Skip to main content

Planning Articles

Beach Wedding & Destination Wedding - Article Index

Getting Started Articles

Is a Beach Wedding Right For You?

Getting Started Planning Your Beach Wedding

Ceremony Planning for a Beach Wedding

The Things You Need to Know about a Beach Wedding

Planning Articles

Save the Date Cards for a Beach Wedding

Beach Wedding Invitations

Beach Wedding Dresses

Getting the Right Beach Wedding Dress

Grooms Attire for a Beach Wedding

Do it Yourself Ideas

Out of Town Guest Gift Bags

Barefoot Sandals

Beach Wedding Favors

Packing Your Dress for Travel

Unique Registry Ideas

Beach Wedding Shoes

HoneyMoon Registry

Wedding Websites

Caribbean & Mexico Wedding Traditions

Insurance for a Destination Wedding

Who Pays for What at Your Beach Wedding?

Will Your Wedding be Legal?

Do You Need a Wedding Planner?

Travel Resources

Hawaii Articles

Why a Hawaii Wedding?

Compare Hawaii to Other Destinations

Hawaii Wedding Traditions

Do-it-Yourself Hawaii Wedding

Do it Yourself - Hawaii Wedding Ideas

A wedding in Hawaii can be a tropical dream come true for many couples. However, as a general rule, destination weddings Hawaii can be on the pricier side when you compare to having them in your hometown church. In addition, you may not get as much control over the details if you are picking out a prearranged wedding package.

Often, the majority of the cost of destination weddings Hawaii comes in the planning and the decorating. Since most couples will live out-of-state, they leave the finer details to the wedding coordinator at the location. While this can be very convenient, it also means that you do not have much control over the cost of the wedding or the smaller details – you simply pick a package that suits your needs and pay the bottom line.

However, for a more personal touch (and budget-friendly experience), there are ways that you can do some things yourself for your Hawaii wedding. Many wedding coordinators will allow you to pick items “ala carte” so you can reserve the things you need – like a location, an officiate, chairs for the guests – but still retain a lot of control in the smaller details. Here is a look at some resources for DIY materials and ideas that are easy to do that you can use to make your Hawaii wedding day more special.

Hawaii Wedding Invitations

One important aspect of the Hawaii wedding is the invitations. They let the guests know when and where the Hawaii wedding is and other important information. You can order personalized invitations nearly anywhere, though they can get expensive and often look like every other couple’s invitations. Here are some ideas for great DIY invitations for your destination wedding Hawaii.

To invite guests to your Hawaii wedding, try a message in a bottle. Fill a small glass bottle partway with sand from the beach, and roll up a simple invitation to stick inside. You can even decorate the outside of the bottle with a ribbon and seashells or tropical flowers. Even with shipping considerations, these may cost less than hiring a professional invitation printer.

Send Hawaiian postcards. This is a good idea if you are going for a casual Hawaii wedding. Get postcards from the location of your wedding to send, and you can use them as formal invitations, or as a “save the date” notice.

Create your own formal invitation. This is easy to do for those with a little artistic skill. Try writing a poem or including details that are important to you. Use seashells or tropical flowers along the border. Different types of cardstock and papers can be layered and tied with ribbon to create the look that you want.

Favors & Place Cards for Your Hawaii Wedding

Considering that you are traveling to your destination wedding Hawaii, you can combine your favors and place cards into one object. Either way you choose, DIY place cards and favors both make great mementos that guests can take home as a symbol of your beautiful Hawaii wedding day.

Take large seashells and write the name of the guest on it with paint to create placards.

Create your own flower leis in wedding colors for the guests to wear.

Luggage tags can be used as a fun placard, and they symbolize your destination wedding Hawaii.

Have mini sun parasols decorated with the name of the bride and groom and the date. These are also great for outdoor beach weddings, shielding your guests from any afternoon sun.

Fill boxes or small gift bags with tropical candies and tie with ribbon. This will give your guests a great taste of the local flavors, such as macadamia nut and coconut candies covered with chocolate.

Have a picture frame or mini photo album decorated with seashells or tropical flowers. This frame will be perfect when your guests return home and want to place photos from your Hawaii wedding around their house.

Use coconuts or pineapples to hold decorative placards – which look and taste great!

Decorations for Your Wedding in Hawaii

Decorations are a great way to set the mood of your Hawaii wedding, and they can be as casual or as formal as your tastes are. Decorations may include runners along the seats or pews, centerpieces, flowers for the bridal party, tropical candles on the table, and much more.

