7 Best Travel Destinations

RIO, BRAZIL

Hot on the heels of hosting the World Cup, Rio is ready for take two. While the World Cup attracted hundreds of thousands of fans, expect more modest attendance for the Olympics, making it a prime time to visit this vibrant city.

SAINT LUCIA

Saint Lucia is the simply beautiful island made for romance. Home to the magical Piton mountains, palm-fringed beaches and champagne sunsets, you will also find a unique range of world-class accommodation. Treat yourself to this sensational destination today.

Visit www.stlucia.org/DWH to find out more.

Voted World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination nine times.

SAINT LUCIA

Simply Beautiful

A destination wedding can be as expensive or affordable as you choose.

We’ve all heard the stories the DIY bride who sourced the blooms for her flower arrangements at the local grocery store in Hawaii; the grooms who rented out an entire island resort and danced on the private beach till dawn. Like every other type of affair, destination weddings range from budget to bailer. Most fall somewhere in the middle, thanks to the inevitable concessions for practicality and price. Of course you can have an open-air tent in Aspen; however, it will be 40 degrees once the sun sets, and your guests will be cold, says Randi McBroom, national sales director of Todd Events in Houston. You have to make so many decisions, and sometimes it’s not what you envisioned. As Louisiana-based wedding planner Bobbi Rice summarizes, Anything is possible ” within parameters.

That idyllic hilltop hotel you visited while you were dating is indeed gorgeous ” not to mention full of memories ” but think through the logistics of getting your entire group there, from guests to vendors. Take into consideration essentials such as accessibility for friends and family, availability of lodging at a variety of price points, and the caliber of local vendors. Start with a list of your five nonnegotiable wedding details, whether it’s particular family members, great food or killer views. Use the Grandma Test: Is it feasible for her to take a long flight, then get on a ferry? says New York City planner Andrea Freeman. Go in with a complete understanding of what it’s going to look like for everyone.

Those distant cousins you invited as a formality will probably show up.

Choose your invitees wisely: As the appeal of destination weddings becomes part of the Zeitgeist (hey, it’s the perfect excuse for a vacation!), experts estimate that less than 20 percent of invited guests will say no. Destination weddings are no longer anomalies, which means more and more guests are responding positively for attendance, explains DWHA-List Planner Mary Bartolucci of

THIS SPREAD, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LER: S’more than meets the eye. Who says ceremonies have to be solemn? Ditch the stilettos for wedges. A four-legged guest in Hawaii. To do: 1. Get a tan; 2. Get married. Trashing the dress in Fiji. PREVIOUS PAGE: Best face forward in the British Virgin Islands.

Island Style Weddings in the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to DWITs latest reader survey, on average, 48 guests will attend. If you can’t afford to host everyone you invite, narrow it down a bit before invites go out, Freeman says.

Scouting trips areri V just for high rollers.

Rice recalls a couple who booked a historic Southern locale they thought would be perfect. From the website, the venue looked beautiful because it showed the lovely oak trees ” not the cemetery in the background, she says. A luxury venue might not actually be your idea of luxury. In other words: Do a scouting trip before you sign a contract. Not only will it help confirm whether the space is the right size and the style is up your alley, but you’ll also get a head start on face time with the people who will be bringing your plans to life. Yes, that means another line item in your budget, but you’ll save on peace of mind. Plus, some hotel brands will now even apply the cost of a scouting trip to your wedding package: Mexico’s Velas Resorts offers two gratis nights for scouting trips, while El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort in Puerto Rico will credit back the room rate to your final bill if you book the wedding.

Going pro isn t exactly optional.

A destination wedding isn’t just a one-day event it’s an entire weekend of celebrations that can include a welcome party, rehearsal dinner, pub crawl, sunset sail, spa day, golf tourney.

MANY DESTINATION WEDDINGS AREN’T ACTUALLY WEDDINGS

Saying I do in front of the Eiffel Tower doesri Y just sound like a fantasy” in some ways, it is. You can’t actually run off to Paris to elope and have it be an official marriage ” there’s a lot of red tape, ” Rice says.

