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The First 5 Steps to Planning a Destination Wedding

What you need to know about hosting an affair away from home.

By Elizabeth Passarella
Small beach wedding receptionLuca Trovato/Getty Images

3. Get to know the area. Ask about minimum stays at the resort. If you have your heart set on the Tres Chic Resort but they require a tres-night stay, make sure there’s an alternate hotel for guests who aren’t planning a long trip. Ask early about vendors. In many resort locations, there is one florist, one wedding coordinator, a handful of caterers, maybe a DJ or two. Fewer options might sound like a dream—but if you’re picky, be prepared for limited choices.

4. Check the local calendar. Don’t plan your wedding during the Bougainvillea Festival or whatever else draws tourists and inflates prices. On the flip side: Do you want to get married during the off-season, when half the restaurants are closed and there’s nothing going on?

5. Remember how rich (or poor) your friends are. Will you be sad you picked Punta Cana when half of your just-out-of-college buddies can’t afford to come? Or can only stay for two nights instead of making it a weeklong party like you planned?

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Quick Tip


Talk to your venue before renting any items. Ask if you’ll be charged additional fees for using outside vendors and if the site can accommodate additional setup and breakdown time for special lighting, ceremony chairs, or hanging lanterns.