Planning A Beach Wedding Part 3

Welcome to Part 3 of the Beach Wedding Series.  So far, we have discussed key things to keep in mind when picking a destination as well as tips for purchasing and transporting your gown.  Today let’s get off the beaten path and look at some ways to make your wedding day unique for you and your guests.  

  1. Add some local culture.  If you are in an exotic location like Mexico or Cancun, hire local performer(s) to sing a love song in their native tongue during the ceremony or to teach you and your guests a traditional dance or craft.  You can dress in traditional costumes and exchange vows in your location’s mother tongue.  
     
  2. Fish as Witnesses.  If it’s just the two of you and no guests or you have a very small group, hire a boat and exchange vows surrounded by the beauty of the ocean.  With the vast expanse of blue around you, the moment becomes even more intimate as you and your intended are briefly removed from the hustle and bustle of life on land.  You will feel like it’s just the two of you, for those brief moments.   
     
  3. Scavenger Hunt.  While you are taking pictures, challenge your guests to a scavenger hunt for items found on the beach.  You can print up a list before hand or make it as simple as asking them to find a specially colored shell.  At the reception, reward the most unique find with a small gift.  
     
  4. Photo Hunt.  This is similar to point 3, but requires the guests to use digital cameras to photograph the items.  Use a card reader at the reception to display the photos and reward the most creative with a small gift.
     
  5. The Extended Party.  If your guests have travelled to celebrate with you, invite them to share your honeymoon for a couple of days.  As a group, take in the local attractions, go on a small cruise, book an island tour, or enter a sandcastle building contest.  After the couple of days are up, your guests return home while you and your husband spend the next few days together…just the two of you!  
     
  6. Vow Renewal.  Beach weddings are romantic and make even the longest married couples a little misty eyed.  Surprise your married guests with a chance to spontaneously renew their vows.  Pre-arrange with your official to have couples come the alter and renew their vows while you and the groom are having your pictures taken before the reception.  

A beach is a beautiful place for a wedding so take advantage of your surroundings to create a truly unique experience for you and your guests.

Planning A Beach Wedding Part 2

You are planning a beach wedding.  Congratulations!   In the previous post, we discussed key issues to keep in mind when selecting a location.  Today we will discuss the part brides look forward to the most…selecting the dress!  As young girls, we have dreamed about this day, flipped through magazines gazing at the lovely white gowns, and perhaps even carefully took mom’s dress out of storage, unwrapped it, and tried it on. Now it’s your turn.  So, just what are brides wearing on the beach these days? 

A beach wedding is not as formal as a church ceremony; therefore, your gown choices can be less formal too.  What you wear is completely up to you, from a bikini to a sundress to a gown that would make Cinderella green with envy.  Whatever you choose, keep in mind that you will be standing in the sun with emotions running high so there are some things you want to avoid. 

Tight, restrictive clothing and corsets are not a good idea.  While these can be bearable in an air-conditioned space, wearing such garments outdoors in hot weather is a recipe for fainting.  The same goes for breathable fabrics.  Look for something lightweight and permeable.   Flat sandals or bare feet work best on sand unless you have a carpet or something firm to stand on.

If you want a traditional dress, check out your retailer’s casual/informal section.  These dresses carry all the elegance and romance of a formal gown, but have less fabric, minimal (if any) trains, a lighter weight, and can be shorter in length.  You will have the freedom to move around the beach without sweating or dragging your train through the surf.  Many of these gowns bare the shoulders, which is perfect for showing off your tan and keeping you cool during the ceremony. 

 If you need inspiration, type “beach wedding” into Google and click on “image results”.  These results will be a mix of personal and professional photography, enabling you to see different gowns and suits/tuxes in a beach setting.  You will have a clearer visual as to how your gown and color choices will look at different times during the day (for example, sunset on the beach is a great time for silhouette photos). 

