Get-Away Destination Wedding Needs Communication
By Thomas J. Gunning
Destination weddings are increasingly popular. Many couples want to avoid the hassles of a big wedding by getting married at an exotic location. Some combine their wedding and honeymoon for budgetary reasons. For others, they want to return to a setting with special importance or symbolic impact.
Whatever the reason, destination, or get-away, weddings offer practical solutions without sacrificing romance. Hotels and resorts in the more popular marrying areas – the Caribbean, Hawaii, Florida, for example – are experienced in arranging weddings by long distance. Many offer wedding packages for set fees that can include the ceremony site, flowers, officiant, photographer and reception, as well as accommodations.
These on-scene advisors also can refer you to local caterers, musicians, photographers, cake bakers and other wedding professionals. But there are some things you or your trusted emissary may want to do yourselves. These can include selection of the ceremony and reception sites.
Depending on the distance and your event’s complexity, destination weddings follow the same schedule as any other wedding. The key is successful communication and, in today’s world, your options include the telephone, e-mail and the Internet, faxes, standard mail, and express delivery services.
If you decide against a set package, you can create your own destination wedding. Your success will depend on dividing the required jobs into what you can do from where you live and what must be done at the wedding site. For instance, you can easily order invitations from your home, but catering arrangements will probably be made through on-site vendors. Some aspects – like wedding favors, bridesmaid gowns or attendants’ gifts – can be handled from either location.
One good option is to hire a wedding consultant. Such a professional, whether located in your hometown or at the destination site, can help you find the services you’ll need for your celebration. If you don’t know what’s available at your destination city, rely on your consultant to provide options and alternatives.
The big difference between a local and a destination wedding is your need for efficiency. If you decide to make arrangements in person at the destination city, get organized. Experts say to limit your attention to the two or three major aspects – sites, photographic coverage, catering and perhaps accommodations – that require hands-on decisions. Then seek help for the rest.
Although a consultant can assist, you’re responsible for the bottom line. You can’t forego things like checking references and confirming contract details just because you’re working from a distance. Your active involvement is essential.
Some brides plan get-away weddings with only immediate family and closest friends. Then they hold a “marriage celebration” after the honeymoon in their local areas for everyone else. This avoids excluding friends and acquaintances you can’t ask to travel all the way to your wedding site.
Although a destination wedding requires planning, organization and good communication, its pleasures can exceed all expectations. Stay atop the details, stick to your priorities and keep an eye on the bottom line. If you do, the romance and excitement will make your wedding even more unforgettable.