Glass bowls can be used to create your own spectacular centerpieces, and you can purchase these if you arrive a few days early to Hawaii. Fill the bowls with sand and colored shells and place candles in the middle. Or you can fill with water (with shells, marbles, or colored stones at the bottom) and float a few large tropical flowers in each one.

Use the local fauna for your Hawaii wedding. A little flower foam and some creativity and you can create your own flowered centerpieces, and you can order your flowers from local florists ahead of time. Experiment using palm fronds, tropical flowers, shells, candles, or sand to create a unique look.

Make your own pew/chair bows. Supplies for these are easy to take with you on the plane for your destination wedding Hawaii. You can cut ribbons and tie bows, and then add in sea shells or flowers that suit you theme, or your Hawaiian beach wedding dress. Or go truly Hawaiian and use leis to decorate.

Make your own bridal party flowers. Choose to have the entire bridal party wear leis, hand tie your own bouquets with flowers you pick out yourself, or make your own boutonnieres. With the abundance of flowers in Hawaii, you can easily create the perfect floral pieces for your Hawaii wedding. In addition, by creating your own flowers, you can easily match your Hawaiian style wedding dress.

Hawaii Wedding Gifts

It is often traditional for the bride and groom to present gifts to those who made the wedding possible, such as the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Since destination weddings Hawaii often combine the wedding and a vacation for many wedding guests, you can use this to your advantage when planning the guest bags.

A day at the beach – fill a sand bucket, picnic basket, or decorative basket with sunscreen, shovels, beach balls, beach towels, and other accessories that the guest might need for a day in the sun.

Explore Hawaii – fill a gift bag with Hawaiian souvenirs, including local snacks, maps, postcards, and gift items.

A day at the hotel – take advantage of the services that the resort has to offer, and give a gift card for the spa, golf, restaurant, or other activities. You can also do the same with local activities, such as a gift card towards a helicopter tour or off of scuba diving gear.

Other Destination Wedding Hawaii Ideas

When you are planning your wedding yourself, you can get as formal or as fun as you would like. Here are a couple of other ideas that you can consider that will make your Hawaii wedding unique and memorable.

Memories in photos – having a photographer for your entire ceremony and reception can be quite expensive. Instead, pass out disposable cameras for the guests to take photos with during and after the ceremony. The cost will be less, and you can use the pictures in your photo albums or thank you cards afterwards. Plus, you will know that all of your pictures will have the personal touch that only your family and friends can give.

Go native – if you are looking for more of a fun wedding than a formal one, have your whole party go shopping for Hawaiian shirts and sarongs once you arrive. Not only will they be less expensive than the traditional bridal gear, but your guests will have a memorable souvenir to take home with them. In addition, they will be a great compliment for your Hawaiian wedding dress sarong.

Guest book – with the variety of scrap booking supplies out there, you can create your own guestbook for guests to sign. Consider decorating pages with Hawaiian postcards, flowers, seashells, and other designs.

These are just a few ideas to get you started on your Hawaii wedding plans. With a little imagination and a little work on your part, you can create the wedding in Hawaii of your dreams.

Timeless Hawaii Wedding Customs and Traditions

With perfect year-round weather, gorgeous tropical paradise surroundings, and an air of romance, Hawaii is the perfect location for a tropical beach wedding. With its unique historical heritage, there are many ways to incorporate the beauty and culture of Hawaii into your special day. While you can always have a traditional ceremony in a church or on the beach, many couples also choose to use different beautiful, moving Hawaiian traditions.

Circle of Love

If you are planning a Hawaii wedding on one of the beautiful beaches, then consider incorporating a Hawaiian love circle into your ceremony. A circle of flowers surrounds the bride and groom, as they stand together in the center during the ceremony. This is a great way to incorporate the colorful floral and fauna of the tropical landscape surrounding you – and it also symbolizes the eternity of your love. Many wedding designers can help you choose beautiful tropical flowers that match the colors you have chosen for your wedding in Hawaii and your Hawaiian beach wedding dress. Yellows, oranges, and reds are particularly popular with most couples – and they look beautiful in the photographs.

Poured Sands

The traditional sand ceremony is a beautiful way of symbolizing the love that you share during your Hawaiian wedding ceremony. The bride and groom pour multi-colored sand (one color for the bride, and another for the groom) into a decorative bottle. While doing so, they may recite the poem:

“Inseparable we are like the grains of sand united now. The individual is emptied into the sea of love and no longer be separate but will be forever and always entwined as one.”

