While destination weddings and honeymoons are becoming increasingly popular, they require careful, advanced planning. Details surrounding these life-changing events can be extremely stressful even when taking place close to home, so here are a few well-placed tips that should help you avoid some potential pitfalls when traveling abroad:
1. Leave yourself at least six months to locate the venue, meet with the on-site planner, decide on a guest list, and send out invitations with detailed information on room blocks, transportation options, and even suggested dress for the occasion. Plan on visiting your wedding destination well in advance of your event so that you and your future spouse know what to expect upon arrival. If it's an outdoor ceremony, make certain the venue has a backup site for the ceremony and reception in case the weather does not cooperate.
2. Your choice of honeymoon should reflect the likes of the bride and the groom. Do your research on-line, consult friends who have been there, and scour the web. If you like the beach, then consider the Caribbean where the sun is almost always shining, and the reception entertainment can include a flavor of the region. One of the most popular countries for honeymooners is The Bahamas, where the choice of locations vary from luxury villas to intimate cottages and even mega hotels.
3. Make sure you create a budget that everyone can agree on, whether you are paying for it yourself or other family members are footing the bill. It's easy to make last minute decisions that increase the expenses, but remember - these impulses can leave you starting married life with unexpected financial obligations.
4. Know the payment policies of your destination, such as cash only vs. credit card. Make sure to bring along your ATM card for those times when only cash or certain credit cards can be used. You should consider carrying some cash in the event that ATMs are not readily available.
5. Use common sense when visiting popular places after dark. Chances are you will be totally safe during your wedding or honeymoon visit, but it's a good idea to check with your concierge before venturing out into unfamiliar areas.
6. If you will be honeymooning in a country outside of where you currently reside, have your mobile phone adjusted to make long distance phone calls. And remember, roaming rates can end up with a surprisingly large bill, so keep your calls brief.
7. Bring along pre-addressed, stamped envelopes and a batch of thank you notes. Even honeymoons can provide some time to write those notes of appreciation for wedding gifts, well wishes, etc.
8. Contact the resort concierge regarding activities and "things to do" ahead of your wedding or honeymoon. Get their best recommendations on those "must see" places to visit. An experienced concierge has the "inside scoop" on all of this information and can provide you with what you need for a personalized tropical getaway.
9. Coordinate with your spouse on the wardrobe you'll be packing for the honeymoon. It's good to know ahead of time what is considered "resort casual" and if there are any suggested dress guidelines at your destination.
10. Make on-line tools your "go to" resource to review accommodations, recreation choices, the best beaches, and the honeymoon packages which surpass even your greatest expectations. That way, you'll have a trip you'll both remember for years to come.
These suggestions are brought to you by the warm and hospitable staff at Grand Isle Resort & Spa, the award-winning, all villa resort on Emerald Bay in Great Exuma, The Bahamas. We have hosted many happy honeymooners, and planned perfect destination weddings for couples from all over the world.