Destination weddings demand a very specific kind of attention when it comes to the gown. While this is of course a major decision for any bride-to-be, it's an even more significant consideration with a scenic backdrop in an exotic locale or a balmy tropical climate. Of course, the bride wants to look stunning on her big day, but she also wants to be comfortable, whether she's tying the knot on a beach in the Bahamas or the mountains of St. Lucia.
Fortunately, some of the major trends this year fuse function & fashion, providing the perfect dresses for any temperature or setting.
A shorter hemline
Gone are the days when a wedding gown needed to be grazing the floor. In fact, shorter dresses are just as elegant, & they offer a perfect chance to show off some chic footwear while also maintaining a slightly more laid-back vibe at a low-key affair. Additionally, dresses that hit at the knee or above work well for beach weddings because you won't have to worry about your gown dragging in the sand. Consider a strapless number with a floaty chiffon skirt for a ceremony near the rainforest, or go for a dress with scalloped edging & a more tapered fit for a seaside wedding.
The soft, Grecian-inspired silhouettes that are popular this year couldn't possibly look more feminine. Plus, these maxi-gowns have an airy quality that is made for a breezy location. Consider a gown with shimmering accents and a sheer neckline or sleeves, which shows the right amount of skin. Or, you could go for a dress that has elaborate draping & a low cowl back for an unexpectedly sultry look that screams "goddess." You can never go wrong with a simplistic spaghetti empire waist gown with subtle pleating, which has classic appeal.
Due in part to the wild popularity of the major motion picture "The Great Gatsby," gowns with a flirtatious 1920s flair are making a major comeback. This trend makes a lot of sense for island weddings – after all, what could be more eye-catching in the bright Caribbean sun than sparkling beaded details? If you're aiming for a look that's understated, choose a dress with sequined sleeves or one with a vintage-inspired draped silhouette, which give a subtle nod to Old Hollywood without being over-the-top.
The timeless A-line
The A-line dress is timeless for a reason: It's ultra flattering. This year, dresses will feature lightweight fabrics which are perfect for weddings in hot climates. Additionally, these gowns will boast a breathtaking movement that emulates the gentle curvature of ocean waves. Floral-esque straps lend a touch of romance to these styles, while vine-like details draw inspiration from nature's beauty.
As more couples become entranced by the notion of tying the knot in an exotic location, one of the most exciting aspects to consider is style. While of course, the bride will be spending a lot of time picking out the perfect gown in which to say "I do," she needs to find fitting gowns for her bridesmaids as well. The unique elements of destination weddings grant a lot of freedom in terms of the attire, & many brides are taking advantage of this flexibility to go for offbeat & eclectic styles that will make their ceremony stand out.
Need a little inspiration? Here are some of the hottest bridesmaid looks for 2014:
There's nothing wrong with sticking to neutral colors – in fact, these dresses can have just as much intrigue as their brightly hued counterparts. The key to selecting the right hue is to ensure that it pops against the backdrop. For example, a soft slate will look stunning at a beach wedding, while a beige or taupe might blend in too much with the sand. The best part about neutrals is that you can have some fun with the accessories since the gowns are so simple. Choose dresses with intricate necklines or unusual silhouettes to maintain an element of intrigue despite the understated tones.
What could be more stunning at island weddings in the Caribbean than tropical florals? For a bold statement, you might go for gowns printed with watercolor blossoms in shades of teal, coral & buttery yellow, which are all colors that are bound to make a splash this year. Who says bridesmaids need to wear dresses, though? If you want to incorporate florals in a subtler way, you could have them don printed bubble skirts with vibrant patterns, which look darling with metallic heels & simple white blouses.
Too much matching can sometimes be boring, so feel free to have your bridesmaids embrace their individuality, as long as there's one cohesive element tying all of their dresses all together. You might choose one color, such as violet or aqua, & have your ladies sport gowns in varying shades of that hue. Or, you could have all of your bridesmaids wear styles in the same color but different cuts – which is a spectacular idea when the women in your bridal party have very different body types.
One of the biggest trends in the fashion realm right now is boho-chic, & many brides are opting to apply it to their beach weddings. This is truly the perfect look for a laid-back oceanside affair. From maxidresses in muted hues to romantic '70s-inspired flower crowns, the idea is to achieve a look that's simultaneously effortless & elegant.
It's become increasingly common for couples to jet off to an exotic locale to say "I do." Naturally, strolling across pristine white sand with crashing waves in the distance is a welcome alternative to walking down a traditional aisle. While the possibilities are endless for planning destination weddings, some brides- & grooms-to-be are still hesitant to plan their events in a far-off location. Whether it's a strict budget or another aspect that's holding you back, many common concerns are actually just myths.
Read on & put your worries to rest:
Myth: It's going to be way more expensive
Reality: Destination weddings can actually be far more affordable than those at home, particularly when planned at all-inclusive resorts. Some chains offer special deals or tiered wedding packages that range in price so that no matter your budget, you can plan the big day of your dreams. Additionally, these packages make it a lot easier to stay in control of costs. You might even consider combining your wedding & honeymoon – such as through the Sandals WeddingMoon option – to minimize your travel costs & seamlessly segue into marital bliss. Having a travel agent that specializes in destination weddings can be invaluable for minimizing your spending. These professionals usually have insight into what locations or packages will save you a lot of money, & they also have access to discounts that you can use. Plus, the reality is that there may be fewer attendees at island weddings, & a smaller guest list means lower costs.