Just like the sands that are poured into the bottle cannot be separated back into their individual starting containers, neither the bride nor the groom can be separated in their love. Some couples will also choose to add in some of the sand from the beach where they were married as a memorable way to capture the special occasion.

Light of Love

Some couples like to follow the traditional ceremony of lighting a candle together just before they have been pronounced husband and wife. However, the tropical breezes and location of a Hawaii wedding present somewhat of a challenge to this custom. Instead, you and your loved one could consider lighting Hawaiian tiki torches during your ceremony for a similar effect. This creates a dramatic effect if you are planning a sunset wedding on the beach, and it has been incorporated in Hawaii weddings for centuries.

Magical Music

Music is a central part of any wedding. Traditional Hawaiian music can be worked into any wedding ceremony, and many musicians are versed in playing both Hawaiian and conventional wedding music. Some couples choose to have their Hawaii wedding ceremony accompanied by ukulele, steel drums, and hula dancers. The harp is another popular choice, which sounds beautiful against the crash of the waves and song of the birds.

Often Hawaiian music can be a beautiful accompaniment to your first wedding dance. What could be more romantic than dancing on the edge of the ocean in the warm sand, arms entwined around your loved one, with soft tropical music playing in the background?

Fragrant Flowers

Hawaii is rich with tropical flowers, and from your arrival on the islands, you are sure to see them everywhere – from the leis that they give you upon arrival at the airport to the beautiful flora and fauna growing abundantly throughout the island.

A Hawaiian flower lei is a traditional way of showing your love, and it is often given away during traditional Hawaiian weddings. The lei can be used to show respect and gratitude for both families. The bride will give a lei to her future mother and father-in-law, while the groom will do the same for the bride’s family. This is a way of symbolizing the gratitude that the couple feels for the care and love the parents showed when raising their future spouse.

In addition, during a Hawaii wedding, the bride and groom can also give leis to each other. As a tradition practiced by the royalty for hundreds of years in Hawaii, giving each other leis symbolizes your love and commitment. In addition, the leis look gorgeous with any Hawaiian style wedding dress.

Pikake flowers, which have a beautiful smell and resemble pearls, are often used for the bride’s lei. Ilima, orchids, and rosebuds can also be used. The groom will often use green maile leaves in his lei, a Hawaiian symbol of royalty. Often, the mothers will receive ginger leis and the fathers will receive green tea leaf leis, though wedding designers can design leis to match the colors of your wedding party. Any of the leis can be interwoven with other flowers to add your own colors or symbolism to the wedding.

Blowing the Conch

Another beautiful Hawaii wedding ceremony is blowing the conch. This large shell can be a foot long, and in Hawaiian is known as “Pu.” It has been used traditionally as a way to announce royalty or the beginning of important events. It is blown into like a trumpet, and when done properly, the beautiful sound can be heard for miles away. Traditionally, the conch is blown to the East, then to the North, then to the West, and lastly to the South. It can announce the start of your Hawaii wedding, the entrance of the bride, or other important parts of your ceremony.

Choosing Where to Hold Your Destination Wedding

While many people still favor the traditional church wedding, many of today’s couples are choosing to incorporate different customs into their ceremony. Whether mixed cultural traditions or differing spiritual beliefs - or just the thrill of being wed in an exotic destination - are behind the decision, the destination wedding abroad is increasing in popularity. But before your pack and your bags and order your tickets, you may want to reconsider your destination plans. While the results are spectacular, in many ways, a wedding in a foreign country is simply not practical. Instead, you and your loved one might consider making your destination wedding destination a little closer to home – in the beautiful, tropical state known as Hawaii.

Consider a Hawaii wedding

There are many reasons why a Hawaii wedding is a better option than being wed outside of the country. With today’s travel restrictions, leaving the country can be difficult and expensive. Cost alone can be a big factor, especially if you want to have a larger guest list. Not only is a destination wedding Hawaii less expensive, but there are no language barriers to worry about when you travel to Hawaii. And since Hawaii is a popular destination spot, you can go right from your wedding into your honeymoon – and your guests can have the option of seeing the sights before returning home.

