Friday, May 21, 2010

What's a Destination Wedding?

I went to a trade event today hosted by Destination Weddings & Honeymoon magazine and there were a variety of hotels and resorts from across the country and around the world - though mainly Caribbean destinations - exhibiting.

Each resort offers amazing amenities and unbelievable wedding and honeymoon packages but there was a discussion as to whether a destination wedding could be described as a wedding taking place in the continental 48 states that I wanted to address in this post.

A destination wedding is a wedding held at a location that neither the bride and groom call home and one where they as well as many if not all of their guests will be traveling to.  So for example, if you call New York home and get married in Napa or Charleston or Aspen you are having a destination wedding just as if you were getting married at an international location, such as theUSVI, Mexico or Italy.

If you are planning a destination wedding then here are some of my planning tips you may want to follow:

1.  Hire a wedding planner who is either based at the location of your wedding or very familiar with the area.

2.  Try and hire as many vendors in the local area as possible so you don't have to fly vendors in.  You will have to pay for their transportation and accommodations as well as their fee.

3.  Don't over schedule activities for your guests.  Besides the wedding, rehearsal dinner and post-wedding brunch you can suggest activities but you don't have to pay for every activity your guests take part in.  And remember this is a vacation for them and they may just want to relax by the pool.

4.  If you are making guest room gifts or out-of-town baskets for your guests make sure to include information on local resources such as a pharmacy, doctor, restaurants and attractions.  If they speak a foreign language you may want to make a mini-translation guide.

5.  If you can - and with the help of your wedding planner or hotel - try to arrange group transportation to and from the airport.  Your guests will appreciate it.

6.  When making your guest list follow the general wedding guideline that 10% of your guests will not be able to attend.  Don't assume that just because it's a destination most people won't make it.  You don't want to invite 200 people thinking 80 will come and then end up with 180.  Especially if your budget will only allow for 80.  Only invite those people you really want to be there and the number of people you can afford to have.

7.  Create a wedding website to keep guests informed of hotel and flight discount rates you've arranged as well as weekend activities so they can plan accordingly.


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