Determine Whether or Not You Need to Take a Planning Trip

Once you've settled on the perfect destination, you'll have to determine how well you know the destination, and whether or not you feel you should go there in person to be sure that you are happy with the venue, vendors. facillities, and service providers. There is nothing like face-to-face communication to put your mind at ease.

If you are paying attention to details, and/or planning a wedding attended by a large group of people, you will probably need to make a planning trip.  A planning trip lets you meet the service providers you want to hire, and negotiate the contracts in person. You'll feel more confident about your decisions and choices, and you'll begin to forge professional relationships with your service providers.

 

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Research and Select Honeymoon Destination

Since you are in the destination research mode this may be a good time to at least keep your honeymoon in mind. Now, many couple choose a destination wedding because they want to combine the two events into a weddingmoon but others do want a separation between the wedding celebration and the honeymoon. It can be as simple as moving your married selves to another town or city or region in the country such as getting married in Venice and honeymooning in Santorini. Many of my couples who choose the Caribbean decide to go to another island. This works well especially if you chose an island that is not too far away from others such as Anguilla and St. Martin and St. Bart. If your destination wedding is still within your own country you may still want to go away. We must always remember that a destination wedding can take place 2 hours away from your home, therefore, if you are any one of my Manhattan Brides who is planning a wedding in the Hudson Valley you probably will want to go someplace a little more exotic for your honeymoon.

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Check for Travel Advisories

At this point you probably have a good idea of whether or not you are looking at a relatively safe destination, but just to cover all bases you should check the travel advisories to see if there are any dangers--such as an outbreak of a disease or a terrorist threat--that should concern you. You can get this information by going to the US Department of State at http://travel.state.gov/ or by calling them at 202-647-4000.

 

Decide on a Date

Don't forget that the perfect date is just as important as the perfect destination. You will want to make sure that the date you are interested in is the ideal time of the year in the destination. You can usually get this kind of information on the tourism bureau's website. You will want to consider climate, seasonal rates, national holidays and perhaps political events. Were you quoted prices so wonderfully low, you can't believe it?!  There are reasons for low seasonal rates that you should know about...such as hurricane season in the Caribbean!

Don't set the actual date until you fall in love with a location and find out that it is available on the date you are wishing for.

 

Research Destinations and their Locations

Look at regional tourism bureaus, wedding associations and publications. If you do not find what you are looking for in this book or if you want more information on a destination I suggest that you go to the tourism bureau first either via phone or internet. In any case you should always go there first so get the most up-to-date resources and location ideas.

You can also search further in:

  • Travel and bridal magazines such as Conde Nast Traveler, Modern Bride Connection (which is a regional version of Modern Bride) or National Geographic Traveler Magazine. Most wedding publications have a travel section that features fabulous honeymoon destinations and locations that can also host weddings.
  • Modern Bride Honeymoons and Weddings Away by Geri Bain
  • Romantic Wedding Destinations by Jackie Carrington
  • Beyond Vegas by Lisa Tabb and Sam Silverstein
  • The Most Romantic Resorts For Destination Weddings, Marriage Renewals, & Honeymoons by Paulette Cooper.
  • Celebrity Weddings and Honeymoon Getaways by Elizabeth Borsting
  • 100 Most Romantic Resorts of the World by Katharine D. Dyson
  • Hotel Paradise by Kazuyoshi Miyoshi

The Internet

If you really cannot find what you are looking for in books and you really do love the hunt and want to surf, surf, surf, be my guest. Here are some of the sites we have found useful. They all provide a variety of information but I have organized them according to their focus.

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Get Family Approval

If it is important to you to be surrounded by your loved ones you will want to tell them your plans and see how they react to the destination you have chosen. Before you do this, make sure you have done your research so you can make a complete presentation, and so that you can answer any questions that will come your way. Brace yourself because if this is the first they have heard of this, their reaction may not be as favorable as you would hope. Remember that their reaction is usually based on that fact that the region is foreign to them even if it is still within the borders of your own country. They may love the idea and you can advance to the next step. They may also present a good argument such as grandmother cannot physically handle a long trip or Uncle Bob is in a wheelchair or your sister will be 7 months pregnant or your brother is terrified of planes or boats. If this is the case you will have to reassess how important this destination is to you. If it works out that certain important members of your family just cannot travel anywhere to be at your wedding and having the wedding near them is not an option, remember that thanks to modern technology you can arrange a live feed on the Internet so they can see the wedding as it is happening.

 

Research Travel and Accommodation Options

How will people get there, where will they stay and what will it cost? As you research destinations and locations and narrow down your choices, you will also want to look into travel and accommodation options and rates for your guests. You may find the place of your dreams but it may be on a secluded island that only offers exclusive accommodations out of reach of most of the people you want to invite. Be sure the destination has everything going for it before you commit to it. While you are at it you should also consider if and where you would take a honeymoon once you are married. Will you stay there, move to another city or island, go on a cruise or to another country altogether?

Verify Legality in both Church and State

The final destination test is making sure that you can legally be married there and that it will be recognized by your denomination. If is important to you to have a legal marriage at the wedding destination be sure you are choosing a destination that will allow foreigners to be married there. If not, you may have to perform the civil ceremony at home before or after the spiritual celebration. If a religious ceremony is important to you, you will want to be absolutely sure that you have checked with the powers-that-be before you settle on a destination. For example, the Catholic Church on the island of Capri in Italy has decided that they will no longer marry foreign Catholics in their churches. Many churches and temples around the world will only marry members of their congregations so be aware of this pitfall before you set your heart on something that cannot be. First ask your religious leader. Ask him or her if they can connect you with the religious leaders in the destination you plan to be married in. Try to determine who is going to marry you if you can before you totally decide on the destination. The wedding location may have this answer. Many resorts have list of clergy that they work with.

When and Where in the World?

The Destination
Profile Your Destination

Where in the world do you want to be married? What kind of destination would best suit you and your intended? What would be meaningful or reflect your personalities? Some couples just know, but others just know that they want to go somewhere, but where? If you are among the free thinkers who have no real reason for having a destination wedding besides just wanting one, you should first ask yourselves the following questions: Should we set this up like a real quiz like a form so it is more interactive?

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