Comparing with Mexico

Our closest neighbor to the south, Mexico, is a popular destination for weddings and vacations. However, taking a trip to Mexico is not as easy as it sounds. Travel requirements now require a passport to go across the border. Many of the popular vacation destinations book up well in advance, and the popular beaches can be crowded. Plus, there is always the difficulty of dealing with currency exchanges, a new language, and different sanitation standards.

In contrast, Hawaii is only a slightly longer plane flight for most Americans. Since Hawaii is a U.S. state, you do not need to worry about your guests getting passports ahead of time. While Hawaii is a popular vacation destination, with much to see and do, there are also several secluded beaches, allowing you to have your own private wedding ceremony and reception. Hawaiians also speak English (though you could choose to have your ceremony performed in the Hawaiian language if you choose), and the currency is the same. In addition, you do not have to worry about drinking only bottled water, or being concerned with the ice cubes in your drinks being made from the local Mexican water, which generally does not sit well with American stomachs.

Evaluating the Caribbean

For those seeking a tropical destination for their wedding, the Caribbean is often one of the first places that come to mind. However, there are several downsides to this option as well. Once again, you have to worry about passports and currency exchanges. Since the travel is even further out of the country, it can become quite expensive for you and your guests to travel and stay. Plus, there is always the legal issue of your wedding. For most Americans, they have to choose between two options – have a justice of the peace wedding in their hometown and the ceremonial wedding on location, or manage the rules and requirements of getting a marriage license in your country of choice. To do this, you may have to deal with residency requirements, citizenship documentation, and much more.

On the other hand, Hawaii can offer you the same tropical feel that the Caribbean does with much less hassle. Whether it is the sound of waves lapping on the beach, swaying palm trees, brightly colored birds and flowers, or romantic sunsets that you are looking for, a Hawaii wedding has it all. In addition, you do not have to worry about obtaining a passport or exchanging your currency before you go. Plus, since Hawaii is one of the 50 states, marriage requirements are no different than getting married in your home town – saving you from a separate legal ceremony.

Contrasting with Tahiti

Another popular honeymoon destination is Tahiti. While this can be a great location to get away from American life, there are some downsides here as well. For starters, Americans cannot legally get married in Tahiti, and therefore, a separate legal ceremony would be required either before or after your trip to make the marriage legally binding. Then there is the cost, the need for passports, and adjusting your guest list to meet the needs of those who can actually make the trip physically and financially.

If you want a tropical beach wedding with a Polynesian feel, Hawaii can give you the ceremony without the headaches. Traditional Polynesian ceremonies are offered by many Hawaiian wedding planners, providing you with the same feel and ceremony you seek in a tropical beach wedding. Since you are still getting married in the United States, your wedding will be recognized legally, and no other ceremony will be required. Plus with a shorter travel distance and fewer inherent costs, a Hawaiian wedding is much more financially affordable for you and your guests.

Evaluating the Greek Isles

Perhaps you have been considering a wedding in the Greek Isles, either on a cruise or one of the islands themselves. As with other out of the country options, there is the issue of travel, cost, and documentation. Besides the standard marriage license and birth certificate, you will also have to have all of your documents translated into Greek by the Greek embassy at least 45 days before your wedding date. This can be a legal hassle for those who are seeking to get married quickly.

In Hawaii, your traditional documents will be sufficient – no translation necessary. If a cruise is more in your taste, there are several cruise lines offering Hawaiian cruises among the different islands that allow you to participate in activities both on the shore and off. And just like the other alternative, there is no issue with passports and currency exchanges when you venture to Hawaii.

A destination wedding is a beautiful option for many couples, but many become discouraged when they start looking at the planning, effort, and financing involved. A Hawaii wedding offers many of the same features of foreign locales, with a lot fewer of the difficulties – ensuring that all of your guests can attend the wedding, while you enjoy a beautiful tropic beach wedding hassle free.

Romantic Hawaii Beach Wedding

Congratulations! You and the love of your life have decided to get engaged. Now it is time to plan one of the first major undertakings as a couple – the exciting wedding day! Chances are you and your fiancé have an idea or a lifelong dream of how you want your special day to be.

Does your wedding dream include a tropical location, such as a warm sandy beach, a sunlit hidden cove, or the swaying of palm trees in an evening breeze? Does the sound of a destination wedding, where you have your honeymoon and wedding all in one, sound exciting? If it does, then maybe you should consider a wedding in Hawaii, where paradise perfectly frames your vows and love for each other.

