PICKING A WEDDING DESTINATION
Think about your priorities.
Is it more important that the destination fits your budget, that it has certain attributes or that it’s easily accessible for you and your guests?
Keep your guests in mind.
If a friend or family member is flight-phobic, even your wedding may not be incentive enough to get her halfway around the world.
Do your research to ensure you get what you want.
A hotel’s claim of “luxury” may not match your idea of the word. Study the details to get a truer sense of what to expect.
Get a guarantee.
If you chose a specific venue because of a special amenity, get a written guarantee that everything will be in working order when you arrive or you’ll get a significant savings on the rental.
If you can, scout it.
The cost is well worth the peace of mind you’ll feel after meeting with your vendors in person and seeing how the site works.
Know the marriage rules.
If there are residency requirements or paperwork needs you can’t fulfill, consider having a legal union at home and a symbolic ceremony at the site.
Remember the currency exchange rates.
As the dollar’s value fluctuates, so does the cost of your wedding. Currently, hosting an event in Europe can tack on an extra 50 percent, while South America may be a bargain.
Have a plan B.
Ask what options are available if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Your resort may have an indoor location you could use, or they may allow you to postpone things until later in the afternoon or even the following day.
CHOOSING YOUR WEDDING VENDORS
Hire a coordinator.
Contact a Travel Team agent who can coordinate everything from flights to hotels. You’ll have an expert to help you manage every detail.
Make the most of the Internet.
Preview the photographer’s work on the Web; ask the florist to send you digital shots of sample centerpieces; and use email to connect with pros in different time zones.
Ask about deals.
You may score vendor discounts for a weeknight wedding or great hotel packages during the off-season.
Ask your vendor for recommendations.
Wedding pros get to see the work of other vendors, so the florist may be able to recommend a wonderful caterer.
Learn the local business customs.
In some parts of the world, you’ll need to tip everyone involved to get the job done; in others, contracts are a rarity, and most business is sealed with a handshake.
Get down to the nitty-gritty.
Make sure you’re clear on all the terms and conditions, including payment due dates, refund policies and security deposits.
Get it in writing.
Even if you’re working in a culture that doesn’t do formal contracts, draft a letter with the details you’ve agreed on, and have both you and your pro sign it. You’ll have less confusion if there’s a discrepancy.
Pay as many vendors as possible with your credit cards, so you have some protection if everything’s not up to snuff. Before you head off to your locale, alert your credit-card company to your plans so they don’t close off your card due to unusual charges.
Go with the flow.
Other cultures have different ways of handling things, and you need to follow their lead on their turf.
FINDING THE PERFECT WEDDING DRESS
Get a gown that suits your locale.
Look for dresses that will work with your location and climate.
Ask about a dress code.
An Italian church may insist on sleeves, and some officiants won’t perform a beachside ceremony if you’re wearing a bikini.
Check out the bridesmaids’ options.
A light bridesmaid’s dress can be stylish, simpler to pack and wear — and much easier on your budget.
Add elements of the local attire to your wedding-day ensemble.
Whether it’s a floral lei in Hawaii or a touch of tartan in Scotland, it’ll give your wedding a more authentic vibe.
Tuxes aren’t the only wedding attire that can be borrowed — you can rent wedding gowns, designer clutches and red-carpet-worthy jewels.
Reconsider the veil for outdoors.
Even a slight breeze can catch a veil and blow it awry. If your heart is set on one, keep it short and sweet, and bring plenty of bobby pins.
Bring everything you’ll need.
Depending on your destination, you may have a hard time finding the beauty supplies you require — or be forced to shell out top dollar for basics like mascara.
Try out your hairstyle in advance.
Have your stylist do a test run on your hair in the days leading up to the wedding, so you can double-check that your chosen look will hold up to heat and humidity.
ARRANGING YOUR TRAVEL
Book the package, reception and rooms early in order to secure the date and time you truly want.
Don’t invite to be polite.
Your destination may be too tempting for guests — including that second cousin you only invited out of courtesy — to pass up.
If there’s a hitch in your plans, wedding insurance may help recoup some of your costs. Travel insurance can help you deal with major snafus, like hurricanes or an injury that requires a medical evacuation.
Leave travel arrangements to a pro.
Travel Team agents can negotiate group rates and help you manage cancelled flights or room bookings.
Get there early.
Arrange to arrive a few days before the big day. This will give you time to handle any last-minute glitches, get over your jet lag and most importantly, relax.
Tell everyone you’re getting married.
When checking in for your flights or at your hotel, share your big news. You may score an upgrade if there’s availability.
Contact Travel Team’s Destination Wedding Specialist, Tracy, at 1-800-788-0829 ext. 225 for questions or to start planning your dream destination wedding.