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10 Do’s and Don’ts for Tropical Weddings

A common fantasy for brides-to-be is to tie the knot on a beautiful white sand beach. Consider this checklist to ensure that your romantic destination nuptials are postcard perfect.

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1. Do Plan Far Ahead

Depending on your preferred tropical destination there can be all kinds of legalities for civil ceremonies, and on some islands only symbolic ceremonies can be performed, so you might have to legally marry ahead! There are other considerations as well; you might need to provide paperwork on your physical condition, proof of medical insurance, and more, so allow yourself many months before the actual date to plan. (Photo courtesy of Bucuti and Tara Beach Resorts)

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2. Don’t Forget to Consider the Weather

Check your destination’s hurricane, tropical storm and rainy season, and ensure you are not planning your wedding during that time. Or try to choose islands that are outside of the hurricane belt like the Dutch Caribbean’s ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao) if you need to plan your wedding for late summer or fall which is often a stormy time. And ensure you have an indoor or covered option if it does rain! Also keep in mind the constant trade winds prevalent on many islands when choosing your attire.

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3. Do Search Online for Packages

AMResorts hosts thousands of tropical weddings each year at over 24 properties in Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico. Amanda Davis, Product Manager, Romance, for AMResorts says, “I always advise couples to compare our packages online first, we have so many cool extras – entrance by helicopter, spa treatments, complimentary nights for their honeymoon or anniversary… it all depends on their individual tastes.” Many resorts also offer deep discounts if you book your honeymoon with them as well. (Photo courtesy of AMResorts)

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4. Don’t Book Without a Preview

Nashette Wouters is the only certified Beverly Clark wedding planner in Aruba, one of the most popular tropical island wedding destinations in the world. She works for Bucuti and Tara Beach Resorts that host around 60 surfside ceremonies per year. She says, “In my experience, the weddings that run the most smoothly are the ones in which the couple have come down first to check out everything beforehand. It gives the bride great peace of mind knowing exactly what happens where, and it makes planning the entire event so much more efficient.” (Photo courtesy of Aruba Tourism Authority)

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5. Do Hire Local Professionals

These days, almost every major resort has their own on-site wedding planner, many even have their own wedding planning websites like the Aruba Marriott, and most islands have top quality reception caterers, florists, and professional photographers. With the ability to easily stay in constant contact through technology, it makes sense to use local professionals because they know everything there is to know about their island. But ask for references from satisfied couples first, and ensure you get all contracts in writing. (Photo courtesy of AMResorts)

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6. Do Consider an Adult Exclusive Resort

If you are in an adult-exclusive resort you’ll never have to worry about shouting your vows over the voices of excited young ones playing in the pool or frolicking loudly on the beach. Though you might have a child or two as invited guests that are staying at family-friendly spots nearby, you can ask the resort to make allowances for them to be on the property for that day only. (Photo courtesy of AMResorts)

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7. Do Invite Guests Early

Give your guests plenty of time to take advantage of discounts in airfare and accommodations by booking ahead, and time to get travel documents or vaccinations, hire babysitters or pet sitters, and book vacation days from work. By getting them involved early you can also give them the opportunity to contribute financially ahead as their wedding present to you, rather than bringing gifts to the event. (Photo courtesy of AMResorts)

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8. Don’t Forget Plan B

Mimi Gratton, sales director of Blue Sea Anguilla, helps couples plan weddings at various upscale resorts around the island. She says, “Though you plan for every contingency and you expect everything to go off without a hitch, you must prepare for unforeseen circumstances. If you have a worst case scenario and a good plan B then you will be much more relaxed when the big day arrives.” (Photo courtesy of Blue Sea Anguilla)

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9. Don’t Forget Island Events

Many tropical islands have annual carnivals, regattas, outdoor music festivals, and national holidays when everything stops, no one works, and the entire island is party central. This is not a time you want to be trying to have an intimate and romantic beach wedding, as your special day will be totally eclipsed by their gala event, and stores for anything last-minute will be closed. (Photo courtesy of carnaval2010.org)

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10. Don’t Check Essentials with the Airline

It’s annoying when your checked bag goes to an entirely different destination, but not uncommon, so it’s imperative to keep your essentials traveling with you. Jennifer Stein, Editor in Chief of Destination I Do magazine (www.destinationidomag.com) says, “Never ship your dress or check it in with the airline. Make sure you carry it on with you. Call ahead to request a closet in first class where your dress can be hung, or put it in the overhead compartment. There are three things you cannot get married without – your groom, your minister and your dress.”