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Destination: Wedding Paradise

Updated: Sep 12, 2019

Every couple is different. Which means every wedding vision is different. Some brides like the traditional low-tempo processional music, while others prefer a modern upbeat pop or rock hit. There is nothing wrong with a beautiful indoor ceremony held in a church or chapel, but a growing trend among couples today is to break away from the traditional venues and move their big day to a destination location. Whether it be a beach, the mountains, or a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean, there is a lot of details involved in preparing the perfect destination wedding.

Location. Location. LOCATION!

There are some couples that already have a special place for their wedding picked out before they even begin planning, but others may not have a specific destination in mind. When choosing the perfect location there are a few things to consider, such as "Where do I see myself saying 'I do'?". It is important to get a general vision of what you want the ceremony and reception to look like. This will play a big role in deciding which locations are best. Photo board websites, such as Pinterest, can help visualize certain wedding ideas and give you a chance to picture them in the location options. But before you pick a place and begin booking vendors and flights, be sure to set your budget! No one wants to find the perfect destination only to be disappointed when they discover it is out of price range. Have a set amount that you are willing to spend and stick with it. Some locations, such as cruise ships, have wedding packages that include a lot of the extra details all in one price, whereas most beach locations are all do-it-yourself projects or require extra vendors. So it is important to check what all is included in the pricing - do your research. After reviewing several options, be sure to narrow it down to the top choices and compare them to find which one is best suited for the needs of the couple. A destination wedding can be a meaningful place, something fun and easy, or just a new location for the soon-to-be newlyweds to experience together with their loved ones. Speaking of loved ones, don't forget to take your guest list into account when choosing your location as well. Travel costs, distance, and accommodations are all something to take into consideration when asking your guests to be a part of your dream wedding.

Dare to Prepare.

Deciding on a location is only the beginning of arranging a destination wedding. Now that you have chosen a place, it is time to properly prepare for all of the planning that follows. Be sure to start by picking a wedding date, if you haven't already done so. Some people have an absolute set date, and others can be a little flexible based on vendors, pricing, or guests. But once you have chosen a date it is a little easier to begin other preparations. A lot of couples tend to forget an important detail when planning a wedding out of their area, and sometimes out of their home state - marriage license requirements! All states are different in what they require for marriage license, and a lot of times it even differs from county to county. For instance, in the state of Alabama, a couple can apply for their marriage license in any county within the state as long as the wedding is being held in Alabama, and the license is only valid for 30 days. While the state of Hawaii has very similar requirements, in Florida a marriage license is valid for up to 60 days. Also, in Georgia, is neither party is a resident on the state, the license must be acquired within the county where the marriage is being performed. All of this information is good to know when traveling for your big day. It is also beneficial to be familiar with the area you will be planning your wedding. Be sure to set time aside to visit your location beforehand - preferably multiple times, if possible. This will help give you an idea of the surrounding area, travel time, and best vendor options. When choosing your vendors there are a few things remember in order to reduce the hassle, stress, and headache. As stated before, do your research! If there are any vendors that you may want that are not local, be sure to take travel costs into consideration when budgeting or asking for pricing. Another option is to look into wedding planners or local rental companies that provide all-inclusive packages to minimize the amount of vendors you have to book. Be sure to also look locally in regards to catering and rentals. There are plenty of websites with ratings for vendors in all areas. Thumbtack is a wonderful website and app that can help find locals and request quotes directly from them. Keep in mind also, WellDunn Entertainment is not limited to the Birmingham area. In fact, we recently provided wedding entertainment and dj services for a lovely couple in Panama City Beach, FL! A special thanks to Wild Heart Visuals and our very own D.J. Mason for providing the photographs below

