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Groom 101

Destination Wedding Planning Tips

Chris Easter

Want a wedding that’s outside the norm? If you and your bride-to-be are an adventurous, travel-loving couple, a destination wedding may be a perfect fit. These events usually take place in a tropical or beachfront location, but creativity is the key. If you want to get married at the top of Mount Smokey, do it! It’s typically the groom’s responsibility to plan and book a destination wedding. Start your research here by learning the basics.

Perks

Although typically smaller and less formal than a traditional wedding, there are some definite perks in choosing a destination wedding. First and foremost, the location doubles as yourhoneymoon destination, so you won’t have to get up at 5 am the day after the wedding to catch a flight that you could be on all day.
If you’re really trying to sell your fiancée on a destination wedding, be sure to tell her how much less stressful it can be to plan compared to a standard wedding. Traditional weddings can be very stressful. With so many things that need to happen exactly as planned, it’s easy to see why the bride and groom can spend a lot of their wedding day worrying about things going properly rather than enjoying every moment. With a destination wedding, the setting can often be much more intimate and low-key.

Where?

In the words of Tony “Scarface” Montana, the world is your oyster. Think about what parts of the world you and your fiancée enjoy the most. Beachfront? Mountains? Siberia? Destination wedding locations are plentiful, so think long and hard about it (that’s what she said)

Who should be invited?

The guest list for destination weddings is typically small. Most destination weddings include just the immediate family and wedding party. However, there’s no size limit. Oftentimes, an open invite is sent to friends and family and those who can afford to make the trip do so. It’s not the responsibility of the bride and groom to provide travel arrangements for anyone. However, if it’s in the budget, it’s always nice to chip in for the parents’ travel costs.

It’s also common to invite your guests to stay for a few days after the wedding to extend the celebration and further explore the destination. After all, they’ll have traveled a long way to be a part of the festivities. You don’t want to put them right back on a plane the morning after the wedding.

When to book?

When planning and booking a destination wedding, think about it as if you’re planning a honeymoon (because, in actuality, you are). You’ll want to have the trip planned and booked around six months prior to the big day. Many resorts offer all-inclusive destination wedding packages. Do your research thoroughly. It may be easier to schedule and plan a destination wedding compared with a traditional wedding, but you still want it to be perfect.

Legality

Perhaps the most important thing to research when planning a destination wedding is the legality of the marriage. Every country has certain laws involving legal marriages. Maybe two American citizens can’t legally be wed in the destination country of your choice. That doesn’t mean a ceremony can’t take place there; it just means that the couple may need to secure a civil union in the states before heading off to the destination. The staff at the resort you’re looking into will be able to help shed more light on the specific laws of their country. Just make sure to check into these details up front, so you’ll have plenty of time to secure any required paperwork and so that there won’t be any surprises later on.

Upset about leaving everyone out?

Many couples hold a special reception at home either before or after the destination wedding so that they can include everyone who won’t be able to make the long distance trip.

TMR Recommendation: Do some research to find out if you’re a good match for a destination wedding. They aren’t for everyone. But if you’ve always pictured saying your vows on an island, mountain top, etc., do it! Nothing beats sipping tropical drinks on the beach moments after taking your vows!

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