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What is a Destination Wedding?

What You Need to Know About Having a Destination Wedding


Pink Beach Club wedding honeymoon

Destination wedding and honeymoon packages are available here.

Courtesy of Pink Beach Club & Cottages.

By Susan Breslow Sardone

A destination wedding is a wedding held in a setting away from your hometown. Oftentimes, a destination wedding and the honeymoon are celebrated in the same venue.

What's a destination wedding like? Picture yourselves in a warm, luxurious atmosphere with happy friends and family toasting the two of you. Music plays and a feast of fine food awaits.

Every wedding detail, from the setting to the officiant to the flowers and the cake, can be arranged at the destination to suit your taste. After the wedding ceremony, you won't have to leave this breathtakingly beautiful location so soon... if you choose to have your honeymoon there as well.

TV's Today Throws a Destination Wedding brought increased attention to the concept of the destination wedding.

Advice from a Destination Wedding Expert

Bridal consultant and author of Weddings for Dummies Marcy L. Blum notes a rise in the destination wedding, where a couple invites, say, 20 of their nearest and dearest on a mini-vacation. The ceremony itself, the reception, and the honeymoon all occur over a long weekend, along with other destination wedding activities designed to bring the revelers together.

"A four-day wedding weekend can cost less than a meal and reception for 150-200 people at a luxury hotel in New York," says Blum. "At a resort in Jamaica, for example, it might cost $40,000 to invite 20 couples to spend four days at a destination wedding. That includes a rehearsal dinner on the beach serving the island's traditional jerk barbecued foods and exotic tropical drinks while a reggae band plays -- as well as a formal sit-down wedding in an air-conditioned room or on an outdoor terrace and a farewell brunch."

The etiquette of a destination wedding generally calls for invited guests to pay their own airfare. The bride and groom pick up the tab for the lodging, food, and beverages at a destination wedding.

It's smart for a couple planning a destination wedding to negotiate a discounted rate for booking multiple rooms and also check with airlines to determine if group airfare rates are available.

For one destination wedding, Blum sent invitees a questionnaire beforehand to determine each one's special interests in order to construct an itinerary. Over the course of three days there were opportunities for them to snorkel, SCUBA dive, participate in a tennis tournament, play beach volleyball, and learn how to dance to reggae music.

Couples planning a destination wedding without the help of a consultant can work with a hotel's concierge, wedding planner, or banquet planner. Do call an area's Tourist Office to learn the legal requirements for marrying in the destination. Most Caribbean islands require a three-day residency prior to the ceremony, proof of citizenship, completing several documents, and a nominal fee.

Complete Destination Wedding Resources >

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