Myth: It's going to take far more time to plan
Reality: A common misconception is that the research process will simply be too time-consuming for distant beach weddings. However, this is once again where travel agents come in to save the day. Instead of spending tedious hours poring over information online, it's helpful to have a specialist who can narrow down the ideal location based on your preferences, & additionally, ease your mind by working out a lot of the travel logistics. Certified travel agents have the advantage of knowing a lot about the destination, so they can provide you with useful insight & assistance that will make for a stress-free planning process.
Myth: All destination weddings are the same
Reality: Traditionally, destination weddings had a somewhat uniform, cookie-cutter feel. That has all changed now, thanks to brands like Iberostar, which offers packages & à la carte with your own special wedding planner. Whether you're envisioning a lavish wedding in St. Lucia, a vintage-inspired affair in Antigua or a quaint ceremony in Mexico, anything is possible.
At the core of any wedding is, of course, romance & excitement – but the menu is also a major component. Not only does the food you serve have an impact on the overall experience, but it can provide the perfect way to highlight the local culture for destination weddings. Considering the fact that you'll be saying "I do" in an exotic destination, it definitely won't do to resort to a traditional reception menu. You'll need to think outside the box to make your menu truly memorable for both you & your guests.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
It makes sense to emphasize fresh fish when designing the menus for island weddings. Jerk scallop skewers are a super easy appetizer idea that's fitting for a Jamaican wedding. Coconut shrimp, which is a classic favorite, is also a great finger food option for a Caribbean wedding. Remember that it's the little things that count, so sides are a great way to incorporate local flavor as well. Tostones – or fried plantains – are a sweet staple in the Dominican Republic that pair well with spicy meats. If you're planning a wedding in Negril, consider bacon-wrapped plantains or conch fritters. Of course, a selection of Caribbean chutneys are a delicious touch to your hors d'oeuvres display.
Go buffet style
Food bars that let guests make their own plates are a great idea for many reasons. This strategy allows them to sample a lot of different exotic flavors & also lends the affair a more casual vibe, which is perfectly appropriate for beach weddings. Planning to tie the knot in Mexico? A guacamole bar that lets guests customize their dip with extras like candied jalapenos, sliced cucumber or fresh-squeezed lime will definitely be a crowd-pleaser. What about for a wedding in Hawaii? A sashimi bar is sure to be hit for an event on these islands.
One of the best ways to build an innovative destination wedding menu is to incorporate fresh local fruits into your dessert. For example, a passionfruit cake is a lot more interesting than your typical vanilla or chocolate confection, & it gives guests a taste of the islands. You don't even have to stick with the traditional wedding cake when it comes to the dessert. Coconut macaroons are a delicious option for a Caribbean wedding, & Mexican wedding cookies are another time-honored favorite that your attendees are sure to enjoy. The possibilities are endless, so why not get creative & serve up fresh mini churros for each guest with a trio of Mexican chocolate, dulce de leche & cinnamon dipping sauces?
If you've always imagined yourself saying "I do" in an exotic locale with a breathtaking beach backdrop, a destination wedding is the right choice. There are countless possibilities when it comes to picking the perfect location, so with a little research, you can certainly find one that fits your tastes & reflects your unique relationship. Before you start planning one of these special events, though, there are certain considerations you need to take into account to ensure you have a relaxing & enjoyable big day.
Whether you're tying the knot in Tahiti or Mexico, remember these tips:
Do you have your passport? This document is required for destination weddings outside the U.S., so you should make sure you allow enough time to apply for one. There is the option of expedited applications, but the process will still take several weeks. You'll also need to bring proof of citizenship to wed in the Caribbean, Mexico & other foreign destinations.
Don't forget to research the marriage laws for the destination you choose. Every country is different, but many locations require that the couple applies for a marriage license in person. That means you'll want to arrive with all of the necessary paperwork & enough time to take care of the application. Additionally, some locations have a waiting period of several days. Looking into the specific laws ahead of time will ensure you're fully prepared – the last thing you want is any surprises putting a dent in your romance.
A destination wedding requires more notice for your guests. Be sure to send out save the date announcements & invitations as early as possible, & discuss your plans with immediate family from the start.
A travel agent is invaluable when it comes to these events. They can be a liaison with your resort & even act as a wedding planner or coordinator. A knowledgeable agent will also typically have special access to benefits, amenities, tours & wedding packages that can make your big day particularly memorable, as well as cost-effective. Plus, these advisors can make your guests' lives easier by looking into group discount rates. Be sure to pass on your travel agent's information to friends & family so that they can facilitate the booking process.
For brides, a destination wedding will likely demand some special planning in regard to style & beauty. First, you'll need to think about how you're transporting your gown to make sure it stays in tip top condition. It's also important to think about the destination's climate. After all, long trains aren't practical for beach weddings – & it may be necessary to invest in melt-proof makeup for island weddings.