Looking to cut costs for your wedding? Destination weddings are becoming extremely popular for those couples who want to deter from the traditional church wedding and go for the more exotic (and, yes, frugal) option of having a fun wedding at another location! There are travel agencies that offer great package deals for your travel, hotel and wedding accommodations. Please keep in mind, if you’re planning for a huge affair, this idea is not for you. Destination weddings involving a large party would be a huge headache; it’s almost impossible to have your friends and families arrange their schedules to accommodate your event. If you’re planning a small wedding, read on…
Planning a destination wedding is great for numerous reasons. The rate of destination weddings has risen in the past few years, especially now that we have entered a recession. The reason for the sudden popularity?
- Budget -friendly for couples who don’t want (or need) the fuss and expense of a fancy wedding.
- A chance for those who would like a small, intimate affair with just close friends and families. Also, friends and family can take advantage of this and use this as a vacation as well. There are options for the bride and groom where they can have a free honeymoon if the wedding party and families book a certain number of rooms at the resort.
- Blended families? Bring the kids along! There are couples where one or both may be entering their second marriage and may want to have a wedding that differs from their previous wedding. Resorts and hotels now have kid- friendly activities and entertainment, as well as on-site babysitters to supervise the children, giving much needed privacy for the newlyweds.
- I have listed 5 tips for bringing your kids along with you:
- Bring a travel booster seat. Actually, this is a good tip even if you’re not going to a wedding in another country. I’ve seen jet-lagged, stressed-out guests literally break down in tears when they were told that the wedding venue didn’t have a high-chair for their child. Don’t be that mama- bring a booster seat.
- Bring Lots of Snacks: Parents of toddlers usually bring their child’s favorite foods with them when they eat out, but keep in mind that most weddings are all about the dinner– we’re talking 6 or more courses over nearly as many hours. Your toddler doesn’t have to sit at the table with you all that time, but a great way to occupy them while you sample a few of those courses is to have small finger foods like Cheerio’s or crackers or something on hand. Again, this isn’t something that most foreign restaurants or wedding venues will have, so it’s better to bring your own.
- Pack and Play: By now you know that traveling with toddlers means bringing lots and lots of gear. Unfortunately, that’s just the way it is (I swear it gets better after they’re 5). If you can manage to squeeze a pack-n-play into your check-in luggage, it would make your destination wedding experience go so much smoother. Since many weddings tend to last until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, your kiddo will have a safe, comfortable place to sleep while you dance the night away. If you just can’t swing bringing a pack-n-play with you, consider buying an inexpensive one once you’re here, or renting one for the day from an agency that rents baby equipment in the area.
- Find a Friend: One thing that I love about our annual visits home to the States is how well our children are taken care of when we’re out in restaurants. You get high-chairs, and crayons with kiddie placemats, and a waitress who gives you hugs and calls you “hon”. If you need a bottle or jar of baby food warmed up, it’s always “no problem”. See, in many countries, you don’t really get so much of that. So when you arrive at a wedding reception, rather than coming in and asking (in English) for a high-chair or bottle-warmer, I suggest that you scan the wait staff until you see someone who seems to be a bit warmer than the rest, and who probably has children of her own. When you get the help that you need, go out of your way to say thank you and let her know how much you appreciate her helping you out. All done discretely, in near-hushed tones. If executed correctly, you’ll swear that Mary Poppins was working that wedding.
- Hire a child minder: If you really want to enjoy yourself at this wedding, you should consider hiring a child minder for the evening. Now I’m not saying that you have to leave your baby in a hotel room with a stranger in a foreign country. I’m suggesting that you hire a babysitter who will take care of your little one with you at the wedding. Ask your hosts if you can purchase a meal for her (this will typically be a lower-priced, “menu service“- the meal that the dj, photographer, etc., is served behind-the-scenes.) Also, see if there are any other parents who may want to split the service and cost with you. Most hotel concierge services will be able to arrange an English-speaking child minder for you. Just ask then when you arrive at your hotel.
- Most resorts now offer marriage services and arrangements, such as on-site wedding coordinator, florists, photographers, catering, ceremony/ reception, marriage license, and officiator.
Before you exchange your “I do’s”… please look into the rules and regulations of the marriage laws of the state or country where you plan to marry. Research the laws and ask questions before you plan further. Here are the questions you should ask the travel agent or resort of the country that you’re interested in holding your nuptials:
- How much experience the hotel/ resort has in planning foreign weddings?
- The weather- find out the typical climate for the month or season you plan to marry.
- If wedding location is in a non-English speaking country; will there be English-speaking staff members available to assist you? I can’t think of anything worse to have a wedding where the language barrier prevents you from making your wishes known.
- Will your home state/country will recognize a wedding held in another state/ country as being legal and valid?
- Are blood tests are required? If so, what documents will you need to bring?
- Is there a residency period before the marriage can be performed?
- If divorced or widowed, will I need proof of documentation?
- What are the wedding fees for the event? Are there special hotel rates for members of the wedding party?
Remember to relax and have fun planning your honeymoon!
Read more articles about Destination Wedding planning at low cost solutions, please visit: http://www.yourbridalstop.com/.
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