Sapphire water, sandy sun-kissed beaches and palms swaying in a balmy breeze… If, like many brides, you’re dreaming of a wedding that’s huge on romance, exciting beyond belief and unimaginably special, then a destination wedding might be just your style.
Perhaps an island wedding appeals, or how about zipping off to marry in Paris, the romance capital of Europe? Disney World, anyone? With Cinderella’s castle as a backdrop and an Elvis look-alike celebrant, you’d be sure of some fascinating wedding photos. Or you could stay at home. Australia is rich in wonderful wedding destinations, from vineyards and mountains, to snowfields and sandy beaches. Prefer the idea of a rural retreat or an outback adventure? No problem. And if an über-chic urban ceremony’s your dream, you have some of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world to choose from. Most Australian resorts and hotels offer special wedding and honeymoon packages with great accommodation rates for you and your guests. However, you’ll need to book well in advance, particularly if your wedding date coincides with a peak holiday season.
Ask your travel consultant (or go online) to check the special rates some airlines offer to wedding groups. No matter whether you want a completely private wedding, or an opportunity for the whole family to get away together, a destination wedding is the perfect solution.
If you decide to invite guests, you can always stay on at your chosen destination for a few extra days to enjoy each other’s company… solo! And when you arrive home, hold a reception party so that your nearest and dearest are included in your celebration. Other destination wedding pluses? They are less stressful and you’ll be amazed at how cost effective they can be: compare the expense of an ‘at home’ wedding to the cost of escaping to an exotic location where you can get married, enjoy an extended honeymoon and return home with money left over.
And destination weddings are like one long holiday. Arrive at your chosen location a few days before your ceremony to ensure everything’s ready to go and when the big day arrives, you’ve already enjoyed time by yourselves before sharing some priceless moments with your family and friends. Best of all, you make all the rules. Want to say “I do” wearing a bikini? Go ahead. A ceremony at the top of your favourite ski run before schussing down the slopes to join your guests? Why not!
Are you loving the wedding destination idea but feeling nervous about the logistics? Let’s look at some planning basics. When choosing a location, consider your guests’ budgets and time constraints, and your wedding day style. Are you willing to be flexible about some features of your wedding to save money, time, and your sanity? Also, check whether your chosen destination has easy access to wedding service providers.
Get a rough idea of guest numbers and investigate possible group discounts and low season specials. And in case you were wondering, guests should pay their own expenses. However, the bride and her family should cover the bridesmaids’ accommodation, and the groom and his family should do the same for the groomsmen.
Thinking of an overseas destination? Start your planning early. Investigate the legal requirements for marriage in your country of choice, as well as arranging travel, accommodation and venues. Once you have all the details, create an information pack for your guests and set up a wedding website. There are many providers that will host your site as a free service with an RSVP function, plus essential information like transport and accommodation options, dress code and gift registry details.
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