 If you are flying to your destination, phone the airline ahead of time and ask if you can hang your dress in a garment bag in the cockpit where the pilots put their jackets.  If this option is not available, follow this advice from ABC Bridal .  Make your dress a carry on in case your luggage gets lost or delayed.  Open the zipper a little bit and gently fold the dress back and forth ending with the hanger on top.  Place your shoes and veil in the bag and wrap everything in acid free tissue paper.  Follow this with a plastic waterproof layer. Unpack the dress as soon as you reach your accommodations.  If there isn’t an on-site laundry facility equipped with steam, turn on the hot water taps in the bathroom and close the door. Once the room is full of steam, turn off the taps, put clean towels on the floor (if your gown is long) and hang your dress from the shower rod.  Make sure the shower rod is dry.  You do not want any water touching your dress.  Hanging your dress in steam for a day will eliminate the wrinkles.  Never use an iron on your wedding gown or the veil as this can burn or discolor the delicate fabric.    

 Let’s close with a side note for the men.  When travelling by air or more than a day by land, do not assume the groom and groomsmen can rent tuxedos in their hometowns.  Many rental places expect the suits back the next day; you may have to rent at your destination.  Once again, however, this is a less formal situation so a light suit or even a dress shirt and pants may suffice. 

 Choosing a gown is exciting and a big part of planning your wedding.  Enjoy the moment and the memories you will have of making this important selection.  Check back soon for Part three of this series when we discuss beach themes and other unique ideas you can use to customize your special day.

Check out part 3

Planning A Beach Wedding

beach_wedding_bride_groom

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

Top 10 Honeymoon Hotspots

1. Acapulco, Mexico: With temperatures in the 80’s almost year round, what’s not to love about Mexico? Prices are affordable and many all inclusive packages are available. Mexico is also known for it’s night life, the country has something to offer all hours of the day.

2. Florence, Italy: The city of love and romance. I don’t think you  need much convincing about why this place is a great honeymoon get-a-way. Between the great food, amazing art, and romantic atmosphere, this country is on our top ten places to honeymoon.

3. St. John, Virgin Islands: This island is on the Caneel Bay and has stunning views of blue ocean. You can scuba dive, snorkel, eat lunch on islands, swim with dolphins, and much more. They even offer private cottages by the water.

4. Bora Bora, French Polynesia: With private bungalows on the ocean, you have the opportunity to have privacy and beauty all at once. Bora Bora is the ultimate private and romantic get-a-way. They offer shark feedings, private dinners, butler services, and more.

5. Hawaii: The island made from volcanoes is a great sight to see. The islands of Hawaii have history, beach, and great food. The incredible tours that are offered are not disappointing.

6. St. Lucia: The island has incredible views no matter where you turn. From national parks to great hotel and guest services, you will not regret your stay. The island offers some of the best tours of the island. Riding horses on the beach, sailing, and visiting small village shops are all offered at most hotels.

7. Bahamas: Another great island that has much to offer. This specific island is famous for its great dolphin experiences. From feeding them to swimming with these amazing animals, the Bahamas offers one of the best experiences in the world.

8. Ireland: Stay in a castle for part of your stay and book your trip with a tour bus. You can see half of Ireland in less than two weeks. The country has many beautiful castles, mountains, and amazing views. This is a honeymoon you won’t ever forget.

9. Alberta, Canada: Sometimes you just prefer snow. Canada is full of fun adventurous activities. Go skiing or snow boarding, sit by a fire drinking hot cocoa, or go dog sledding.

10. Mangiss, Indonesia: Known as the “Peaceful Hill” this resort has some of the best views of the sea. Private pools are offered in deluxe suites. This island has over 10,000 temples and a wonderful cultural background.

