Destination Weddings For Dummies
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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Aero Mexico||800-237-6639||Jet Blue||800-538-2583|
|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)
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.