He proposed! The ring is on your finger, your mom used up an entire box of tissue crying happy tears, and you have already bought up every bridal magazine you could find at your local bookstore. You have always dreamed about getting married on a beach with your beloved beaming at you like the tropical sun while your contented guests sip cold drinks from coconut shells and slip their sandals off to wiggle their toes in the sand. Beach weddings are the stuff of fairytales. Fairytales, however, can be fraught with peril. You may not have any dragons to slay or evil witches to combat, but to avoid the magic from turning tragic, there are a few important issues to keep in mind. With a little planning and foresight, your wedding story will end with you and your handsome prince strolling blissfully into the sunset, hand in hand at the end of the day.
The first thing you need to do when planning a beach wedding is to select a destination. There are many beautiful places all around the world, but not all of them are as accessible or affordable as you might imagine.
If you are planning a destination wedding with guests, you must make every consideration to keep their costs to a minimum (and not be upset if some decline to attend or be in your wedding party). Even if you are paying for their travel, consider your guests’ other costs, such as loss of income while away from work (if unable to line up your wedding plans with their vacation policy) and childcare if you book a childfree resort. Therefore, you may want to skip the remote, floatplane access island and opt for one that offers all-inclusive deals.
When selecting a destination, also consider your personal style. If you are not into working out the many details necessary for a wedding (even small, laid back weddings require official paperwork!), check out resorts that have wedding packages, like Sandals (www.sandals.com). These packages can include cake, flowers, photography, and a small reception. If your location of choice does not have a package, you will need to do some long distance planning. Unless you have someone on location to act as your eyes and ears for selecting your cake, flowers, and other details, ask the concierge at your accommodations to provide the name of a trustworthy and reputable wedding planner. To keep costs and frustration levels down, you will want to use as many local resources as possible. The thought of shipping a mult-tired cake and a fresh bouquet in a cargo hold is a little daunting!
Check your local government or airline’s websites for travel advisories. With the outbreak of pandemics such as H1N1, travel to some locations is not advised. Also, check to see if certain immunizations or other health precautions are necessary and if so, do not forget to inform your guests. Make sure you passport is valid. Nothing kills the romance of your beach wedding faster than your lack of attendance due to an expired passport!
Once you have settled on a destination, it is time to make the booking. Whether you go through a travel agent or book online, it is worth the small extra charge to insure your trip. Tropical storms, natural disasters, illness, or family emergencies may cause you to postpone your plans and you certainly do not want to loose the large sums of money paid to secure your trip. While rescheduling is inconvenient, paying for a trip you can no longer take is inconceivable.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series where we discuss how to Dress for Success. Did you really think you could rent those tuxedos for two weeks and ship them out on the airplane? Just what kind of dress should you wear on the beach anyway? You will learn all this and more as we discuss what to keep in mind when planning a beach wedding.
Check out part 2
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