Thursday, July 31, 2008

Second Marriages and Destination Weddings

It’s a sad fact that over half of first marriages end in divorce. But people don’t have to give up on love and many get remarried. And this has given rise to a boom in second marriage destination weddings.

Destination weddings are uniquely suited for second marriages. If you had a big church wedding for your first marriage (also known as “starter marriages”), you may be reluctant to have another. It can be awkward to invite people who attended the first wedding, and many people feel uncomfortable because of the “wedding gift” factor. Basically, having someone buy a gift for the first wedding and then getting a gift at the second one makes many brides (and grooms) uncomfortable.

Destination weddings offer a balance between the larger ceremony a couple may want with the elopement they feel they have to have.

In our quest to find destination wedding stories from real couples, we found a YouTube video that we’d like to share. This couple is sharing their story of a second marriage destination wedding.

Here’s the YouTube video:

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Domestic Destination Weddings

Destination weddings can take place anywhere! That’s one of the best things about them. But for us, a destination wedding means more than getting married “someplace else.” It means that the destination becomes an important and integral part of the wedding festivities.

North Carolina-based wedding photographer Mary Basnight contacted us and pointed out an oversight on our part – all of our coverage has been about destination weddings in locations outside the U.S. She’s right and this has been a significant oversight on our part, which we will attempt to rectify.

Destination weddings can take place anywhere. From Catalina Island in California to the Hamptons of Long Island. From the sin city of Las Vegas to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Our blogging about destination weddings in the U.S. has been minimal (one post about South Padre Island, Texas). We’ve had the incorrect attitude U.S. weddings are really “Deportation Weddings,” not Destination Weddings. I guess we’ve viewed them as shotgun affairs that need to happen FAST (usually because somebody needs to leave the country in a hurry). This isn’t the aesthetic we choose to subscribe to. However, Mary Basnight is correct, there can be wonderful destination weddings within the U.S. and we haven’t given them fair treatment.

We’ll attempt to rectify this glaring omission in our blog coverage soon.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Our Story

We’ve had a number of e-mails lately asking about our inspiration and motivation for doing this blog. This blog is really for you – the future brides and grooms who are interested in destination weddings.

Several years ago, we were planning our own destination wedding and were disappointed in the resources that were out there. We spent hundreds of hours trolling The Knot message board and other websites trying to get ideas. We wished we had a coach or mentor to walk us through the process. With that in mind, we started the Ultimate Destination Weddings blog to be your coach.

It started simply. We were the first in our social circle to get married. We found ourselves spending a lot of time going through our thought process with friends or answering their questions. This blog became a way to disseminate information to them in an easy-to-use format. Somewhere along the way, it caught on and we now get a few hundred visitors a day. We don't try to be all things to all people. We just try to offer good, solid, unbiased advice on planning destination weddings.

We are definitely NOT wedding coordinators. It's funny, last week, a woman named Stacey in Maine wrote and wanted to hire us to plan her destination wedding in Jamaica. We are flattered, but we have jobs and this is a just a hobby for us.

We aren’t paid to do this. And we rarely recommend specific vendors and don't keep preferred vendor lists (we've thought about it, but don't think it's for us). If we recommend someone and it goes bad for a couple, we lose our credibility. We only recommend people we really have faith in. We don’t shill for anyone and aren’t paid to do this. We do Ultimate Destination Weddings because we love it.

We hope you enjoy the blog and find it useful in planning your wedding.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Destination Weddings on a Budget

Destination Weddings are now mainstream. Just as there has been an escalation in cost and extravagance for traditional weddings, we’re starting to see the same thing in destination weddings (driven particularly by celebrities and the wannabes).

Many couples, including us, were drawn to destination weddings because we wanted something less pretentious than a traditional wedding. We found destination weddings to be good value for the money. And they still can be.

We found this YouTube video from CBS’ Early Show on Destination Weddings on a Budget and thought it would be good viewing for our readers. In it, Julie Chen (the host) interviews Antonia van der Meer, editor of Modern Bridge magazine.

As a summary, Antonia van der Meer and Modern Bride profile three different locations that they think are still good values: Italy, Mexico and The Bahamas. We would certainly agree with the last two (probably why we got married in the Bahamas), but can’t fathom how anyone would think Italy is a good value right now. Don’t get us wrong, we LOVE Italy, but the exchange rate is absolutely punitive right now (and we travel to Europe frequently).

Now that we’ve imparted our advice, here is Antonia van der Meer and Modern Bride magazine on destination weddings:

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Wedding Seasonality

We wanted to talk for minute about wedding planning. And we want to emphasize planning. PLANNING. And we mean it.

Depending on the nature of your destination (a beach wedding, a wedding at an Italian villa in the fall, etc.) there will be certain items that are only available seasonally. Ever tried to find a bathing suit in November for your destination wedding in February? How about flip flops?

It can be incredibly difficult to find some items you might need/want for your destination wedding if it is out of season. These items can include:
  • Bathing suits
  • Groom’s suit (or apparel)
  • Shoes and sandals
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Beach bags for out of town bags
  • Beach towels
  • Sea shells or other table decorations

As the summer wears on, stores will be having sales on merchandise. If you have a destination wedding this fall, winter or even next summer, you might consider stocking up on things you might need/want for your destination wedding.

Step back and really plan out your wedding. Think about everything you will need. You can save money and ensure you have access to things you might want by buying at the end of the season. But don’t wait too long or you might be out of luck.