I recently heard a story from my friend about her cousin who had planned her dream destination wedding. She arranged everything meticulously — checked and double checked. On the day she and her fiancé were to depart for the Caribbean, she felt confident that she had all of her bases covered. What she hadn’t realized was that the commuter flight to their tiny island resort had very strict luggage weight limits, and she had over-packed. One of her bags didn’t make it to the hotel… It was the bag that contained her dress.
As destination weddings become increasingly popular, many couples are choosing this option for their nuptials. While a destination wedding relieves a bride and groom from many of the duties and headaches sometimes associated with a traditional wedding, this type of ceremony does bring a new set of challenges into the game.
All-inclusive destination weddings typically mean just that: Everything is included. Your travel agent or resort wedding specialist handles all of the details, from the food to the flowers. However, there are certain key items that the happy couple and guests must bring along, and it’s imperative that these items arrive on schedule and in mint condition.
The Dresses and Tuxedos
While a wedding planner is certainly able to coordinate wedding attire sourced near the chosen location, many couples choose to forego that option in favor of choosing their wedding clothing locally and bringing it along. This option works well for many and allows the luxury of attending fittings and securing alterations before the big day.
However, because this clothing will be packed it’s important to choose wisely. Brides may want to choose a dress in a lightweight fabric such as silk that packs well and requires little maintenance beyond a simple steam or press before show time. Grooms might want to follow the bride’s lead and choose a linen pant and shirt combination as opposed to a traditional tux. Lightweight materials not only make packing and travel easier, but they appropriately reflect the ambiance of most tropical settings, which are the most common locations for destination weddings.
Make sure to research the airline’s baggage policy. The last thing anyone wants is for the suitcase containing the wedding party’s clothing to be the one that’s been lost or doesn’t even make it onto the plane. If all else fails, be certain that everyone in the bridal party carries their clothing onboard the aircraft.
When traveling, it’s important to have your travel and other necessary documents with you at all times. This is especially important when traveling for a special occasion. A delay at the airport due to a misplaced passport can mean disaster. Be certain that everyone in the party checks their travel documents several times before leaving the house.
Additionally, the bride and groom may need specific documents to obtain a wedding license, and the list of documents can vary from country to country. Check with your wedding planner, the United States embassy in the country in question and the local city government website to ensure that your papers are in order. Alternatively, forego registering for a license in the area where you are having your ceremony, and sign the papers before or after; it’ll all mean the same thing in the end, and you might save yourself a headache or two.
A great option for those couples who would like to bring things from home is to ship those items. For the bride and groom who are on top of their planning duties, a box or two of items can be shipped to the resort or planner’s office well ahead of the wedding date, which means fewer items need to go into the suitcases.
Be certain that you plan your shipment well in advance, double check the addresses, and use a reputable shipping company to avoid a disaster.
DIY Decor, Destination Style
For some brides, the decor at their chosen resort or hotel might not be quite up to par. For those who fit this bill, there are several decor ideas that are simple to pack, are lightweight and can add a personal touch to the ceremony and reception.
- Strings of lights. To jazz up bland or standard lighting, consider packing a few strings of twinkly lights. These are simple to pack, easy to install and can transform the look of a space very easily.
- Paper lanterns. Paper lanterns take up minimal space in a suitcase or box as they lie flat, and they can add pops of color in a monochromatic space. Plus, they’re usually pretty inexpensive.
- Favors and other personalized items. In addition to the fantastic memories your guests will take away, you want them to have a personal gift or favor from the event. Consider something flat, such as a personalized map of the destination, that packs well and is something your guests will treasure.
While a destination wedding can be a wonderful and special way to celebrate a marriage and is typically one of the most hassle-free wedding options, getting there is more than half the battle. Pack wisely, carry on the plane anything you absolutely need, triple-check your documents, and ship things ahead of time. With these tips, your exotic wedding is sure to go off without a hitch.
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