Destination Weddings Make Beautiful Memories

A vineyard in summer, a beach at sunset, a glen in the midst of towering trees or an exciting cosmopolitan city-all are great destination choices for a wedding. Many couples choose locations with romantic associations, such as where they grew up or became engaged. Others choose wedding destinations for the fun or scenic backdrop they offer. Favored wedding destinations in the U.S. include the Sonoma-Napa Wine Country, and Hawaii. Las Vegas tops the list as the most chosen destination wedding site. From elopements to grandiose affairs of 200 guests, destination weddings have tripled in popularity in the last three years.

Local help If you don’t have family in the area or a trusted someone who can perform the necessary research for you, hiring a wedding planner and coordinator is a must for your destination wedding. A local coordinator will assist you in finding the perfect reception site, source and secure vendors, make telephone calls, tend to local errands and save you unnecessary trips to the destination. Utilize the Internet for research or call the Chamber of Commerce or Convention and Visitors Bureau to locate a coordinator. Most offer very helpful “wedding packets” that list services you will need.

If you haven’t hired a wedding coordinator, plan on making four to six trips to the destination; one to two trips to locate the site, an additional trip or two for hiring vendors, one trip a few months in advance of the wedding to finalize the details, and the final journey to attend your rehearsal, ceremony and reception. Make the most of your time by calling ahead and scheduling appointments for your planning trips. Many locations fill quickly, so planning at least 12 to 18 months ahead is highly recommended.

Weekend weddings Have you always dreamed of Maui at sunset? Most couples planning a destination wedding prefer an intimate feel to their special day and wish to have very close family and friends in attendance; thus the creation of an entire weekend wedding concept. Friday evening starts out with the wedding rehearsal and dinner. All guests that have traveled a great distance should be invited to the rehearsal dinner and perhaps a drop-in barbeque the day of the wedding (or the day following). Golf, wine tours, spa treatments or sightseeing events are commonly scheduled for guests the day after the ceremony.

Pre-wedding letters are a must for a destination wedding. Your guests will appreciate being alerted to the schedule of weekend activities, information about the area, overnight accommodations, and particular points of interest.

Other considerations Laws differ from state to state. Avoid last-minute surprises by checking the marriage license laws in the state where you will marry. Most states require a waiting period and blood tests, along with the necessary paperwork. California laws have become less stringent in the last few years. In addition to the scenic vineyards, the elimination of waiting periods and blood tests have probably contributed to the popularity of Northern California Wine Country.

Las Vegas is most popular for elopements and round-the-clock fun! Each Hawaiian island has unique features, making Hawaii a top choice for intimate, romantic tropical weddings. Finally, couples who love food and wine are drawn to the California Wine Country.

Coordinating a destination wedding requires additional planning and funds due to the added cost of airfare for several trips to the site, hotel accommodations and long-distance phone calls. However, destination weddings are preferred by couples who want a one-of-a-kind wedding memories. Destination weddings make guests feel extra special and give the wedding couple a memory-filled place to visit for joyous anniversary celebrations.

Robbin Montero is the Wine Country’s premier weddin

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So You Think You Want to Do a Destination Wedding at Sandals Or Beaches Resorts?

Thinking of a Destination Wedding at Sandals & Beaches? Here is what you need to know! First things first: Location, Location Location! This is probably the hardest part of the planning process. So many great choices, how do you know which is the best resort for you? Sandals and Beaches Resorts are located in Jamaica, Bahamas, Antigua, Cuba, and St. Lucia. Its important to do your research on each country, because each offer very unique experiences. For example, the Bahamas are very westernized, and have a very western feel to its shopping and excursions. Scuba diving and Snorkeling are excellent in the Bahamas; however Jamaica, offers so many more excursion options, with its natural waterfalls, mountains, and great beaches. A destination wedding consultant can help you decide.

What next: Sandals has 12 unique resorts, and all offer a different feel and atmosphere, It is good to talk with an expert who knows the properties, so that you can get your information. Once you know which resort we want to go with, you’ll need to be prepared to at least make a deposit on your own room so that the wedding day can be secured (See “How to Book your Sandals & Beaches Wedding” below). A destination wedding consultant can give you room recommendations based on what you are looking for and a category that will give you the free wedding. Sandals & Beaches offer great wedding packages. Most wedding packages are similar for each resort. You should review the all inclusive wedding packages to see what package that is best for you. Make sure you have all the information you need on legal requirements and documentation needed to get married on the island you chose. If you are doing a symbolic ceremony, this won’t be necessary. You can connect with a U.S. based wedding coordinator for your resort where you will learn about the wedding packages, ceremony locations, reception locations and extras that you can add to your day. You will want to make sure you have all your questions answered so that your wedding process is effortless and smooth sailing and help you get all your documentation in on time. If needed, you can get a group contract set up and make sure that your guests will get the best pricing available. A destination wedding consultant can make sure your wedding is set up properly so that you get all the extra perks you deserve!

