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Cheat Sheet

Destination Weddings For Dummies

From Destination Weddings For Dummies by Susan Breslow Sardone

If you're planning a destination wedding, you have extra details to consider such as how the wedding party will travel to the wedding site. Making arrangements by long distance means you have to be well organized, keep key contact information with you at all times, and be ready to hit the ground running when you reach your wedding site to make sure the event goes as planned. The Internet can help shorten the distance, but be sure you get familiar with online wedding lingo.

Getting to Your Destination Wedding: Items to Carry with You

While you travel to your wedding destination, never put certain personal items in your checked luggage — in fact, don't let the items in the following list out of your sight! Plan to carry the following items with you until you reach your destination:

Passports Contact info and emergency numbers (including guests)
Marriage license (if obtained at home) Updated planning file and copies of contracts
Birth certificates Eyeglasses and medications
Plane tickets iPod (to watch videos, store photos, and transport wedding music)
Cash, travelers checks, credit cards Digital camera
Bride and groom's wedding wear (including shoes) Wedding rings and other jewelry
No-Jet-Lag (it won't do you any good in your suitcase)

Contacts to Keep Handy while Planning Your Destination Wedding

As you plan your destination wedding, keep contact numbers for critical people close at hand so that you can call for help as needed. Keep a list of the phone number, cell number, and even e-mail address for the people in the following list with you during your wedding preparations and even after the wedding:

Travel agent On-site coordinator
Airline phone and e-ticket numbers Officiant
Maid of Honor Restaurant manager/Caterer/Baker
Best Man Musicians
Hotel contact Photographer
Wedding planner Local transportation

Your cell phone may not work overseas, so consider renting one when you arrive at the airport or picking up an international calling card.

Online Destination Wedding Lingo

You can discover a lot about destination weddings from perusing and using the community bulletin boards at Brides.com, the knot, and About.com: Weddings. However, the abbreviations on these message boards can be confusing at first. Some common ones you're likely to encounter and can start to use in your own posts (after you register, of course) include the terms in the following table.

Abbreviation Actual Term Abbreviation Actual Term
AHR at-home reception H2B husband-to-be
BFF best friend forever MIL, FMIL mother-in-law, future mother-in-law
BIL, FBIL brother-in-law, future brother-in-law MOB mother of the bride
BM best man, bridesmaid MOH maid of honor, matron of honor
DH dear husband, darling husband OOT bags out of town bags, welcome bags
FH future husband OTT over the top
FI fiancé PPL people
FIL, FFIL father-in-law, future father-in-law SIL, FSIL sister-in-law, future sister-in-law
FNF friends and family; guests SO significant other
FOB father of the bride, friend of bride STBMrs soon-to-be Mrs.
FOG father of the groom, friend of groom STD save the date
FW future wife TA travel agent
GBF gay best friend WP wedding planner
GM groomsman XW, XH ex-wife, ex-husband

Destination Weddings: Contact Information for Major Airlines

If your destination wedding involves flying to the location, call airlines directly to arrange discounted airfares rather than booking online. Discounts normally apply to groups of ten or larger. Because phone numbers aren't always easy to find online, the following list provides links and toll-free numbers so that you don't have to search endlessly for the number you want.

Airline Name and Link Toll-free Number Airline Name and Link Toll-free Number
Aer Lingus 800-223-6537 Icelandair 800-223-5500
Aero Mexico 800-237-6639 Jet Blue 800-538-2583
Air Canada 800-247-2262 Lufthansa 800-645-3880
Air France 800-237-2747 Mexicana 800-531-7921
Air Jamaica 800-523-5585 Northwest 800-225-2525
Alaska Airlines 800-252-7522 Qantas 800-227-4500
Alitalia 800-223-5730 Southwest 800-435-9792
American Airlines 800-433-7300 Spirit Airlines 800-772-7117
British Airways 800-247-9297 United Airlines 800-241-6522
Continental 800-523-3273 (within the U.S. or Mexico)
or 800-231-0856 (international)
U.S. Airways 800-428-4322
Delta 800-221-1212 Virgin Atlantic 800-862-8621
Hawaiian Airlines 800-367-5320

Checklist for after You Arrive at Your Wedding Destination

Having a checklist can help make wedding planning easier, especially if you're having a destination wedding. The number of wedding details you have to deal with after reaching the site of your destination wedding depends on the size and complexity of your event and whether you have help and can delegate some of the responsibilities. However, be sure not to overlook these details:

  • Introduce yourselves to the hotel manager and on-site wedding coordinator. Along with the chef and banquet or restaurant manager, they are core members of your destination-wedding team.

  • Unpack, press, and hang up wedding wear. If you don't have an iron, you steaming clothing outside a hot, running shower does the trick.

  • Obtain marriage license. Arrange to/from transportation and make sure you have all your documents, have met any advance requirements, and bring local currency to pay fees if necessary.

  • Choose your outdoor ceremony venue (if options are available and you haven't inspected the site previously) and schedule a rehearsal. Base your selection on ambiance, views, privacy, and availability of seating and shade.

  • Get the local weather forecast. Decide how to deal if prolonged rain, cold, heat, or humidity threaten an outdoor wedding.

  • Check on altar arrangements. If an altar or arch needs to be delivered or decorated, speak with your contact and confirm the time these elements will be in place.

  • See the florist. Finalize bouquet and boutonnière flowers and design and approve centerpiece arrangements.

  • Confirm the officiant's arrival time. Notify the officiant if there are specific vows or traditions you want incorporated in the ceremony.

  • Visit your rehearsal dinner venue. Give final headcount to the restaurant manager and confirm how the bill will be handled.

  • Inspect reception space. Focus on cleanliness and table arrangement. If you have a seating chart, provide a copy to the manager. Approve tablecloths and chair covers (are the colors you requested ones they can provide?). Look at an individual table setting for style. If you have questions about the flow of traffic and servers, ask. Also make sure you have ample space for dancing and musicians. Speak up now if issues arise.

  • Check on the cake. Confirm arrival time, pre-event storage, and display.

  • Book or confirm excursions for guest events. Consider the activity levels of your guests; you may want to offer options. Make sure that fees are charged to your account.

  • Pack, label, and arrange delivery of goody bags. One should await each guest in a visible spot in his or her room.

  • Build in some couple time. Soon enough, your guests will arrive. Do something fun, just for the two of you, to unwind before the big event.

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