Most hotels in the USA and the Caribbean will be happy to arrange your wedding. Some even price it as part of a package. One we know even to arrange a wedding free of charge. In most places, services are meaningful as well as beautiful and the marriage is always legal!
Some couples bring a few members of the family or a small wedding party whose members might stay in the same resort for a weekend, then leave the couple alone for the rest of the week. For those getting married for a second time who would like to bring their children, there are resorts which arrange the wedding, then provide supervised day long activities for the children and private areas where adults can enjoy beach and sports activities. Here are some tips for those who choose destination weddings. Before you go:
- Check your options. Some hotels offer free weddings and have unusual and memorable “once in a lifetime” places to marry.
- Documentation. Make sure that you have all of the necessary documentation. This can be done through consulates, tourist boards, on site hotel wedding planners or your travel agent.
- Travel agent. Tell your travel agent or hotel booking agent that you are planning to get married in the hotel, and get the name of the person who will assist you on site.
- Contacts. Let friends and family know your hotel phone and fax.
- Wedding party. Decide how many of your family and/or friends are coming and book rooms well in advance.
- Dress. Decide what you both want to wear. Most women choose full bridal gowns or white cocktail dresses. Most men wear a tuxedo or a jacket, tie and pants. Pack these in a separate suitcase.
- Music. If soft background music is in your dreams, take a favorite CD or tape and a player.
- When you are there. Make an appointment with the hotel wedding consultant after arrival.
- Choose your wedding date. Most couples plan the ceremony for one or two days after arrival.
- Pick your spot.Tour the property together on your own and choose a few beautiful sites for the ceremony BEFORE the wedding consultant takes you on a tour.
- Choose a color theme. Have a few of your favorite colors in mind. The theme can be carried out in your bouquet, your cake, decorations, etc.
- Plan your wedding day
- Will you get married in the morning or at sunset?
- What will you do after the ceremony?
- Stay in your wedding finery?
- Go to dinner with another honeymoon couple?
- Have a champagne cocktail at the bar?
- Dine in the gourmet restaurant? (be sure to reserve a romantic table in advance.)
- Plan your photographs. Even if the hotel arranges the wedding free of charge, you will have to pay the photographer, probably in cash. If you want a video, tell the hotel wedding planner in advance.
Where to stay
The place you choose to be your “home away from home” is the key to honeymoon happiness. The hotels and resorts mentioned here have been carefully selected to meet or surpass all of the standards of honeymoon happiness. We’ve chosen only a few for each destination. Some are large, sophisticated properties. Some are small and intimate. Budget properties are listed under Best Budget Bets.
Preparing for your honeymoon
Your Passport: These are important details which should be taken care of at least two months before your wedding. If you do not have a passport, apply for one at your local Passport Office or get application forms at the Post Office, fill them out and mail them. You will need two passport sized photos (head shots that are 2” x 2”, full face, and on a plain background) plus proof of US citizenship (A certified birth certificate bearing a state seal and your date of birth)
The fee for a passport that will be valid for 10 years is $97.00.
Having a passport is a good idea in general. Places that did not require them before (such as many of the Caribbean islands, Mexico and Canada, will require them as of 2006 and 2007, due to security precautions resulting from September 11.
Couples traveling just after the wedding should carry a copy of their marriage certificate and brides should get a passport in their maiden name, then have it changed after the wedding trip.
You can check details by calling the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 FREE. To check on whether your honeymoon destination requires you to hold a U.S. passport, check www.travel.state.gov.
Passports generally take 6 weeks to complete. For an extra $60 you can have the passport expedited, however you might have to make an appointment and go to the nearest Passport Bureau in person.
To have a passport issued in your married name after the honeymoon, obtain form DS5504, which you can get from the web site at www.travel.state.gov, fill it out and return it to National Passport Processing, PO Box 132 90, Philadelphia, PA 19101-3290.
This process takes approximately 6 weeks. Expediting the process costs $60.