Wedding Extras (to name a few): Accessories (cake cutter, champagne glasses, party favors, attendant gifts etc), Destination Wedding Dress, Photography, Videography, Web Streaming, KATT Cruise, Sesame Street Character for 30 minutes at reception (Beaches), DJ, Steel Drum Band, Violinist, Saxophonist, Soloist, Candlelight dinner for Bride & Groom, private transfers, Hair, Makeup, Nails, Spa treatments, Standard Cocktail reception, Private Cocktail reception, Private Dinner, Private Reception & Dinner. Wedding Inclusions Picturesque Wedding Location Bridal Bouquet & Groom’s Boutonniere Pre-Recorded Musical Accompaniment Marriage Officer Sparkling Wine & Chilled Hors d’oeuvres Reception for Bride, Groom and Two Guests (30 minutes) Two-tiered Caribbean Wedding Cake Personal Wedding Consultant Honeymoon Dinner for Bride & Groom Continental Breakfast in bed the next morning One (1) 5×7 Wedding Photograph Preparation of Marriage Documents Certified Marriage Certificate Special Wedding Gift Please note:

• All wedding themes include table for bride and groom and 2 guests.
• Additional tables for guests (up to 8 each) are available for an additional cost.
• Room bookings made at Premium level or higher at Beaches Resorts will be eligible for a Free WeddingMoon™ with a minimum stay of 6 nights. Room bookings made at Concierge level or higher at Sandals Resorts will be eligible for a free WeddingMoon with a minimum 6 night stay.
• Government and administrative fees apply to wedding bookings that are not eligible for the Free WeddingMoon™ $200 (Jamaica), $400 (Antigua), $500 (St. Lucia), $500 (Bahamas) and $700 (Turks & Caicos).
• Payment policy for Beautiful Beginnings and Renewal of Vows is a $200 deposit within 7 days of booking.
• Final balance is due 60 days prior to travel.
• Cancellation policy for Weddings and Renewal of Vows is non-refundable within 45 days prior to arrival.

How to book your Sandals or Beaches Wedding: It is beneficial to book your wedding as far in advance as possible, especially if you have a particular date and if it is a Holiday weekend. So, how far in advance should you book your Destination Wedding? If possible, 1 ½ – 2 years before hand, at least one year. If you don’t have this much time, that’s okay. Many times a destination wedding consultant can help you get your wedding date secured. The first thing we will do is secure your room with the $400 deposit. Once you have that, your wedding date and time will be held as well as a group code. The group code will be used if we choose not to have a group contract and will assist you in receiving any group amenities you may qualify for (like a free upgrade). If a group contract would be better for your group, I will let you know. As a reference, the group contract is definitely beneficial if you are booking in advance and you have 5 or more rooms. This will ensure the low rate (rates always increase and booking in advance will save everyone money) plus gives everyone in your group an upgrade. A 10% deposit is required to secure a group which will hold a block of rooms and is generally paid by the bride and groom. This money will be applied toward your personal room as guests call me to secure their space. A group contract will be the 10% deposit for all rooms held, not the $400 room deposit mentioned above. Once the contract is in place and the deposit is made, The wedding date and time can be secured. Call a destination wedding expert for details!, You will receive expert & honest advice and direction to ensure you have all the information you need to choose the resort and location that is best for you. When you have a question, you’ll have someone to go to. A destination wedding consultant can assist you and your guests with the travel process and will set up transfers and extra activities.

Legal Requirements:
• Jamaica: Residency of 48 hours (includes weekend arrivals)
• Bahamas: Residency of 48 hours (2 full business days – Friday arrival will allow a Wednesday wedding)
• Antigua: Residency of 48 hours (must include 1 business day, Friday arrival will allow a Monday wedding)
• St. Lucia: Residency of 72 hours (3 business days, day of arrival/weekends not included. Friday arrival is Thursday wedding, Monday arrival allows Friday wedding)
• Turks & Caicos: Residency of 48 hours (day of arrival and weekend not included…a Friday arrival allows a Thursday wedding)

Documentation required: For Jamaica and Turks/Caicos only:

documents must be mailed
Notarized copies of bride and groom’s state-issued birth certificates
Notarized copy of divorce decree final judgment (if applicable)
Notarized copy of spouse’s death certificate and related marriage certificate (if applicable)
Notarized copy of legal adoption papers or legal name change (if applicable)
Notarized affidavit of spinstership and bachelorhood, with raised seal must be dated within 90 day prior to wedding date, if applicable (for Turks/Caicos only)
Notarized copy of legal translation of all documents to English along with original documents in original language (if applicable)
Notarized copy of passport or driver’s license (Turks & Caicos only)
All original and court certified documents must be hand-carried (Turks & Caicos only)

For Bahamas/St. Lucia/Antigua:

All original documents with certified court seals must be hand carried to the island. Faxed copies are also required
Country issued Passports or State issued birth certificates of bride and groom
All pages of divorce decree final judgment (if applicable)
If applicable, spouse’s death certificate and related marriage certificate
Legal adoption papers and legal name change (if applicable)
Legal translation of all documents to English (if applicable)

Hope this helps you make all of your destination wedding dreams come true!

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