and favours with a tropical feel. I love the idea of giving a beach bag as a wedding favour and putting useful items inside (sunscreen, passport holders, airplane munchies, etc.) Destination wedding dresses are also making more of an appearance in bridal stores, look for light fabrics so you won't be too hot and dresses that are easy to travel with to avoid wrinkles. Most resorts offer a pressing or steaming service with their wedding packages but easy travel is a must. Photographers and flower arrangements are always available in packages or upgrades. The photographers will give you what's in the package but then offer more for an additional price. Try negotiating if you want the additional pictures and try to get them on disc so you can develop as many as you would like! Use flowers that grow naturally in your location, they will be cheaper, authentic and lush!
Traveling - Most airlines are used to seeing multiple destination brides on the same flight so special handling of your wedding dress is no problem! Don't check your dress! Carry it on, and put it in the top console. Request advance seating so your party is all together reserving an entire top console for your beautiful gown!
Wedding day (what to expect) - Most wedding packages include a wedding coordinator and for good reason! your job on the day of is to feel relaxed, get dressed and watch your lovely wedding unfold! You can expect the wedding coordinator to have a meeting with you on the day you arrive to choose your flowers, cake, location for ceremony and all the other details as well as collect the necessary paperwork. On the wedding day, she will make sure the music is perfect, seat your guests and get you from your room when it is time. Most will hand deliver the flowers to your room and make sure the Groom and his party are front and center waiting for you! Afterwards, they will clean up, breakdown the site and make your reservations for the restaurant/reception. They are used to doing this every day and do an amazing job every time!
Eat, Drink and be Married!!!