What is a destination wedding like? Picture yourselves in a warm, luxurious atmosphere with friends and family toasting the two of you. Music plays and a feast of fine food awaits everyone. And every wedding detail, from the setting to the officiant to the flowers and the cake, has been effortlessly arranged at the destination to suit your specific tastes. After the wedding ceremony, you won't have to leave this breathtakingly beautiful location you selected so soon...if you choose to have your honeymoon there as well.
There is a definite rise in the destination weddings, 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 San Francisco. For example, at a resort in Hawaii, it might cost $30,000 to invite 20 couples to spend four days at a destination wedding. That includes a rehearsal dinner on the beach serving the island's traditionally prepared foods and exotic tropical drinks while traditional island music 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, the couple can send invitees a questionnaire beforehand to determine each guest's special interests in order to construct an itinerary. Another great enticement in choosing a destination resort for your wedding are all of the opportunities you and your guests will have to snorkel, SCUBA dive, play tennis, lay in the sun, surf, play beach volleyball, or horseback ride.
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. Make sure you check the residency requirements as in the case of the carribean a three-day residency prior to the ceremony, plus proof of citizenship, and completing several other documents are required, as well as a nominal fee.