A Perfect Getaway: Destination Wedding Do's

Don’t you just love vacations? The anticipation, planning and finally getting on the road is half the fun: tomorrow I’ll be heading out for a week-long break (yay!). Destination: The Outer Banks of North Carolina, one of my favorite places on the East Coast. The beaches are wide and beautiful and the natural scenery is gorgeous—nothing beats those amazing sunsets over the bay. True, the area has certainly been built up considerably in the past few decades, but there’s still enough of that laid-back beach charm to make it the ideal place for R&R. And if you want to honeymoon close to home, I highly recommend the Outer Banks: you’ll find great inns, hotels, restaurants, shopping and can choose to be active (biking, hiking) or just chill with a good book.

Of course, heading to the sandy shores got me thinking about beach weddings and how dreamy and romantic they are. Many of you may even be considering having a wedding away, so I decided to ask destination wedding expert Lisa Light to share some of her best tips. Lisa has been in the biz for 19 years and averages about 20 destination weddings a year. Her book DESTINATION BRIDE: A Complete Guide to Planning Your Wedding Anywhere in the World (North Light Books) is the bible for anyone getting married away from home. I was curious…with all those weddings she planned in over 40 destinations, what did Lisa consider to be the most important tips? Here’s what she said:

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  • Set a realistic budget and know what you have to spend.
  • Insure your wedding. Visit wedsafe.com and you’ll have some peace of mind should the unexpected occur (dare we say…hurricane?).
  • Send save-the-dates as soon as you know the location and day to give guests plenty of time to make arrangements.
  • Be sure to create a website for your wedding where you can keep guests informed about details, post links to local attractions, etc.
  • Research local vendors and only bring what you can’t find at the destination. You can find great, local treats for gift baskets and favors.
  • Do a planning trip. Take time to visit the location, meet with vendors and the resort’s staff. Check out areas where you’d like to have the rehearsal dinner, cocktail party, ceremony, reception and day-after brunch. You won’t want to discover that your intimate beach ceremony is smack in the middle of a public beach!
  • E-mail eases planning: Send photos of flowers and cakes you like to the local pros so that you’re all on the same page.

I had one final question for Lisa. What are some of her favorite places to wed? Answer: Belize, France, Scotland, Italy, Bali. And for more great planning tips and destination ideas, visit Lisa’s sites: destinationbride.com and lisalightltd.com. Now, I’m off to stock up on some sunscreen…see you in a week!

—Diane Forden