Beautiful Hawaii Wedding Beaches

Regardless of which island you choose for your destination wedding Hawaii, the beaches are some of the most breathtaking in the world – ensuring that all of your invited guests are excited to attend your wedding in paradise.

Whether your Hawaii wedding plans are to take place on the beach, or you want to use the beach as a place to enjoy your honeymoon, there is so much paradise to enjoy.

Oahu is a popular destination for Hawaii weddings, especially with its tremendous amenities, luxurious resorts, and award-winning beaches. Lanikai Beach, which has won several “best beach” in the world awards, is a romantic backdrop for your Hawaii wedding. The sand is white and cashmere soft, making it perfect for barefoot weddings and a Hawaiian wedding dress sarong. The clear ocean is an unbelievable teal, creating contrasting colors that will complement your vows, as well as create a perfect backdrop for all of your wedding photography memories.

If Maui, the Valley Isle, is your island of choice, there are several beaches perfect for your destination wedding Hawaii. One is a beach of many names – Kaanapali/Black Rock/Keka’a/Canoe/Dig Me Beach. No matter what name you use, the beach is perfect for your exchange of lifetime vows – especially during the spectacular sunset dropping between the neighboring islands of Lanai and Molokai. The long stretch of white sand is perfect for your Hawaiian style wedding dress, as you walk up an aisle created from soft orchid and rose petals. Or, if you are looking for a quieter location on Maui, opt for “Secret Beach” in Kihei, which is a beach cove secluded by a forest of trees.

Kauai, known as an incredibly lush, romantic island, is also a great location for your destination wedding Hawaii. Hanalei Bay on the North Shore forms a perfect semi-circle of sand, with beautiful waterfalls and mountains set into the background. Its multicolored, soft sand beach looks stunning with a traditional Hawaiian wedding dress, and the photo opportunities on this beach are endless – capturing sand, sun, sea, and lush greenery.

On the Big Island, the varied topography provides the bride and groom with a wide array of backdrops for a Hawaii wedding. The Kohala Coast offers an abundance of gorgeous beaches for a wedding in Hawaii, especially Anaeho'omalu Beach. With white, soft sand and incredible sunsets, this former gathering ground for the Hawaiian royalty is a perfect place for your special day.

Beautiful Ceremonies for a Wedding in Hawaii

Once you have decided on the beach for your wedding or honeymoon, you can decide on the type of ceremony. Since Hawaii is such a popular place for lovers, there are many wedding consultants and officiates that can help you plan the perfect wedding. Choose from traditional religious ceremonies, beach weddings, and even Hawaiian ceremonies. You might decide to include traditional Hawaiian blessings, lei exchanges, and conch blowing in your ceremony. The bride can choose from traditional wedding gowns, Hawaiian sarongs, or even her swimsuit - and the groom can choose attire to match. Flowers often include the tropical beauties that are found throughout the islands.

Plenty for Your Guests to Enjoy During Your Destination Wedding Hawaii

If you are planning a destination wedding Hawaii, the islands are a perfect place for you and your guests to enjoy the splendor of nature. Your friends and family not only enjoy visiting Hawaii to celebrate your blessed union, but will appreciate an opportunity to vacation in paradise!

For instance, if there are children attending your wedding, there are plenty of options for families to enjoy. You can visit the Children’s Discovery Museum in Kauai, or learn about the Polynesian culture at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Oahu. If marine life is an exciting topic, see the dolphin show at the Sea Life Park in Oahu, the ancient Hawaiian fishponds in Molokai, or the tide pools in Lanai. The Maui Ocean Center houses the largest tropical reef aquarium in the country, and the Kilauea Visitor Center on the Big Island will teach you all about volcanoes.

For the golfers in your group, Hawaii offers many championship golf courses where you can play a few rounds among beautiful tropical sceneries. Take a swing at the Kauai Lagoons Golf Club designed by legend Jack Nicklaus or the Experience at Koele on Lanai, designed by golf legend Greg Norman. Each of the major islands offers its own unique golfing experience.

Plus, there are always the traditional ports of call for your guests of your destination wedding Hawaii. This includes a visit to Pearl Harbor, where you can see the memorials of the USS Arizona and the USS Missouri. See the famous active Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island, or swim among the beautiful, clear waterfalls on the Road to Hana in Maui.

If your dream of the perfect wedding includes a tropical paradise, then a Hawaiian wedding should definitely be at the top of your list.

Do I need a Beach Wedding Planner?

