How To Choose Destination Wedding Locations
Author: Nily Glaser
What is a Destination Wedding?
As the cost of wedding climbs, many couples plan a destination wedding. That is, they plan to have the wedding and honeymoon at the same location. Instead of hosting a large reception, the couple invites only their nearest and dearest to a mini-vacation. The money they would have spent on a traditional wedding will provide their family and selected friends with an entire weekend of memories in a great vacation spot, instead of one afternoon in a reception hall.
Many wonderful choices are available and the choice of the individual couple depends on special interests and recreational activities available, time of year for weather conditions, location preference, type of venue, assistance available and budget. If planning includes invited guests, their needs and interests need to be taken into consideration, too.
If you are considering a destination wedding, keep reading.
How to Find Wedding Professionals, Service Providers and Vendors at the Destination You Chose for Your Wedding?
Various planning options are available to you. But even before you examine them you need to know where to start and what to do. Well, once you have chosen the destination, contact the visitors information center and request information about what is, and what is not available in their area including recreation and special events. Request brochures including those of wedding facilities, resorts, hotels, bed and breakfasts, inns, mansions, chapels etc...
Check the internet for wedding service providers, vendors and professionals in the vicinity of your chosen destination and go to their web sites.
Do you like the look and feel of the site?
Does it provide you with the information you are looking for?
Did you find a clearly posted name, address, phone and email contact?
If not, skip it and go to another site.
Bookmark (favorite) the sites that are agreeable to you, and contact them.
You can plan the wedding by yourselves. If so, you may wish to utilize the Internet, phone and mail in your search for wedding professionals, service providers and vendors. We are talking about your wedding. You want the best and the best deal. So take time and choose carefully. Contact them and judge their level of service and integrity before you make your selection.
Did they respond in a timely manner?
Did they take the time and make an effort to reply to all your inquiries in detail?
If contacted by mail or email, did they include a phone number, time zone and days and hours of operation in their reply?
Did they seem sincere or over eager?
You'll need to communicate with them often and choose the one you built a trusting relationship with.
If you seek local help, find a resort, hotel, bed and breakfast, a villa on the Riviera, a mansion, a cruise or any other venue that offers wedding planning services for guests who stay there.
You'd be surprised how many of these places have hosted weddings in the past, and may even have a wedding coordinator on staff.
Check if they can accommodate the ceremony and reception right on site, or if they can make recommendations or arrangements.
Another option for help in planning your destination wedding is to find a wedding chapel at the location you're interested in, that provides complete wedding packages. Chapel packages usually include photographs, flowers, music, and even marriage license. The only drawback to accepting complete packages is that, though they are the least expensive, they come as-is and you don't have a lot of control over some of the details. Additionally, you and your guests may be put off by the in-and-out nature of the ceremony.
Generally the chapel will only arrange for the ceremony. You'll still need to arrange for lodging accommodations and if you so desire, a reception. OR
Still another option is for you to hire a local wedding coordinator at your wedding destination.
If you have acquaintances in that area, ask them to collect references. Check the internet under the terms -wedding coordinator in (city and state) and - wedding planner in (city and state)- in your favorite search engine. Contact the ones whose websites and information attract you and hire a wedding planner based where you plan to have your wedding. A planner who is familiar with the facilities, wedding service providers and vendors available.
Planning Options for a Wedding Abroad
If you are planning to get married abroad, unless you have friends or family living in the general area of your destination wedding site, your best bet is to utilize the expertise of a travel agent who specializes in destination weddings and honeymoons.
You'll need to start early and furnish the travel agent with information.
Request that the travel agent assures that she/he arrange for every detail and guarantee that you have everything in place and confirmed at least 3 months before the wedding, as you need plenty of time to inform your family and invited friends, allowing them time to prepare all the travel arrangements and necessary documents.
If you do not have a current passport, be sure to apply for one as soon as you can so you'll have it in time without any glitches.
< b>Information You Need for a Wedding Abroad
Different countries have different requirements for granting marriages to take place on their soil.