How to Pack for the Honeymoon

Not sure what to wear on your honeymoon… so you pack everything, pants, skirts, dresses, and jackets you know just in case it get’s down to 30 degrees in the Bahamas. Sound like you? No matter where you’re going you want to bring the essential items for your trip. Each destination has a different dress code. Many women tend to “over pack.” A simple checklist of the items needed will help ensure you don’t over pack or under pack. One tip I love to give is leave a little bit of room in your suitcase when going on your trip. Chances are you will be buying a souvenir or two. We don’t always think about that when packing our suitcase. Below is a checklist you may need when packing for trips. The Knot has a great printable checklist for any trip. Martha Stewart has great information about planning for your honeymoon. It discusses budget, researching, what to do before leaving the house, and more. Check out these worthy sites for more helpful information on honeymoons!

The Knot Honeymoon Checklist

Martha Stewart

2009 Top Honeymoon Destinations

So you’re getting ready to book your honeymoon (which should be done at least 6 months in advance). You aren’t sure where to go. Take a look at our top five honeymoon destinations that won’t hurt your pocket too bad and are very romantic.

1. Los Cabos, Mexico: Beautiful blue water, white sandy beaches, and tons of beautiful resorts to choose from. The temperature averages 70 degress year round. The average rain fall is only about 10 inches. Sounds good already, right? At least you know the weather will be beautiful all year round. If you are on a budget the best time to travel is between May and September.

2. The Bahamas: Beautiful water and tons of snorkeling (you can go in caves too)! Take a boat to an island, have a picnic, and take a nap. Always wanted to swim with dolphins? The Bahamas offers one of the best experiences swimming with dolphins. This I can vouch for; need I say more about the Bahamas? Want to save a buck or two, go between May and November. That’s their down time.

3. Paris: Hello??? The most romantic city in the nation, that’s why it’s on the list. The food is said to be the best, the city very romantic, and the Eiffel Tower. Save a a few dollars and go during these months: April, May, June, September, and October. Don’t go in July or August. It’s said that is when the town of Paris takes it’s own vacation. Going during those months may not be as fun. Many shops, bistros, and other stores could be closed.

4. Lake Tahoe: If you are a couple that enjoy the outdoors, then this is a honeymoon for you. With the beautiful lake sitting on Nevada and California you have much to see. Skiing is said to be one of the best things to do while visiting Lake Tahoe. If you aren’t starring at a lake, you have mountains to see! It’s a beautiful place to visit any time of the year, however, the summer months and winter months are said to be their most popular times.

5. Hawaii: Any island is a great choice. However, if you are looking for romance I would stear away from the biggest island. There are a lot of skyscrapers and city life there. Head to the smaller islands where there is much to do and volcanoes to see. Like the first two destinations, April through November is the slowest, but not what we call slow. Hawaii is a year round destination for all, so it doesn’t slow down a whole lot.

Top 10 Honeymoon Destinations

AskMen.com recently updated their Top 10 Honeymoon Destinations list. It’s great to spy on a list from a men’s site so we can find out what they really want. Here’s their list:

10. Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

9. The Islands of the Bahamas

8. Nice, France

7. The Turks and Caicos Islands

6. Aspen, Colorado

5. Las Vegas, Nevada

4. Tahiti, French Polynesia

3. Africa

2. Costa Rica, Central America

1. Hawaii

Do you agree or disagree with any destinations on their list? I was surprised not to see St. Lucia (where I went) on the list this time. And really, I don’t know anyone who has gone to Africa for a honeymoon.

Where did you go, or where are you going?

Honeymoon in Napa Valley

Looking for a honeymoon destinations? Napa Valley is one of the most romantic places in the United States. The ocean, the hills, the food all combined with wine country sure sound inviting. As a matter of fact my husband and I are going to California for our one year anniversary. I have always wanted to go to Napa Valley and enjoy visiting wineries, check out the killer shopping, and see those famous Redwood Trees in Yosemite National Park.

There is a great deal to see and I highly recommend this destination as a honeymoon option. For more information you should check out Napa Valley’s visitor page. There is a great deal of information about the different wineries, hotels, activities, as well as famous restaurants. If you are interested in researching what there is to do, you can also sign up for their newsletter. They provide a free newsletter that is full of great information.