Destination Wedding

5 Practical Considerations for Your Destination Wedding

viking travelHe popped the question, and you said yes! And now you’re dreaming of a ceremony in a far-off, exotic place, with your closest family and friends. Destination weddings have become increasingly popular in recent years, and there is no question why—who wouldn’t want to be married in a fairytale land with elephants or beach waves in the background?

These weddings do, however, come with some very practical concerns that you and your soon-to-be-spouse will need to think about. Here are 5 practical considerations to take into account before you jet off to far-away lands with the love of your life.

1.     Planning Time

Destination weddings take considerably longer to plan, especially since you are far-removed from the venue. The best option is to hire a wedding coordinator in-country to take care of most things while you are absent. It also just takes time to take care of items, such as booking hotel rooms, reserving venues and vendors, and sending out save-the-dates and invitations.

In order to display proper etiquette, you need to give your guests significant time to plan for your destination wedding. This is especially the case if they need to pay for the travel and accommodations themselves.

 2.     Licenses

Researching the perfect island and resort is fun, but the most important part of the wedding is actually getting married…and you can’t do that without the proper paperwork. As long as a marriage legally performed abroad adheres to basic American marriage laws, the union is considered valid in the United States. However, each country has very different qualifications for obtaining a marriage license, so it is important to research those thoroughly. You can find this information with the help of that country’s embassy or tourist information bureau.

While most requirements are related to necessary documents and fees, some countries necessitate residency of one or both parties, requiring you to live in the country prior to the wedding. For example, France requires at least one person to reside in country for at least 40 days! (Not that I would complain…).

In addition to general differences between the U.S. and other countries, there could be policy differences between a single country’s provinces, cities, or states. It all comes down to research, research, and research. Here is a little info on Wedding Insurance.

3.     Planning Expeditions

Not only do you need to factor in travel expenses for the wedding itself, but it is also smart to visit the venue and resort in person a few times during the planning process. This way, you can fully envision your ceremony and meet with your planner face-to-face to discuss details and logistics. You also might need to fill out licensing paperwork in person, so an extra trip might be required.

Plan a trip to your destination about 10 months before the wedding, and another optional trip about 3 months prior. And make sure you arrive with plenty of time before the wedding itself—you should arrive at least 4 days before the guests to finish up with last-minute tastings, décor decisions, and other planning business.

4.     Seasonal Differences

This might be a no-brainer, but depending on where you get married, there will be significant weather differences compared to where you and your guests live! When deciding on a destination, take into account seasonal switches when you cross the equator, and how that might affect the time of year you choose to wed.

Also pay attention to the wet and dry seasons of island and tropical locales—the last thing you want is a typhoon during your vow exchange. It is smart to prepare an informational brochure for your guests, outlining the expected weather conditions and appropriate attire.

5.     Decoration and Attire Transportation

In order to achieve those “personal” touches at the wedding ceremony and reception, you’ll probably want to make some of your own decorations and materials. These might include printed programs, a cake topper, favors for guests, and signage. The problem is, these items also have to make it to your destination.

If you want to just pack them in suitcases, plan early on which suitcases and which people will be transporting them. These people will probably be family or members of the bridal party. Be sure they know how much room to allow for the items at least one week before departure. Another option is to mail the items through an import and export business, directly to your wedding planner. This should be done about 5 weeks prior to your arrival.

You also need to transport one very important piece of clothing—your wedding dress. Be sure to request or purchase a travel bag made for wedding or evening dresses (a 72 inch long bag should work fine). Try to keep the bag hanging upright at all times, or laid across a flat surface. Never fold it!

While traveling in a car, lay the dress flat across suitcases in the trunk, or lay it across your lap in the backseat. While flying, ask the flight attendants if they could store the dress in the hanging closet. Sometimes, though, the closet is very small, and your dress could end up even more wrinkled. In this case, wait until surrounding passengers have loaded bags into the overhead compartments, and spread your dress flat across the tops of them. Pre-arrange with your wedding planner to have your dress (and your fiancé’s tux) steamed right when you arrive to the hotel.