Unless you are having your beach wedding at an all-inclusive resort, you will likely need a wedding planner. You can hire one in your area or use a locally based planner who specializes in destination weddings. If your wedding is at an all-inclusive resort, a wedding planner usually isn’t necessary because the resort will offer this service as part of their wedding packages.

Why Would Anyone Use A Wedding Planner?
There are lots of reasons you may want to consider a wedding planner. In your mother’s days or even the times of your grandmother, wedding planners were reserved for well to do parents of brides. In modern times, brides are older, more established in their careers (hence much busier), and brides and grooms are more financially stable than their younger counterparts of decades past. These are probably the main reasons that wedding planners are now viewed as a requirement not a luxury.

But I’m Not Having A Traditional Wedding
When planning a beach wedding either at a far away destination or close to home, there's just as much need for a wedding planner. In fact, sometimes there’s more need for one because of the logistics of planning a far away destination wedding are more complicated -- from legalities to ensuring the guests have activities to do that suit their interests, a wedding planner can help. Finding the right florist, booking a local band (if you're having live music), arranging for vendors who will supply other services such as the very important wedding cake are all great tasks for your wedding planner to handle.

If you're getting married on the sand, there are several details to take care of including making sure your decorations and flowers don’t blow away and that your wedding cake survives until the cake cutting ceremony. A wedding planner takes care of much more than logistics like these, though. A wedding planner lends artistic vision to help make your wedding dreams come true. From attire for you, your groom, and the entire wedding party to your hair, your bouquet, and all of the other little details, a wedding planner can make sure your wedding looks and feels just right. A wedding planner also manages the wedding budget.

Besides these tasks, a wedding planner also often serves as a sounding board and a soother of frayed nerves. If you are stressed on your wedding day, a good wedding planner will know just what to say to ease your tension.

Last but not least, a wedding planner makes multitasking seem like the easiest thing in the world, coordinating your wedding plans with vendors, budgets, you and your groom's wishes, and bringing it all together for you so that your wedding day is perfect.

Now, how can you live without all that? Many brides can't. For one thing, as mentioned briefly above, brides today don't have the time freedom to plan that their mother's who were apt to be much younger brides did. The need for a wedding planner also is one of those cases where you can live without something until you find out what you are missing!

Can I Afford A Wedding Planner?
How much does all of this cost? Typically a wedding planner is paid 10 to 15 percent of the total cost of the wedding. The more expensive the wedding, the more complex it likely is, and so it only make sense that the wedding planner be compensated for the effort.

Locating The Right Help
You can easily find wedding planners online. Since you are planning a destination wedding, it won't matter if the wedding planner is based in the same town you live because the wedding planner will be working with the venues and such in the destination area of your wedding. The planner can communicate with you and your wedding party by phone and email, and then meet you at the wedding locations.

Either way you look at it, if your beach wedding isn't at an all-inclusive resort, you need to hire a wedding planner. Be sure to find one who is also a beach wedding planner because the experience of planning beach weddings with their unique logistics will be invaluable.

Lawfully Wedded - Your Destination Wedding will be Legal

Whether you want to elope, have a beautiful beach wedding, or get married in a church, you need a marriage license. The image of going to the courthouse with the man of your dreams to get married is a little less romantic when you’re told you have to wait three days for the license, and being unsure of licensing requirements in advance is one sure way to ruin your big day. When planning a wedding, make sure you know about the licensing requirements particularly if your destination wedding will be held in a different country.

There are so many reasons why you might want to get married abroad. Maybe you or your fiancé are from a different country and would like to return home for the wedding. Maybe you have extensive friends and family abroad. Maybe you’ve just always dreamed of a perfect wedding on the beach or some other exotic location. Wherever you decide to get married, make sure to leave plenty of time for getting your marriage license. This is one of the most important components of your wedding – after all, you can’t get married without it.

Getting Started

When you are planning your wedding, find out what the country’s requirements are. Your wedding planner may help you take care of this. In other cases, a call to the country or a quick internet search might help.

In some countries, you have to be in the country for days to weeks before the wedding to accommodate for residency laws. Other countries need to see documentation before they will allow a marriage ceremony to be performed. Passports, birth certificates, divorce papers or death certificates as well as immunization records, an embassy consent letter, and background checks are all part of the necessary paperwork for many countries.

