Guest Author - Beth Helmstetter
Considering a tropical affair? Read on for tips on what to do and not to do while planning your destination wedding.
1. DO be realistic about your hair & makeup options. While an island wedding can be a dream come true, tropical breezes, heat and humidity can do damage to hair and makeup. When planning a destination wedding, take the elements into consideration before choosing your hair style. For a beach or other outdoor ceremony, seriously consider an updo. This tried and true style will keep you looking polished all night. If you are determined to wear your locks down, invest in a stylist to spend the day with you touching up your makeup and hair so you do not have a tangled and messy do by the time you enter the reception.
2. DON’T put your groom and groomsmen in a Tuxedo if planning an outdoor tropical affair. While many brides cannot envision anything but a tux, any attire that is black and made of wool is a no-no in tropical climates. While this may look good for pictures, a fainted groom or groomsmen will put a damper on your day. Consider going with the island feel with your groom in a lightweight linen suit.
3. DO wind proof your décor. When creating place cards, favors and other décor for your tropical celebration, keep in mind that the wind can be your enemy. You can personalize, and wind proof, these details with a little creativity. If having a beach affair, tie seashells to each place card. On the dinner table, weigh your menus and dinner napkins down with maracas made of coconut shells. If tall centerpieces are your dream, have the florist secure the centerpieces to a heavy object such as a larger mirror. She can always cover these mechanics by lining the vases with ti leaves, palms or another natural element that will carry out your theme.
4. DO entertain your guests. A destination wedding is definitely more work than a hometown affair, simply because you have not only invited guests to your wedding, but you have also invited them on vacation. For this reason, plan days at the beach, a sunset cocktail hour or other simple activities where your guests can spend time with you without breaking your budget.
5. DON’T feel obligated to plan every minute. On the other hand, guests are on vacation too. Do provide them with activity options and a short itinerary for the week so they know where to find you. However, definitely allow them time to explore the island on their own.
6. DO be flexible. Whether it is about the minister or the décor, recognize that with a destination wedding you may not have as many options from the clergy, to the photographer to the flowers. If you are set on a Lutheran minister or an 8mm cinematographer, recognize that you may have to fly someone in to handle these tasks. However, going into the event being flexible will relieve stress on everyone’s part and save you a few bucks as well.
7. DON’T go it alone, but DO shop around. Never plan a destination wedding completely on your own. In doing so, you are risking disappointments like your cake not showing up, flowers being late, etc. While it is not necessary to hire an independent wedding planner to get you through everything, make sure the hotel or location you are marrying has someone with your best interests in mind.
8. DO trust the experts. You’ve found the best vendors to handle your day. Trust your judgment and their guidance, especially in a location where you may or may not have visited. While things like where the sun is setting and high tide may not be of concern to you, it will definitely be on the mind of your wedding planner as well as your other vendors, who are ultimately there to ensure you have a flawless wedding day.
9. DON’T expect everyone you invite to attend. Traveling is expensive, especially to some of the world’s top tropical destinations. Because of this, expect a certain percentage of your guests to decline your invite. While this can be initially disappointing, it will make for a much more intimate celebration.
10. DO embrace the culture. Island life is like no other. Because of this, you would be doing your guests an injustice if you did not introduce them to the unique culture of the location of your choice. It doesn’t have to be anything as out there as a ceremony with Polynesian chanting, but some touches are great. When in Hawaii, consider greeting your guests with a lei, or hire a hula dancer for the dinner hour. If you’re in the Caribbean, start your cocktail hour off with Mojitos and a steel drum player.
No matter what, remember that you choose an island wedding to relax and give your guests an experience like no other. If you keep this in perspective throughout the planning, your wedding celebration will seem perfect even if there are a few hiccups in the week.