Top Planning Tips for a Destination Wedding

Photo Credit:  Jessica Claire Photography


More couples today are turning to destination weddings from beach locations stateside to international locations such as Riviera Maya, Punta Cana, Montego Bay.  The majority of couples who choose destination weddings are doing so to find extra unique opportunities for themselves and their guests.  While many people assume the average duration is equivalent to a long weekend, most destination weddings average six days.

When choosing a venue it is important to keep your guests in mind.  Will the destination be affordable for guests to fly to and are there multiple hotel options at different price points.   Because of the extra expense of a destination wedding, you will find that your guest list will filter down to your core group of friends and family.

Most importantly it is important that you invest time and money to visit in person early in the planning process.   You will want to schedule venue site visits, do taste testings, and plan layouts and floor plans.  Depending on the size of your wedding, it may be easier to hire an event planner to help coordinate other vendors such as florists, photographers, DJs, etc.  And most importantly, if you are doing an international wedding in another county find out what the marriage license requirement are.  It might mean that you’ll have to tie the knot locally for it to be legal.

Know your destination and communicate information to your guests.  Share any special opportunities and travel ideas with them.   Communicate dress code and perhaps even send a basic vocabulary list in the local language.  Most important – have fun planning your special day.

Top 2017 Wedding Trends Revealed by The Knot

The Knot Wedding Trends Report for 2017

Reduced Carbon Footprint Fetes
Hosting an incredible wedding while also reducing the carbon footprint is on trend in 2017. For food and flowers, opt for in season and locally sourced. Earth-friendly invitations can be made by printing with soy-based inks on recycled paper. For place cards, forget the paper and have a calligrapher write each guest’s name on stones that can be kept as personalized favors afterward. Once the guests have gone home, don’t toss the flowers. Donate to a hospital or nursing home to spread joy to others.

Ask for What You Really Want
From cash to camping gear and even museum memberships, couples can ask for just about anything today—including supporting a cause close to heart. Charity registries are on the rise and couples can register for a charity on For each gift purchased, The Knot will donate to their chosen cause.

The Ultimate Guest Gifting Lounge
This fun twist on the hotel welcome bag is ideal for destination weddings. Instead of stuffing and delivering them yourself, let your guests do the work. Set up a room full of swag like snacks, drinks and local sweet treats and let guests choose their favorite items. This also gives you the opportunity to meet and greet guests in person when they arrive.

Icebreaker Guest Games
Weddings today are an all weekend affair, so it’s essential your guests meet and get to know each other. What better way to get your guests mixing and mingling than with the ultimate grown-up icebreaker: games. Personalized Mad Libs about your first encounter and crossword puzzles that keep guests guessing your favorite date spot are great ways to break the ice before the ceremony or during the cocktail hour. Lawn games like croquet, horseshoes and corn hole are perfect for promoting new friendship at an outdoor wedding or cocktail hour. 

Exceptional Entertainment
When it comes to entertainment, couples are pulling out all the stops to entertain their guests. Aerialists, acrobats, live painters and even choirs belting out Beyoncé have made their way into weddings. If that’s too trendy, try a traditional route with music, but pair it with a performance—like a classical quartet and ballerinas in tutus. Have a noise ordinance at your outdoor locale? Host a “silent disco” where guests wear headphones and dance to their own beat.

One With Nature
If you ­­­­­can’t celebrate under the stars, bring the outside in. Add oversize potted trees and shrubbery to a ballroom for an enchanted forest look. Natural elements like wood and stone can be incorporated into your table settings, and hanging flowers over tables or the dance floor creates an instant wow factor. 

Image Mapping Technology
Want to turn your indoor venue into a lush garden, but don’t have the budget for thousands of flowers and potted trees? Try a new projection technology called image mapping that allows you to transform a space with lighting and moving pictures. Give your ceremony and reception its own special vibe by changing scenes from one to the next. You can even use this technology on your wedding cake. Not only is this trend tech forward, it benefits the environment and will save you money on flowers and décor.

Metallic Dresses & Breezy Silhouettes
Metallic dresses—think tasteful gold threading and silver beading—flooded the runways during Bridal Fashion Week. Wearing a metallic dress may seem like a bold move, but it’s perfect for a sophisticated, evening affair. Also big this year, effortless dresses with flowing fabrics. They’re a must-have for providing a lightweight, ethereal vibe for destination weddings or even to wear for a second look. Detachable skirts, floral embellishments and off-the-shoulder looks will also make an appearance on the aisle.

Formal Portrait Studios
There’s a new twist on the traditional photo booth: portrait studios. Just like the traditional photo booth, there’s a designated space and sometimes props, but instead of posing with feather boas and silly sunglasses, a live photographer asks you to vogue for the camera. The result is a glamorous, intimate portrait in your finest attire. Also in for 2017 is the live illustrator who walks the party sketching guests throughout the night.

Translucent Cakes
The new take on the naked cake is the translucent cake. Instead of totally bare tiers, translucent cakes have a thin veil of frosting with just a bit of the cake showing. Typically iced in buttercream, these sweet delights are topped with fresh flowers or in-season fruits that hint at the flavors of the cake filling. 

