With traditional weddings, a guest list isn't the first thing on your priority list, but with a destination wedding it should be. Your Plan A destination can quickly turn to Plan B depending on which guests are willing to travel.
If the destination is too far, too expensive or has a complicated travel schedule, relatives and friends -- especially elderly family members or those with children -- will possibly decline your invitation. You may need to rethink the location if your heart is set on certain guests sharing in your special day.
2. Ask folks to save the date
Timing is everything, and the sooner you let your guests know the wedding date, the sooner they can begin saving for it and planning their travel. Send out a save-the-date notice at least a year in advance.
3. Shop around
Compare a few destinations and research them thoroughly, including the amenities: hotel, villa, or all-inclusive resort? Weather predictability? Activities provided near accommodations?
Work with a travel agent to negotiate group rates and to help take the stress out of the planning process. Plus, a good travel agent will have seen much of the world's hot-spot locations, so they will be able to provide insight into a destination, not just quote what's in a brochure.
4. Enlist help
Find out if the accommodation or ceremony venue has an on-site wedding coordinator to help ensure your nuptials run smoothly. A coordinator is also a great resource to help you find local photographers, musicians, hair stylists, florists, and other services you might need for your wedding day. Some resorts provide these services in their wedding packages, so make sure to ask and read the fine print.
If your dream is to get married in a small village in Tuscany, for example, you may need the help of a translator. A coordinator can also help arrange this.
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5. Make it legal
Research marriage requirements, as each country will have slightly different regulations. A good starting point is to ask the local tourist board or government agency for the most current information. Obtain necessary travel documents like passports and divorce certificates well in advance of the wedding date.
6. Get there early
Plan to arrive a few days ahead of the wedding to take care of any final details. This will keep you from worrying about flight delays, lost luggage and other unexpected mishaps.
7. Don't forget the dress!
The thought of a lost or ruined wedding gown can send any bride-to-be into a state of panic. To ensure your dress arrives at its destination, make sure it travels with you -- don't ship it.
Check with the airline in advance for special item handling, but most airlines will consider a wedding dress as a carry-on item. Air Canada, for instance, allows wedding dresses to be stored in the overhead bin, provided they are within carry-on baggage size restrictions.
To protect fabrics, carry the dress in a garment bag. If wrinkled in flight, have it professionally pressed when you arrive at your destination.
For more travel tips, visit caamagazine.ca.
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