Destination Weddings Destination Weddings: 7 Tips for Smooth Sailing
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Destination Weddings: 7 Tips for Smooth Sailing

No longer an option only for the rich and famous, destination weddings have increased in popularity with couples seeking exotic locales and wanting to eliminate the hassles of wedding planning. Here, we share seven important tips for booking your wedding away.

Tip #1: Consider the time of year
Resorts and all-inclusive properties offer great deals for brides and grooms looking to wed in paradise. However, if you’re planning to exchange vows during peak seasons (holidays, summer months), expect to pay premium prices. Also, August—October is mid-hurricane season in the Caribbean. If you’re planning an island wedding around that time, be sure to inquire upon a cancellation policy for your trip.

Tip #2: Book a destination wedding at a location/with a provider that meets your standard
If you’re feeling unsure about a particular location or not impressed with the level of service, keep checking around until you find a destination and/or accommodations that are in line with your wants and wishes. If you have found the perfect place, but the packages are a bit on the pricey side, try calling the venue and letting them know that you’re interested in booking a destination wedding and are curious as to what’s available in your price range. Believe it or not, most vendors are willing work with you and your budget. Besides, it never hurts to ask.

Tip #3: Research the requirements for obtaining a marriage certificate in that area
Not all states, provinces and countries follow the same rules in regard to weddings. Even if you are working with a wedding planner provided by your resort or through a destination wedding service, take time to brush up on the laws and requirements for acquiring a marriage certificate where your ceremony will take place. Understanding how, when and where to pick up the marriage certificate will definitely save you lots of time and stress.

Tip #4: Give friends and family ample time to make preparations
If you’re inviting others to share with you on your big day, give your guests plenty of advance notice by sending out save-the-date cards. With the ever-increasing price of airfare, your guests will appreciate having a jump start on travel plans.

Tip #5: Choose a wedding photographer who’s familiar with the venue
You don’t want to entrust your wedding photos to just anyone. Find a destination weddings photographer who knows the area inside and out, or arrange for him/her to visit the venue before the big day. A good photographer will want to know the venue inside and out before your wedding to give you unique shots that reflect the style, lighting, and mood of the location.

Tip #6: Never select an all-inclusive package if it doesn’t fit your needs
An "all-inclusive" or "most-inclusive" approach to making the wedding arrangements can help to ease some of the stress, energy and time it can take to plan a destination weddings. However, if your guest list is small (or if it’s just the two of you), more isn’t always the best bet. Always select amenities and services according to your individual needs.

Tip #7: Plan activities to keep guests entertained
While you and your groom are busy tackling last minute details and meeting with vendors, keep your guests entertained by creating a list of activities and local attractions to enjoy. Since some of your guests may use vacation days to attend your ceremony, help them make the most of their trip by offering fun and leisurely things to do during destination weddings downtime.

Weddings away are just the ticket for couples who want to enjoy more of each other and worry less about the hassles associated with traditional planning. So kick back and relax in knowing that all the details are taken care of.

Additional reporting by Beth Bates, Priscila Benitez, Jessica Daynor and Joanna Shelton. \