Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Destination Weddings

Destination weddings to me are the most perfect of all wedding celebrations because it sets the tone and mood for you. Anyone going on a holiday is already psyched up for a good time so when you invite guests for a destination wedding, they are already in a the mood for a good time.

What’s not to be liked for a destination wedding? You have an exotic location, a new experience for yourselves and for your guests, you have a picture-perfect backdrop, you can choose to have as simple or as unique a wedding setting and ultimately, you have a sense of sexiness for the unknown.

Of course, having said that, destination weddings are not meant for all. You need to know if it suits you. Are you keen on an adventure? Are you prepared for things that go out of control because they are really, beyond your control? Are you ready to just go with the flow? Are you always excited to try new things?

Because whilst there is all that sexiness and magic to it, a destination wedding is not without its fair share of chaos! So here are a few things for you to consider before you think about planning one (especially if you do not have a wedding planner):

The Unexpected : As sexy as it sounds, you have to expect the language barrier and miscommunications, the foreign exchange fluctuations, the hidden costs, permits, licenses and taxes, the local regulations and the variations in weather (sunrise, sunset, prayer times, tide times, etc).

The Logistics : This is definitely not sexy and can come up to quite a lot in terms of cost. You need to think about the exit tax or visas where applicable, ground transfers, insurance, extra baggage, meals and accommodations for family and crew as well as local phone calls. Thank God I had my wedding team in place so that they could handle all the nitty-gritty issues that I didn’t want to be bothered with. Which bride wants to be calling the van driver, the florist, the rain doctor (bomoh), the caterers, etc on their wedding day?

The Unknown : The local folklore / taboos, the surrounding atmosphere and setting. For us, the unknown was actually quite a funny story. We had done our site visit of our venue before we confirmed it and everything from the lighting to the tide times to the breeze were all meticulously checked. But we were not aware that the local village boys staying around the area liked to run into the sea naked! The evening before our wedding, while we were taking our pre-wedding photos on the beach, we saw three teenage boys in their birthday suits squatting over the water for a whole half hour! Not something I would like as my backdrop during my Catholic ceremony indeed! And luckily – it didn’t happen.

On the high side, the unknown is what will give you stories to tell in years to come, so not every unknown is bad :)

So my suggestion is to get a planner – whether you bring one along or hire one from the locale of your wedding, you should have someone who knows the local scene to help you coordinate your wedding details. With limited time and plenty of guests to entertain, you want to be able to enjoy yourself too!

Photos by Jim Liaw Photography

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