In such cases, some couples choose to get legally married in the United States first, then hold a ceremony abroad for symbolic purposes.

ULTIMATE PLANNING GUIDE

Get Heady postwedding brunch. Equal parts travel agent and party planner (and sometimes therapist), an event professional has your back in all the areas you might not have considered. This could include thinking through how to get guests from the airport, asking all the right questions about the venue, knowing when to avoid crowds from local festivals or cruise ships, and making sure you get photos at the secret waterfall. Most importantly, they’ll help take some of those details off your already full plate, especially when the event is taking place at a private space (a barn in California, a villa in Mexico) that doesn’t have an in-house planner. Most people think it’s going to be easy, but you have to deal with so many logistics when coordinating the setup of everything, Freeman says. Your engagement is the time to enjoy canoodling with your honey, not agonize over details. Fifty percent of my phone calls are from brides who say, I’m in over my head, and I need someone to help me.’

A matter how much you love your go-to hairstylist, she might not know how to safeguard your textured curls against island humidity and wind. Likewise, even the most accomplished hometown photographer might not be equipped to shoot optimal pictures, never having worked with the light on Grace Bay Beach at sunset. For the best outcome, hire vendors who are experienced in your chosen locale ” and who know the ins and outs of traveling.

A destination-wedding’ photographer should be self-sufficient and do their research and due diligence so as not to be a burden to the client on their wedding weekend, says John Sargent of John Cain Photography. They research what visas are required for where they’re traveling; they look at the type of plane they’re flying on, which determines the gear they can carry on:

YOU MIGHT JUST BE TOO EXHAUSTED TO JET OFF TO A FAR-FLUNG HONEYMOON RIGHT AWAY

TRUTH

Hopping from Caribbean island to European capital might sound glamorous, but after days of partying and playing host, you could simply be too knackered. To combine newlywed bliss with much-needed R & /{, many couples extend their stay into a weddingmoon. Why go to another place when you ‘re already in love with the location?v wonders Bartolucci. It’s become even more dear to you since it ‘s where you began your married life. If you insist on going someplace new, be sure to give yourself at least one or two days to recover before you jet off to your next location, recommends Rice.

How will you get your gown to your wedding safely?

We can solve this dilemma with our stylish and trendy Destination Wedding Travel Kits. Carry your wedding dress with you as your carry-on. Our kits have everything you need to make sure your dress arrives with you safe and sound. Two sizes to choose from, and many different designs and colors for safety and style. They come with a handle for ease of handling. They not only travel beautifully, they store and preserve your gown as well. All our boxes are pH neutral and will keep your gown and other textiles safe for many years to come.

Use this coupon code on your next order from our website, and get 15% off your website order.

www.foster-stephens.com

Honeymoon Registry!

Reef & Rainforest is a full service travel agency that specializes in island vacations. Just like a traditional wedding registry, Reef & Rainforest offers a honeymoon registry.

Instead of another household item you don’t need, get what you really want -couples massage, champagne breakfast, dolphin encounter, temple tour, etc.

We’ll create a custom itinerary for your honeymoon and create gifts of all price ranges for your guests.

You can’t control the weather »» Weather is DWH readers ‘ no. 2 most important factor when selecting the wedding destination (second only’ to cost), but the sun has a mind of its own. Happily,; a planner can troubleshoot and rally helping hands to execute Plan B ” all while you stay dry (and calm your nerves with a mimosa) in the wedding-suite.

THE PRO Based in Palm Beach, Florida, A viva Samuels launched Kiss the Planner in 2010 and has since planned more than 50 destination weddings. With a background in hospitality, graphic design, floral design and decor, she primarily plans weddings in South Florida and the Caribbean.

TRUE STORY One particularly challenging wedding was at the Ancient Spanish Monastery in Miami. The only option is to set the reception tables within the covered, open-air corridors that surround a center.

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