Keep in mind that planning a wedding in another country is going to require a lot of organization, and ensuring that you aware of that particular country’s requirements is essential. Be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to collect the documentation. You may need to send away for your birth certificate or get a copy of your immunization records from your doctor before your application can be completed.

If you are purchasing a destination wedding package, it is a great idea to ask if the license is included in the price or if they can assist you with any questions you have with the particular country in which you are going to be married. The advantage of this is that since they do weddings regularly in the area, they will know the proper procedures required to obtain a marriage license and ensure that everything is legal and binding.

When You Arrive Stateside

The United States recognizes any marriage performed in a foreign country as long as it complied with the rules for that country. In other words, if your marriage was done legally in Spain, it is valid in the United States.

Most people have an image of what they want their weddings to be like. If yours includes getting married in a beautiful gauzy gown on white sand with impossibly blue water as a backdrop, you can make it happen. Just don’t forget about the marriage license – it’s worse than losing the rings!

Wedding Insurance for a Beach Wedding

It’s the day of your wedding. Everything is ready: your hair looks great, your dress is perfect, the bridesmaids are all present and accounted for. Your beautiful outdoor wedding is going to be wonderful. Then you hear thunder. Rain starts pouring out of a sky that was blue five minutes ago. What do you do?

When planning a wedding, couples think about where they want to get married, who they’ll invite, and for the bride, the biggest decision: what is the dress going to look like. An area that is often overlooked, though, is wedding insurance. Wedding insurance is so important and covers a range of potential problems. Your wedding day should be perfect; wedding insurance will help take some of the stress out of planning your wedding, and should something go wrong on your big day, you’re covered.

Typical Coverage

A basic wedding insurance package usually covers problems relating to the ceremony or reception sites, vendors, weather, sickness or injury, and also if the bride or groom needs to leave for job or military reasons. For example, wedding insurance could come in handy if planned a beautiful beach wedding but a sudden storm makes both your wedding and reception sites inaccessible. With wedding insurance, you can postpone your wedding and receive the money you lost from invitations, the cake, catering, clothing, and deposits you put down on florists, musicians, ministers, and more. Postponing your wedding could be a huge letdown, but at least you can plan another beautiful wedding without incurring the cost of two weddings.

Typical wedding insurance policies, though, don’t cover everything. What happens if you are having a destination wedding and you arrive but your dress doesn’t? Or your rings don’t make it? You can purchase supplemental insurance to cover damage or loss of clothing, rings, video or photographs, as well as liability insurance. You can even get insurance in case your gifts are stolen. Any possible complication is covered by wedding insurance. A typical policy costs between $150 and $500. Since the average wedding costs about $27,000, this can be a great way to protect your investment.

Do you really need wedding insurance? If you are having a low-key affair, you may not. If the wedding, for example, is a simple beach affair with only very close friends and family, you may feel perfectly comfortable without insurance. If your wedding is larger, or more expensive, though, wedding insurance is definitely a great idea. Why risk losing thousands of dollars because of a storm, missed flights or lost dresses when you can insure them for only a few hundred dollars? And the peace of mind insurance can give you is easily worth that.

Wedding insurance is particularly important if you are planning a destination wedding for several guests. Few things are as romantic as getting married on a beach at sunrise surrounded not only by the beautiful scenery, but your closest friends as well. Wedding insurance can make this dream a reality. If the groom’s tuxedo and those of his groomsmen are lost at the airport, you can rent or purchase new ones. Hold on the receipt, and then file a claim with your insurance company. The cost will be reimbursed to you. This is applicable to the attire of the wedding party, rings, and other important things. The same is true for vendors or limo drivers who don’t show up, gifts that are stolen, and more. Some insurance companies will even pay to restage the whole wedding if your photographs are damaged.

When you are planning your wedding, take a little time to look into wedding insurance. There are different levels of coverage and cost, but it is worth it to protect the most important day in your life. So many things can go wrong on your wedding day; wedding insurance lets you focus only on what goes right.

The best sources for wedding insurance are: Travel Guard, Wed Safe and Protect My Wedding.  To insure your trip see our Beach Wedding Travel Planning resources.

Beach Wedding Local Traditions Give Special Meaning to Your Special Day

Including enchanting beach wedding local traditions in your destination wedding will make your ceremony unique and memorable. Since you’re traveling to a glamorous and interesting place, local traditions add a delightful touch for both you and their guests.