Assuming that you have taken a few trips to visit your location and gotten everything together to plan your wedding smoothly, now you can start making some "final" preparations. It is important to do your research in order to check tourist seasons, venue spots, weather patterns, etc. This includes researching hotels and blocking off rooms in plenty of time for your guests to make reservations. Some hotels even give a group rate based on how many rooms you block off. But be sure to check the fine print so you are not fined if all the rooms are not filled by a certain date. Also, whether your ceremony is outside on a beautiful beach or in a cabin overlooking snow-capped mountains, you can never assume that the weather is going to be perfect even though that is what we are all hoping for. Obviously long-term forecasts, like ones from The Almanac, are not one hundred percent accurate but can give a good estimate of things like temperature and humidity during the time around your wedding date. We all know that weather can be unpredictable, so always have a backup plan! Even if you never have to go with plan-B, it is better to have it ready to help avoid any last minute stressful hiccups. As an example for outdoor weddings, be sure to have tent rentals handy or an indoor location available. Weather is not the only hiccup that can occur when it comes to destination weddings. In most locations, such as beaches, the area is open to the public. This means there may be others that are unaware you are getting married and may try to use "your" area for their own plans. Blocking off ceremony or reception areas can help avoid this type of potential catastrophe. However, some public beaches do not allow blocking off areas before a certain time so be sure to ask the proper authority. The possibility of losing your spot at a public location is always there, so it is helpful to have a second setup location in mind just in case.

Design a Destination Guest List.

Inviting guests to a destination wedding is a little different than inviting them to the lakeside ceremony 15 minutes outside of town. Guests must commit the time and money to attending a wedding located out of town. With this being said, not all guests can incorporate traveling a great distance, essentially for a weekend getaway, to witness your nuptials unless they are given enough time and notice to do so. It is very important to give your guests at least 6 to eight weeks, if not longer to make the proper arrangements. One thing about a destination wedding is that most couples understand what they are asking from their loved ones in order to attend and keep the guest list simple and more personal with close friends and family only. But don't worry, this doesn't mean that people will not pull out all the stops to be there for you on your big day, and those are usually the ones who understand how important this day is and what it means to them as well to be there for you. Just keep this in mind when making your list of people to invite. It is good to have two lists to go by when planning everything out. The initial list, also called an A-list, is the people who you know will be there for you no matter what. These guests are the ones you are confident can make the trip to physically be there. A-list guests are typically made up of immediate family, bridal party, close friends, and other family members such as close aunts and uncles. When making your secondary list, known as a B-list, keep a few ideas handy. These guests may not all be able to commit the time and financial obligation to be there on your big day, but can support you in other ways such as wedding showers and bridal teas. Just because a guest cannot make it to a destination wedding does not mean that are not honored to be considered as one of your guests. Some couples actually give a set amount of invitations (usually only 5-10) to their parents to disperse themselves to family members or family friends. This is putting some of the guest list responsibility in the hands of your parents, but keeping a limit on the number of people that are invited. A lot of couples also write down a side list of potential guests, then go through that list and use the "year-rule": have you talked to that person within the last year, or do you see yourself keeping up with that person over the next year? Usually, if the answer is 'no', then that guest can be ruled out.

Just Married...... Now What?

You are ready! This destination wedding of your dreams is set in motion and you have prepared for everything possible to make it as magical as you can imagine it. But wait, what about after the wedding? Have you thought about a honeymoon? If planning to stay in the vacation spot chosen for your wedding, be sure to plan accordingly to separate yourself from your guests who may also be staying for a vacation of their own. Your honeymoon is supposed to be for you and your new spouse to focus on each other and enjoy your time as newlyweds. There will be plenty of time to spend with your loved ones after you return. A good way to do this is by making hotel arrangements away from where your guests are staying. If you have encouraged your guests to visit certain sites, try to avoid those sites until you know that you will not be bothered when visiting. Some couples prefer to get married in a beautiful destination location, and then travel to an even more remote location to honeymoon. For these couples, be sure to take into account your exhaustion level when making your travel arrangements. Be sure to know where you will be flying out of and at what time. Also, keep in mind that returning flights go home, and not back to your wedding location. In this instance, be sure to make plans for a family member or trustworthy friend to travel back with your dress, suit, gifts, and decorations safely. Since these are all things that you probably do not want to travel with.

Happy Wedding Planning!

Hopefully, all of these tips will help you survive (and even enjoy) the wedding of your dreams! There are so many options for destination weddings, and we here at WellDunn Entertainment are always here to help out couples through their planning process. Be sure to subscribe for our blog updates to keep up with any wedding planning tips, company news, travel blogs, and more. Also click the share button to keep your friends and followers posted as well. For questions or inquiries, feel free to contact us at or

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