Furry Friends
The hottest wedding guests of 2017 have four legs and supersoft coats. From bunnies and donkeys to llamas and pigs, couples having rustic barn weddings are incorporating farm animals into the wedding day.

A Moveable Feast
With food trucks and passed multicourse meals, the sit-down dinner is starting to be replaced with more interactive options. Set up stations that feature your favorite eats, like a raw bar with a waiter live-shucking oysters or wine and cheese pairings with an on-site sommelier. If you don’t want to forgo a plated dinner, host a cool cocktail hour and serve the main meal family style for a twist on tradition.

So, what are you doing for your wedding that is unique and reflects who you are as a couple?  The best answer submitted by Friday, March 10th, 2017 receives 2 FREE Tickets to the Chocolate Festival Bridal Show on Sunday, March 19th, 2017 at Bear Creek Golf Club.  Send you submissions to

The Destination Wedding Trend


There has been an increase in what is known as destination weddings – those weddings held where neither the bride nor the groom lives, or necessarily has family there.  It has been estimated that one in ten weddings are destination weddings – a massive increase over the last decade.

Today’s couples marry later in life as compared to 15 or 20 years ago and they are often more well-traveled, plus they may want something more exotic. Top destinations for U.S. couples include:

  • Mexico – It’s close and couples love the warm, sunny weather, culture, coastlines and wide choice of accommodations.
  • Hawaii – No passport required and great almost any time of year.
  • The Caribbean – Fine boutique hotels and price competitive all-inclusives attract many couples.

longdresstrainNo matter which destination you choose, using a reputable Destination Wedding Specialist who knows all of the ins and outs of the particular resorts you have chosen will be invaluable.  Plus most will be able to get you a better deal and more extras than you can by yourself – and it’s a lot less stress.

Check the “travel” category of our vendor listings for companies that you may wish to consider.  With so many couples now having most of the basics they need for daily life, contributing to a Honeymoon Registry is a nice gift that all couples can enjoy together.


Honeymoons…The Last Piece of the Puzzle

How many times have you had friends talk about their honeymoon disasters?  Your honeymoon can be an amazing trip which marks the beginning as husband and wife, or a stressful and disappointing trip that disrupts the focus of why you’re there.  thumb

           There are several purposes of a honeymoon.  It is a time for rest and relaxation after the hectic months prior of planning and ……your wedding.  It is a time to be alone with your new spouse, a time to adjust to your new marriage.

           Having someone who specializes in honeymoons help you, problems can be avoided.  It is often heard that the honeymoon did not go as hoped.  That problems occurred due to unexpected issues.  When you are so busy planning all the necessities for your special day, planning a honeymoon may seem like the easiest part.  You look at some pictures, talk to some friends, read a few reviews and mostly go with your budget.  So often, when not planned well, the cost is much higher than expected.  Shuttle service was not there, some restaurants at the all-inclusive cost extra, call brand drinks were not included in the ‘package’.  Entertainment was extra, and the list goes on.Sunset

           Using a travel agent is free, and will save you money.  They are well traveled, educated on the destinations as well as the resorts.  Knowing what they differences in resorts are can save you money and frustration.  Looking at the pictures, resorts often look similar.  But the truth is, there are huge differences.  From the menu selection to the activities, from the free amenities (shuttle service, water sports) to the ratio of staff to the guest.  Resorts also cater to different types of guests, and you want to make sure you are one of those.  If they cater to Europeans more than Americans, their menus might be a little challenging for those less traveled.  Many cater to honeymooners, but not as well as others.  Why pay for something you are not going to partake in?

           Just as important as the resort itself is, is the destination.  Ask the travel agent if they have traveled to the different locations you are considering, and if not, find another agent!  When a destination is visited, it gives the agent and idea of what the airport, transportation, logistics are.  Not always important facts to know, but priceless if there are things you need to know specific to that location.  These cannot be found reading a brochure.  Also important is find out any language barriers young couples might encounter.  A well informed traveler is going to have a much better time and get much more out of their vacation.  By knowing the location, the agent has experienced things like monetary differences, cultural and service differences.

           VeniceWhy not find the destination you are looking for, then choose the resorts that best fits your personality, vision and budget.

           Travel agents also help you with timing of your vacation.  You don’t want to leave the day after in most cases.  You want to plan a honeymoon that fits your energy level.  Starting with your flight schedule, you don’t want long layovers when you are already exhausted from the weeks prior.  You also want to make sure the honeymoon you choose fits your energy level.  Many couples want a relaxing, ‘don’t have to think’ vacation.  That is when the all-inclusives fit the best.  Other couples want to explore, lots of excursions, ‘can’t wait to experience things together’, and that is when the destination is more important than the resort.

           When you tell a travel agent about yourself, they start to get a feel for what you like, dislike, and are comfortable trying.  A honeymoon is your first trip as husband and wife. You don’t want to feel nervous, confused or upset when it doesn’t go as hoped.

           Everyone has that picture perfect honeymoon vision, let us help you find it!

(This blog was submitted  by Lisa Ritz owner of All About  For help with your honeymoon plans contact Lisa at