wedding planning

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First Things First

Wedding Planning Timeline
How Are We Going to Pay for All This?


Spreading the Word

Choosing Wedding Invitations
Wedding Invitation Wording
Wedding Invitation Etiquette


Keeping Your Sanity

Avoiding the Guilt Trap
Advice from the Bride
Top 10 Wedding Stress Busters



Setting the Mood

Finding a Wedding Location
A Guide to Wedding Flowers
Wedding Centerpiece Ideas


Shaping Up

Get in Shape for the Big Day
Online Personal Training


Dressing the Part

Wedding Gown Guide
Proper Groom's Attire
Shop for Wedding Shoes


Oh, Behave!

Wedding Etiquette Tips
Bachelorette Party Ideas
Bachelor Party Ideas


Eat, Drink and Be Married

Wedding Catering Options
A Guide to Wedding Cakes


'Tis Better to Give...

Wedding Favor Ideas
Bridesmaid Gift Ideas
Groomsman Gift Ideas


Making Your Getaway

Destination Weddings
Honeymoon Planning Tips


Beyond the Big Day

Newlywed Cooking Tips
Financial Advice for Newlyweds


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Destination Weddings: Escaping Expectations


Have you ever thought about tying the knot in a beautiful, exotic location? What could be more romantic than jetting off to one of your favorite places in the world and exchanging vows in a unique and picturesque setting?


Unfortunately, many couples abandon this dream because they feel obligated to take the plunge closer to home. As soon-to-be-newlyweds, it's easy to succumb to the expectations of your friends and family rather than get married the way you really want to…especially when one or both of your parents are footing the bill.


All that being said, it is possible to have your wedding exactly where you want it to be while still including your close friends and family. The key is planning ahead. Send out save-the-date cards close to a year in advance to give potential guests the opportunity to plan the trip. Many people will probably be delighted to have an excuse to visit a lovely, far-off locale, but you must give them time to plan their vacation around your wedding date.


Destination weddings are more practical than you may think. In many cases, they save money; many locations offer all-inclusive wedding packages for just a few thousand dollars or less. They also allow you to be creative in how you plan your wedding. For example, a beach wedding may allow you to forego flowers and formal attire altogether. Remember that this is your day and you and your beloved deserve to have exactly the wedding that you want. Your close family and friends will be more than happy to join you if you give them enough notice.


Tips for Planning your Destination Wedding:

If you plan to get married outside of the country, contact the country's consulate, US Embassy or Tourism Bureau for marriage license requirements. Make sure you understand all legal details and are able to produce all required documentation.


If you plan to marry within the U.S., contact the county's marriage license bureau well ahead of time to make sure you produce all required documentation and allow time for processing.


Book your trip through money-saving online services such as any travel site of your choice.


If you don't have much time to do the planning yourselves, consider having your wedding on a cruise ship or at a beach resort that offers package deals including all of the ceremony and reception details. These wedding and honeymoon packages can also save you a lot of money.


Unless you book your wedding ceremony and celebration at a tried-and-true location that offers complete wedding packages, plan on visiting your wedding destination ahead of time to make the arrangements yourself.


Consider weather conditions when choosing a date.

Research the weather patterns of your wedding destination ahead of time to make sure you aren't booking your wedding during monsoon season.


Get the final price and all ceremony and reception details in writing ahead of time so that you aren't in for any unpleasant surprises on the day of your wedding.


Make accommodation arrangements for your guests. Get a final guest count a month or two ahead of time and contact hotels near your destination wedding location to reserve enough rooms. Many hotels and airlines offer discounted group rates, so inquire.


Decide what type of attire you and your bridal party (if there is one) will wear. An elaborate wedding dress may not travel well, so it might be wise to opt for a casual ceremony. If you do want to wear formal attire, scout out credible tailors and dry cleaners in your location ahead of time.


Top 5 Planning Tips

1. Get a dedicated credit card for all of your wedding expenses so that you can dispute the charge if a deal falls though.

2 Earn miles toward your honeymoon with a frequent flyer miles credit card from

3. Get the best deal on airfare, hotel and rental cars for your honeymoon through any travel site of your choice.

4. Create your own web page at with information about your wedding date, location, gift registries, and hotels for out-of-town guests.

5. If you plan to take your spouse's name, get a Name Change Kit to ensure you cover everything.