Local traditions are easy to incorporate into your beach wedding. Small accents, such as a native flower or regional drink or dish, could be added to the wedding or reception. Write a few words of your vows in the local language. Tropical regional dishes or music lend themselves to an exotic wedding. Play the region’s music at your reception and learn some jazzy local dances.

Beach wedding local traditions for Jamaica might include spicy cuisine on your dinner menu, like zesty jerk chicken, curry shrimp or mouth-watering sweet cassava pudding. A special dark rum fruitcake is a local Jamaican wedding tradition. The remainder of the cake is sliced at the end of the reception and mailed to loved ones who were unable to attend.

In Puerto Rico, the Priest often blesses a plate full of coins representing good luck and prosperity and presents them to the groom. The groom then gives the coins to the bride as a present after their vows are exchanged. In another local Puerto Rican tradition, a doll, covered in little charms and dressed in similar fashion to the bride, is placed at the bride and groom’s table at the reception. The doll charms are given as gifts to the wedding guests.

In Bermuda a local wedding tradition for good luck is to walk under a moon gate after your ceremony. Signifying prosperity, the groom’s cake is topped with a gold leaf, while a silver leaf tops the bride’s cake. A small cedar sapling is another way to top the cake. This sapling is later replanted to signify the growth of the new couple’s love.

In the Bahamas, local wedding traditions will have your guests dancing the night away to steel drums. Local cuisine in the Bahamas includes traditional dishes such as rock lobster, conch fritters, or souse, which is a soup unique to the Caribbean. Delectable West Indian rum cake will serve as a terrific wedding cake and bring the true taste of the Bahamas to all your guests.

Cuban wedding receptions are well-known for their dancing and dynamic music. The money dance is a local tradition where each male guest dances with the bride and pins money to her dress.

Beach wedding local traditions in Belize include the bride waltzing or dancing down the aisle.

The dollar dance is also a local Mexican wedding tradition. In Mexican weddings, too, an ornamental rope, or loose lasso in the shape of eight and signifying infinity, is often placed around the bride and groom when they take their vows.

Whether it’s exotic cuisine, lively music or colorful dancing, incorporating beach wedding local traditions is one of the best ways to create captivating memories of your special day that will last for years to come.

Wedding Registry Ideas

Today’s modern couple wants a variety of wedding registry ideas. Besides traditional gift registries for fine china and silver, today’s brides and grooms are just as likely to register to fund their honeymoon, buy his and her camping gear or cooking classes, or fund a room addition to their new home. Modern wedding registry ideas go well beyond the old-fashioned toaster and towel sets. Many couples are now marrying later in life and already own the basics in pots and pans and toasters, so their needs are very different from couples 30 years ago.

Which wedding registry ideas would you like to try?

Let’s start with the honeymoon. Every couple dreams of that ideal honeymoon filled with exotic beaches on far-away islands, expensive champagne and limo rides at sunset. The honeymoon registry allows them to create a website with virtually any type of vacation, adding many luxurious extras, and send the link to friends and loved ones who choose any of the items listed to give as a wedding gift.

Many of the most unique wedding registry ideas reflect your personality as a couple. What are the hobbies you enjoy together? If you love camping, register for camping gear. If you’re remodeling a 1910 bungalow, register for antique hardware or light fixtures. Maybe you’d like to add a luxury bathroom spa to your home, complete with heated towel racks. Do you love to barbeque and entertaining in your backyard? How about a wedding registry to outfit your backyard oasis. Items in this category could include fancy barbeque equipment, patio tables and chairs, cushy lounge chairs or outdoor fireplaces. Once you’re married, invite everyone over for an outdoor party to enjoy the gifts with you.

Maybe the two of you have absolutely everything you need or perhaps you would like to use the event of your wedding to do something meaningful for others. If so, there are wedding registry ideas to accommodate you. A charity gift registry accepts charitable donations to personalize your wedding gift and inspire greater giving. There are charity registry sites set up with literally thousands of choices for people to donate in your name. You can even choose more than one charity so your wedding guests will have a choice of where to give. Most sites offer easy-to-use tools that help you announce your registry, view donations or make updates.

Your friends and family want to give wedding gifts that you will enjoy for years to come. Wedding registry ideas should be used as a guide for them to give the perfect gift to honor your marriage. Whatever your wishes and needs as a couple, it’s all up to you!

Department Stores / Traditional Registry


Honeymoon & Home Regsitry


Unique/Modern/Eco Friendly


Online Only Stores


Multiple Store / Gift Card Registry


Charitable Contributions