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Tips to make your destination wedding a success

Destination weddings are often beautiful and intimate ceremonies. However, couples must consider a number of factors before deciding to do their nuptials on the road.

No two couples are the same, and as a result, no two weddings are ever the same. Weddings can run the gamut when it comes to style, from ultra-formal, black-tie affairs to laid-back ceremonies on the beach.

One increasingly popular style is the destination wedding. When a couple decides to have a destination wedding, a walk down the aisle often takes place in a tropical locale. There are a host of factors that determine whether or not a destination wedding will go off without a hitch.

* Budget. Though destination weddings are often more affordable than traditional weddings, couples should still establish a budget. Destination weddings are typically more intimate affairs with far fewer guests. Fewer guests means fewer mouths to feed and less money needed to feed them. However, destination weddings can also come with some hidden costs. For instance, couples might want to fly their parents or the bridal party. If the wedding is taking place out of the country, that can significantly increase the cost of the wedding. So before making a final decision on a destination, first determine how much can be spent and how that compares to what a wedding in a particular destination is going to cost.

* Attendance. Though a couple should get married in whatever location they prefer, most couples would prefer their most intimate friends and family members attend the services. Therefore, a successful destination wedding ensures those people closest to the couple can afford to attend. This means couples will need to provide significant advance notice to friends and families. Save-the-date cards should be sent out earlier than they would be for standard weddings. This gives guests time to budget for the trip and align it with their work schedules. If late notice is given, then attendance will likely fall short of a couple's expectations.

Also, couples who give advanced notice but still find their guests cannot make it might want to reconsider the destination, instead looking for one that's more affordable.

* Help. Couples should know planning a destination wedding will go much more smoothly with the help of a wedding coordinator from the chosen destination. Such a coordinator will know the local vendors and procedures for getting married. Sometimes, this help is even part of a resort's services. Couples who choose a resort destination for their wedding might want to consider only those resorts with on-staff wedding coordinators.

If couples find a resort they love that doesn't provide a wedding coordinator, look for a coordinator who's readily available online. This will save money on costly international or long-distance telephone calls.

* Laws. Marriage laws vary depending on location, and couples should research the marriage laws of any destination they're considering before setting any plans in stone. Overseas marriage licenses aren't necessarily as easy to obtain for nonresidents and might take a long time to be issued. Know the hurdles before deciding on a destination and setting the plans in motion.

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