When couples think of dream wedding destinations, what are they fantasizing about? According to Christina Kosta, editor of "Destination Weddings & Honeymoons" magazine, chances are they're thinking of warm weather and the beach. But a wide range of other choices also await you.
While Las Vegas is still the number one choice of more than 100,000 couples annually for "getaway" weddings, destinations like the Caribbean, Hawaii and Mexico are rapidly becoming hot in more ways than one.
"Bermuda and the Bahamas have done a good job of catering to the wedding market," said Kosta. "They're making licensing easy by reducing the amount of time a couple has to be on the island before they can get married."
And because of the money that weddings bring into the economy, foreign governments are doing their part to promote their nation as an ideal destination wedding site.
"Sandals Resorts were probably one of the first when they came out with their "WeddingMoon" packages," continued Kosta. Sandals, with its 14 retreats on four islands in the Caribbean, noticed the destination wedding trend very early and capitalized on it by making getting married at one of their hotel sites simple and appealing.
Other resorts, seeing the increase in Sandals' business, quickly followed a similar course and began marketing their locales as a great place for not only a honeymoon, but a wedding as well. They've created flexible wedding packages to suit the needs of small to huge wedding parties, offering as little or as many services as you may require.
"Even though it's a legend that you can get married onboard a ship, cruises are also very popular for weddings," said Kosta. So if your dream is to be married at sea, understand there are limitations. Because ships travel in international waters, there is no one government under whose auspices you can be married at sea. However, according to Kosta, The Grand Princess is one that has received the needed credentials for at-sea ceremonies.
However, if you don't mind seeing water on only one side of the ship or wedding site during your ceremony or on one of their island stopovers, many cruise liners make getting married on board or along the voyage a simple affair. Kosta said, "Most cruise lines have a coordinator that will help you get married at any of the ports the ship docks at. You get off, you get married in St. Kitt or one of the other stops, then you get back on."
For couples whose wedding dream leans toward fairy tales, you can't go wrong with selecting a European country. With their villages rich in heritage and so much architectural splendor built into their historical castles and magnificent or quaint churches, there are few places on earth more perfect for a fantasy, Renaissance or Medieval wedding.
Warm stateside destinations also are becoming favorite choices, with Florida's beach resorts and Orlando leading the list. Wine country soirees and romantic resorts facing the Atlantic and Pacific are gaining in popularity too.
It's your choice. Idyllic islands, moonlit mountains, country castles, city cathedrals or luxury liners - a whole world of wonderful wedding sites await you.
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