While planning a destination wedding may seem more difficult, it just requires a little preparation and forethought. Otherwise, a good resort and wedding planner should take care of the rest. By planning these 5 items early on, you will be ready for a fun, stress-free, and unforgettable destination wedding.

It is always a good idea to contact a professional travel agent. Viking Travel can help you with all your destination wedding planning.

4 Little Legalities of Marriage

4 Little Legalities of Marriage

The question has been popped, the invitations sent, and the dress bought—but what about all of the boring, legal stuff? Here are 4 little (but important) legal matters to consider when you tie the knot.


The Pre-Nup

Oh, sorry. I didn’t mean to turn off the romance here. Pre-nups (formally, pre-nuptial agreements) aren’t just for the rich or pessimistic anymore. Talk to your fiancé about creating a pre-nup, or you can talk about a post-nup after you are married. A pre-nup will help protect you and your spouse should there be some problem with marriage in the future.

While this sounds like a “glass half empty” approach, here are a few situations that might cause you to call a lawyer: One (or both) of you

  • Own assets such as a house or stocks.
  • Owns all or part of a business.
  • Is expecting to receive an inheritance.
  • Is supporting the other through college.
  • Foresee a large increase in income.

If any of these situations apply to you, think about signing a pre-nup. It will not jinx your marriage, I promise. You can even create a “sunset provision,” which is basically an expiration date—if you last, let’s say, 10 years, then the pre-nup will be void. Some provisions you can include in an agreement are division of property, spousal support, provisions for specific ground of divorce (different results if you divorce because of infidelity versus just not getting along), treatment of future earnings, and the possession of assets. When drawing up the agreement, make sure you both have lawyers present and there is full disclosure between both parties.

The License

This part is pretty easy: you have to get a license to get married. Each state has slightly different rules regarding marriage licenses, but you will usually need two forms of identification and cash or check to pay a processing fee. Both the bride and groom need to be present. While it’s good to think ahead, don’t jump the gun too much on getting your license—most licenses will expire 30 to 60 days after issue. Also, some counties have exclusive licenses, meaning they can’t be used outside the county. So, check your county’s website to find more information on fees, expiration dates, and any other restrictions.

The Name Change

If you are going to opt for the tradition of taking your husband’s name, here are a few points to remember. (If you’re choosing to keep your name… just skip this section.) You need to change your name as soon as possible on all government and financial forms. This includes social security, bank accounts, credit cards, driver’s license, and any other identification cards. Doing this right after your wedding will save you a lot of time and confusion when you mistakenly sign your married name on an account still laden with your maiden name (from personal experience: it’s not fun). Look at the websites or call the offices of your accounts and government agencies to find out the specific actions needed for each change. Most of these changes will require a copy of your marriage certificate (which should be mailed to you the week after your wedding, from the license-granting county) and identification.

The Policies

Hey, remember those insurance policies? You don’t want to be caught driving your husband’s car without your name on that magic slip of paper. Often, combing car insurance policies will save you money. There are some cases where you’ll want to keep them separate, though—if your hubby-to-be has a bad driving record (or maybe you do…), or if one of you has a pricy ride, keep the policies separate. After deciding on car insurance policies, check on any other policies you might have. If you have life insurance, it is customary to name your spouse as a beneficiary. Look into buying a family plan for medical insurance, an option which might be cheaper than two individual plans.

Okay, the boring stuff is over now. Just remember these 4 little legalities of marriage as you prepare to walk down the aisle, and there will be a lot less stress after the honeymoon bliss!

Author Byline:

Victoria Ramos studied business and now blogs about developments in the field, as well as her other interests in law and marketing. She stays busy consulting for Lawyers in Barrie, socializing, hosting parties, decorating, and writing.