Let’s not kid ourselves here. If we all were going to get the wedding of our dreams, it would probably be a destination wedding. Whether it’s a beach in Bora Bora or a cabin in Alaska, your dream wedding probably has a dream setting. And even if it’s at your family’s lake house, that’s still a destination.

But destination weddings also prove to be a bit tricky. A friend of mine once got married on a cruise ship and was thoroughly upset when each of her invited guests didn’t shell out $2,000 for a ticket, take a week off work, and buy her a wedding gift.

I didn’t say she was a very good friend…

So here are a few tips to ensuring your destination wedding is all that it can be instead of a major expense and pain in the neck for everyone involved.

1.) Understand what you are asking of people. If you’re asking them to watch you get married in an exotic location, understand they aren’t just paying for the plane ticket, they’re also using some of their hard-earned vacation days to see you. Moreover, they may have other expenses, like a sitter to watch the kids while they’re gone. When you put it like that, there really aren’t many people that could afford to do that in this economy.

2.) Do your research. If you’re getting married in international waters, all of your invited guests need passports. This means you must give them a heads-up at least six weeks in advance. And you never know. You may have some guests that can’t travel out of the country. In that case, you might want to have your ceremony in Hawaii instead of Figi.

Tips for Destination Weddings

3.) Search for discounts. Discounts are everywhere. You have to know where to find them! Searching travel sites, calling hotels individually, and expressing why you are visiting (many resorts give discounts to wedding goers since they know their resort will probably be in the background of many beautiful pictures).

4.) Plan ahead. A destination wedding is a lot more complicated than a typical wedding regarding travel. Your guests will probably need a hotel and rent their own car since they won’t be staying with family. And if your wedding isn’t taking place in the town where most of your family lives anyway, people will have to request time off work and book their tickets months in advance. Don’t make them pay more because you didn’t give them enough time to plan things.

5.) Visit ahead of time. Sure, your destination probably looks like something out of a paradise magazine, but resort managers pay good money for those photos. Visit for yourself before you make any solid decisions; that dream wedding could become a hot, sticky, disgusting nightmare if you aren’t too careful.

Where to Honeymoon