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Destination Weddings: A Special Time for Everyone!
Now that you are engaged, planning your wedding comes next—a monumental task with a matching price tag. Before you delve in, you need to really think about what you want and how you envision your special day.

A Destination Wedding is an exciting option to consider. These events have increased in popularity over the past decade: In 2001, only 8 percent of weddings were destination weddings. But a recent study showed a 92 percent increase in destination weddings over the next 5 years.

How to Make Your Decision

There are many reasons why a couple may choose a destination wedding. The bride and groom may have grown up in different places, moved around before meeting, and now find they have friends scattered around the country or even the world. Many of your guests may need to travel to your wedding and stay in hotels. So why not travel to somewhere new and exciting? Traveling to a unique location is your chance to make your wedding stand out from the rest.

A destination wedding may also allow you to control your guest list while controlling your budget. Not everyone’s schedule or checkbook will allow a trip to a far-off destination, and others may have difficulty traveling. This affords you the opportunity to make your wedding day more intimate by including family and close friends while not offending others.

Imagine Your Perfect Day

You first have to envision your wedding day. Do you want to be married on a beach, a ski slope, at sea, in a castle, or at a chapel in the Alps? First enlist the help of a Destination Wedding Specialist, who knows the ins and outs of the legal requirements pertaining to getting married away from home, as well as knowing the destinations themselves. Some destinations have made a special effort to simplify requirements to attract more “out of towners,” although many countries still have a residency requirement. It is best to work with a Destination Wedding Specialist who has knowledge of all of this, has experience in working with groups, and who is in close contact with onsite wedding planners at various venues.

Relax and Enjoy

Weddings over the years seem to have grown into weekend events. All-inclusive resorts are very popular for destination weddings and can accommodate weddings for 2 to 1,000 guests. Everything is at your fingertips, from onsite wedding chapels to spa treatments, golf venues, excursions, and even your rehearsal dinner. Many all-inclusive resorts have wedding planners on staff and offer wedding packages at a set price to include services of a clergyman or judge, flowers, photographers, wedding cake, photo album, music, hairstyling, makeup application, and ironing of your wedding dress. Working with a local Destination Wedding Specialist who can provide face-to-face, one-on-one assistance is crucial and can ease the stress of planning a wedding far from home.

Planning a wedding can be a joyous experience when you surround yourself with individuals who can provide expert advice and guidance. When my daughter indicated that she wanted a destination wedding I thought, “What fun!” and then, “I’ve never planned a destination wedding.” I knew immediately who to call, who could provide us with thoughtful ideas and help us develop the most amazing experience that would be hassle free for all. I called my friend and travel consultant, Debbie Johnson, who was eager to help us. It was important to me that I worked with someone who had done destination weddings before but who could find out from my daughter exactly what she wanted; my daughter had a picture of her perfect day already in her mind, she just needed to share that picture with Debbie.

We met with Debbie who asked my daughter a number of questions to help guide us in the planning process. These questions laid the foundation for what was the most amazing week of our lives. My daughter’s destination wedding involved two destinations. The first was a cruise ship that left Boston Harbor to Bermuda. Everything on the ship was meticulously planned and tailored to our needs, wishes, and dreams as a result of the countless hours and emails Debbie put in. The wedding itself was on a magnificent beach in Bermuda. Debbie put us in contact with a wedding planner there and we worked as a team to ensure that the day would go off without a hitch.

The best advice I can give anyone planning a destination wedding is to work with someone who has experience in destination weddings and contacts in various locations that can help you organize and deliver the wedding of which all brides dream. Meet with this individual and ask questions, explain what you want, and keep in constant contact with that individual. There will be bumps along the way but if you have a good working relationship with your consultant those bumps are just hiccups in the road. And, if you are as lucky as my daughter was, you’ll take your photographer with you so every moment of the adventure can be captured on film for all to enjoy later. Not every person you want to invite can attend a destination wedding, but if planned accordingly, a photographer such as the individual with whom we worked, can take those photos and create a way for you to share with the folks back home.

I still fondly think back to our week in July, where family and friends spent quality time together in celebration of the marriage my daughter and her husband. Most people plan for a day; we planned for a week and enjoyed every second thanks to the thoughtful guidance of Debbie. Her knowledge, experience, and expertise enabled everyone to enjoy a wedding that little girls dream of.

Planning the destination wedding of which little girl’s dream of is attainable for all when done with Debbie Johnson, travel consultant. Her attention to detail, breadth of knowledge, thoughtful approach to finding out exactly what the bride, the groom, and their families want helped us plan a magical week of wedding festivities on land and sea. If you can dream it, Debbie can make it happen. She takes the hassle out of planning enabling everyone else to enjoy each moment along the way. Her contacts are extensive, her knowledge of location superb, and her ability to work seamlessly with a variety of individuals a testament to her skills as a travel consultant.
Debra Nitschke-Shaw,Ph.D

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