Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Health Considerations for Destination Weddings

Given the tendency for ever more increasingly exotic destination weddings, health considerations can be extremely important. Some of the places where people have destination weddings are in remote places in the developing world. It is important to make sure your vaccinations are up to date. The more remote your wedding and honeymoon locations, the more critical this becomes.

There’s good reason to do so, more than half of Americans traveling abroad will become sick. Of these, about 8% will need to see a doctor. That’s almost a 1-in-10 chance of needing medical attention. The good news is that the most common illnesses are for diarrhea or skin conditions (rash, sunburn, etc.). When you travel for your destination wedding, you should take medication in case you get sick.

But there are other illnesses that can’t be treated with over-the-counter medications. All travelers should be up to date on their normal immunizations, which include: diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), penumococcus, H.influenza type B, and the annual flu vaccine. Different countries might require additional vaccines: Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, meningococcal disease, typhoid fever and possibly rabies. Of this latter group, hepatitis A is the most important since it can be transmitted by impure food or water.

This shouldn’t scare or alarm you. Most resorts, even in the developing world, are very safe and should not concern you. However, it’s your wedding and honeymoon – do you want to take the risk? The vaccinations are good for many years (some for life), so the temporary discomfort and inconvenience is worth the risk to make sure you are protected.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Has Ann Taylor Canceled Celebrations?

We’re going to a friend’s destination wedding later this month and I need a light blue dress. From past experience, we’ve had very good luck with Ann Taylor Celebrations line (both at our own wedding and for a friend's wedding). However, our local Ann Taylor store seems to have stopped carrying it and I’m wondering if Ann Taylor has cancelled the Celebrations line (seriously disappointing!).

The Ann Taylor Celebrations line has been a godsend to destination wedding brides. The dresses are good quality, relatively inexpensive, can be obtained at stores nationwide and come in a wide range of sizes so alterations are minimal.

I hope this is a temporary outage and not a full cancellation of the Celebrations line.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

U.S. Wedding Travel

Over the last few months, we have been traveling back and forth to Europe quite a bit. Through our travels, we’ve met many young people from Europe traveling to the U.S. for destination weddings.

If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. In the U.S., there are more locations, more options, more venues and more vendors. Given the weaknesses of the U.S. dollar against the Euro, it’s also a lot cheaper for them (although the dollar has bounced back a little over the last two months).

With that said, there are big changes to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program coming tomorrow. The Visa Waiver Program is for residents of certain countries to travel to the U.S. without a visa – mostly Western European countries.

Effective tomorrow, if you are part of the Visa Waiver Program (i.e., you don’t need a visa to travel to the U.S.), you must still register with the U.S. Government. This new registration system is called ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). You can fill the form out on the Internet and approvals take seconds. Once completed, you will be able to travel to the U.S.

The program is designed to give U.S. law enforcement more time to screen for potential terrorists. Unfortunately, this means it takes more time for non-U.S. residents to enter the U.S. (and more hassles).

If you are thinking about a destination wedding in the U.S., you should be aware of this additional step you will need to go through. And if you are a destination wedding vendor in the U.S., you should consider mentioning this to your foreign clients so they aren’t caught by surprise.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Breaking the Silence

Happy New Year! 2008 ended very quietly for us. We received dozens of messages from readers wondering what happened. The truth is, we spent much of the fall traveling, including trips across the U.S. (Texas, Illinois and Florida) and also overseas (including Spain, Gibraltar and Morocco).

With all the traveling, it didn’t give us much of an opportunity to blog. Sorry about that!

We’re back. Hopefully we’ll get back on our weekly blog schedule soon. Thanks for your patience!