Written By: Yvonne E White
A wedding is one of the most exciting times in a person’s life. However, it can be a disaster of epic proportions if it is not planned well. A getaway wedding can be a disaster of biblical proportions if all the many details are not put in their proper place. Remember, a wedding has many facets to begin: flowers, limousines, bride’s dress, groom’s tux, the all-popular bridesmaids’ dresses, and a photographer, just to name a few. Imagine if it were necesaary to haul all of this to Paris, France. No wonder many couples elope. But a getaway wedding is possible and, if planned right and with the correct attitude, can be truly the stuff of dreams.
What is a getaway wedding, really? It is a wedding that requires the attendees to travel. Many times it is set in exotic locations such as Hawaii, Paris, or Rome. However, it is not necessary to venture overseas. A getaway wedding can be set on a dude ranch in Arizona; on the beaches of Malibu, California; or Florida’s Disney World. To make this day the wonderful memory it should be, here are 10 important details to keep in mind.
Hire a destination wedding planner. This will go a long way in nailing down those details. Just tell the person what’s on the wishlist and give them the budget and set them to work. This will especially help with locations out of the country, as they will be more accustomed to local laws and such.
Plan well ahead. The average wedding should be planned at least 6-8 months before the glorious day. Depending on the location, a getaway wedding should be more in the neighborhood of 12-18 months before the day. That will give all the attendees plenty of time to plan the airfare, hotel, passport, and babysitting. To help with that planning, many hotel chains give wedding parties special rates if they all stay in the same hotel. Call early, especially if the wedding will happen in the busy season, such as a
Christmas wedding in Aruba.
Set the budget and stick to it. Wedding costs can get out of control quickly. Factor in any little extras like welcome bags for the quests and decorations for the reception hall. Also know what is included in any packages. Read the entire contract and understand it before leaving a signature.
Remember to check the weather. This is most important if it will be an outdoor wedding. Check online and with travel professionals to know when hurricane season starts and ends, for example.
Create the guest list. Will it be a more personal affair with just family and a few friends, or a more lavish event? Remember to include all members of the wedding party, like the ring bearer and flower girl. Also, since food will be served, check for allergies to shellfish, fresh fruit, and peanuts among the quests.
Have a wedding checklist. Have a master list that includes all the details that need to be organized, bought, arranged, and completed. For anything that needs to be purchased, such as party favors or decorations, set them aside in an area reserved for wedding materials.
Choose the vendors carefully. Make sure to check references and not just the ones online. If a wedding planner is not in the works, take a trip to meet them. If a trip is not possible, have a video chat before the decision is made. Have several vendors to choose from.
Take the dress. Do not check the wedding dress in. Carry it on the plane. If an airline were to lose a bag, it would be the one that held the dress.
Make sure the marriage is legal. Many countries and territories have strict laws governing foreign marriages. If permitted, there will be much paperwork to fill out. To avoid this, have a simple ceremony at home then the symbolic one in paradise.
Lastly, have fun. Remember, this is a beautiful time that will never come again. When the stress seeps in, take a deep breath and step away for a while. Don’t be a one-man or woman show. Delegate tasks whenever possible.