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Unlike a wedding near a family residence, fewer of the people you invite are likely to attend. Distance to your setting affects the time it takes to plan, to get there, and expenses both higher and lower, in many cases. If you want to make it as easy as possible for many friends and family to share your celebration, do not despair. You can still have your wedding cake and eat it, too.
It neednt be an international event. You might consider more local or accessible sites, or combining a ceremony and smaller party far away with a larger celebration when you return. Check out nearby tourism Web sites for landmarks, museums, vineyards, elegant parks arboretums and other accessible retreats that feel more out-of-the-way than they are. A popular advantage of destination weddings is the escape they offer from sometimes-sticky turf conflicts, awkward religious and family situations and the need to decide among local vendors when your wedding is close to home.
Whether your fantasy is a rocky ocean cliff, an idyllic country site, or a sophisticated urban spot, make sure you consider the effects of geography and season. Caribbean hurricanes are common in September, and who wants a stormy beginning? Also, choose a destination that offers the kind of ambience you prefer lavish, casual, or intimate. Your location will influence the type of lodging, the need for decorations, and activities available for your guests which is important if they travel far and remain a few days, as distances invite. Also, remember to get information about local legal requirements, such as residency periods and license procedures. (A civil ceremony before or after, right at home, often simplifies the tangles of time, costs, local languages and holidays if you do aim overseas.)
Guests will appreciate relief from the added costs of travel and lodging that they must consider. A group rate for accommodations is usually available, but you will need to communicate with guests to ensure they enjoy all the discounts you arrange. If discounts for rooms and food services are not offered, request room upgrades or other special services such as free airport transfers, a guide for local tours, or other amenities for their relaxation.
There are a number of resources to help shape your plans:
You can engage a planning consultant who is familiar with the added arrangements needed for destination events.
If you use a hotel for lodging, a professional staff for conferences and weddings is often on hand full-time. Since so many details must be arranged locally, an experienced hotel team might be less expensive, and more effective, than a consultant who is not based there.
Many major cruise lines also provide all of the comforts and services of a land-based site including an official for the ceremony.
Although you will incur additional expenses, a local specialist or hotel staff may save you time and money because of their knowledge of language and culture, familiarity with local businesses, and ability to negotiate rates and deal with problems.
Some locations, like Disney, offer complete wedding packages. However, with this choice, you have the least control and flexibility.
Finally, you can take charge and make all the decisions yourself. This option requires considerable work because you will be responsible for making guests travel and room arrangements, identifying local services for flowers, music, photography, and a locally sanctioned official. An advance visit is highly recommended, especially if you do not have a professional event manager who is located where you will marry.
Unless it is convenient for you to visit your destination site, rely on a consultant or full-time professional staff to arrange your ceremony and party, said Lisa Light, who runs the destinationbride.com Web site. Working directly with vendors you do not know and cannot meet is an invitation to disappointment.
Lisas book, The Complete Guide to Planning a Wedding Anywhere in the World, also offers many ideas for styling your wedding in unusual places, finding reliable local services, and thoughtful solutions to the little problems you may encounter from afar.
To help communicate with your guests, use an efficient and inexpensive wedding Web site. Destinationbride.com can help you create one. Maps, photos and detailed information about local services ranging from transportation to recreation are easily posted. You can also use your Web site to update travel and event plans, as well as the scoop on local customs. Dont forget to mail a save the date note to give your guests ample time to make plans, and to let them know about recent changes or additions with timely messages.
Regardless of where you go or the activities you arrange there, a destination wedding promises adventure and romance.
The added effort to which the many guests must commit to make the trip can bring them more delightful memories of your wedding, too, and a welcome addition to their own familiar places in the years to come.
©2004 Community Newspaper Group
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