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Choosing Your Wedding Location

Wedding_LocationAlthough a wedding planner or wedding organizer can do many things for you, one thing they'll rarely do is select the location for your wedding. They may very well arrange its use and make sure everything is where it needs to be when it needs to be there, but traditionally, as with the selection of your perfect fairy-tale wedding dress, the location for the ceremony is a decision for you and your groom to make. It's a personal task that shouldn't be delegated.

The classic wedding, of course, takes place in a church -- typically the family church of either the bride or groom or, if you're lucky, both. This fits the standard stereotype for the wedding, and it's the kind we see portrayed most often in the movies and on TV (from The Graduate to The Runaway Bride). Serious celebrity weddings (real or otherwise) always seem to takes place in a church, the more massive and grandiose the better. In fact, most weddings do take place in a church, with drinks, dancing, and speechmaking taking place at a reception hall located nearby shortly thereafter. Increasingly, however, couples are opting for more informal wedding locations, such as a loved one's home (especially nice if that loved one is wealthy), a public park, someone's back yard, or on the beach. This doesn't mean that the attire or any of the ceremony need necessarily be informal; we've all seen or been involved in deliciously formal weddings that have taken place somewhere other than a church.

On the other hand, entirely informal weddings have also become quite popular in the past decade or so, especially for older couples and couples renewing their vows. In fact, manufacturers make whole lines of informal wedding dresses for exactly such occasions. For example, have you ever considered getting married at sea? Even if you don't want to go to the trouble of arranging a cruise for yourself and your guests, you can always hire a nice, big yacht to take you out onto the Big Briny to get hitched. Just make sure you've got the Dramamine handy, and don't overindulge on the champagne and caviar.

Beaches are also popular informal wedding locations: there's something elemental about the meeting of the sea and the land that inspires awe in most folks, and makes them more open to the spiritual experience that all weddings should be. Naturally, there can be negative facets to a beach marriage: not only do you have to get your feet wet (it's a major part of the whole symbolic experience), you may have to deal with dive-bombing sea gulls, who aren't exactly renowned for their nice dispositions. One way to avoid this is to get married in Hawaii, which has no sea gulls, a fact that few people are aware of. This brings up a whole new category of wedding location: the destination wedding.

Destination weddings are becoming especially popular options, especially for Americans. A good destination wedding allows you to combine your wedding and honeymoon into one fantastic experience. What could be more romantic than getting married on a beach on Kauai, the Hawaiian island that's the very definition of "tropical paradise," or in Paris, with the Eiffel Tower in the background? Wouldn't you like to say that you skied the Apennines on the afternoon of your wedding day, with all your family in attendance? But you don't have to cross an ocean to enjoy a great destination wedding. The contiguous United States is large enough and varied enough to provide eye-popping marriage locations from end to end. Imagine getting married in a verdant volcanic crater in Oregon, or beside the Grand Canyon, or in Glacier National Park, or in the tropical Florida surf, or, well, you get the drift. You've also got easy access to the various Caribbean islands, Mexico, and Canada: a true embarrassment of riches when it comes to potential marriage locations.

The downside of destination weddings is that they're expensive -- especially so if you don't just chuck all your marriage plans and decide to elope. If the relatives you want to join you can't afford to attend on their own, you'll probably have to fly them in. This might not be so bad if the destination is domestic, but Paris and Hawaii can get very costly very quickly. Modern weddings already average into the tens of thousands of dollars, even without airfare to an exotic locale and the necessary lodging for you and your guests. While a destination wedding would create especially fond memories, if your funds are limited, it would be best to make do with a standard church or informal wedding in your hometown. There's no shame in a hometown wedding location -- most of your ancestors probably chose that option, all the way back to the caveman days.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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