You'll need to know and be prepared in order for everything to go smoothly. If you work with travel agents who specialize in weddings and are also familiar with your destination, they should advise you. Otherwise, you'll need to contact the consulate and ask them if:
you need an entry visa.
there are any residency requirements - that is if there is a waiting period before you can get married.
you need to provide any documentation and if so, does it have to be translated.
you need to provide any medical records or undergo any medical tests and how long in advance of the wedding do they need to be submitted.
there is a waiting period between the time you obtain the marriage license and the wedding and if so, how long do you need to wait.
there any paperwork that needs to be prepared in advance and if so, how long before the wedding does it need to be submitted.
you need any witnesses, and if so, how many.
What are the ordinances regarding civil and religious ceremonies?
Is there anything else you need to know?
Unless you use a third party, present the following to to the representative of the lodging facility you plan to use.
Lst of Details, Services and Recreation You Desire
Now that your options are before you, you need to put together your list of details, services and recreation you desire. write them down in a priority order.
INFORMATION YOU NEED TO PROVIDE:
Your total budget
Your guest list
What expenses will you pay for how many guests? None - Wedding Guest Accommodations - Travel - All.
For travel - your day of departure and day of return, your guests' day of departure and day of return.
For lodging - your date of arrival and date of departure, your guests' day of arrival and day of departure.
Your wedding date.
Time of ceremony, time of reception and duration
Style of wedding
Number of guests
Who will make the guests' travel and lodging reservations?
Who will make the bride and groom's travel and lodging reservations?
Destination: USA (state, city) - Canada - Mexico - the Caribbean - South America - Europe - Asia - Africa - Australia add as many details as possible.
Special wedding theme: Disney - beach - western - country - floral etc...
Accommodations: Bungalow - condo - economy hotel - luxury hotel - lodge - motel - resort - rented villa - yacht - cruise ship - other.
What recreation and fun vacation activities are you looking for? Ski, beach, casino, cruise, shopping, spa, sports (swimming, golf, exercising equipment, etc...), tours, other.
Services You Need for Your Wedding Day:
Catering or kitchen facilities
Clergy - officient
Wedding accessories: unity candles and holders - cake serving set - bridal garter - Guestbook and pen - toasting flutes - ring pillow - bridal purse - cake top
Attire for bride - bridesmaids - mothers - flower girl
Attire for groom - ushers - ring bearer - fathers
Rhearsal meal (lunch - dinner)
Hair and make-up
We recommend that if possible, both bride and groom will be involved in the decision making and interviews. Let the one who is best at it do all the negotiations.
If you interview potential wedding vendors in person or by phone, have a note pad and pen handy, to write down important information and questions that may arise during your interview. If you interview them by email, print every communication and keep it in a folder.
Questions for the representative of the lodging facility:
How long have you been accommodating wedding parties?
How many wedding clients have you served?
Do you offer any guarantees?
What are your rates for the different accommodations (rooms - suites) you offer?
Do you offer bridal packages ?*
Do you offer discount for a block of rooms?
Do you offer a free room for every so many rooms?**
Do you offer complementary lodging accommodations for Bride and Groom?
Do you provide transportation from and to the airport?
Are any meals included as part of the stay?
Do you provide rollaway beds to accommodate children?
Will you deliver small welcome gifts, we provide, to our guests' rooms?
What additional expenses may be charged?
Do you provide an insured and bonded babysitting service?
How much and by when will we need to put down the deposit?
What is the latest time frame for making changes?
Do they provide you with a written contract?
Does the contract include a 3 day cancellation clause?
* If you plan your reception to take place at a bed and breakfast, resort or hotel, it is most likely that they will accommodate your stay for the night before and/or the night after the wedding. If you ask, you'll find out that many hotels and resorts provide bridal accommodations as part of the package, though it may be presented as their wedding gift to the newlyweds.
** Some resorts and hotels offer a free room for every so many rooms.
(For every X number of rooms you get one free.)
You made your choice! Now you need to receive a written contract signed by the person in charge, and dated. The contract must include all of your responsibilities and all of the responsibilities, warranties and guarantees offered by the facility. Caveat Emptor - Buyer beware! Read each contract very carefully, on, under and above the line. Be sure that you understand it fully and agree with all the terms. If you have questions, concerns, or are uncertain, contact them for clarification.
In most parts of the USA you have 3 days to examin the contract and if you need to, cancel without penalties.
Copyrights 2007 All Rights Reserved Nily Glaser
Nily Glaser is the CEO of A-wedding Day, A-wedding Day , which is a very popular Wedding Resource and Information Center, and a discount shopping mall for wedding gifts, supplies and bridal accessories.
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