Being a Destination Bride.

Home or Abroad? Over the past few weeks now many of our brides have been jetting off to picturesque destinations to tie the knot. On the plus side the chances of a warm and sunny climate are much more likely than on our shores. It seems a past era now since 6 week school summer holidays were long and hot. In addition with the offer of a wedding planner overseeing all aspects of your special day, marrying abroad can seem like the perfect stress and hassle free option compared with staying at home. Yet one of the downsides of this choice, many of our brides tell us, is the impact of valued loved ones not being able to attend for reasons such as poor health or because of the cost. This can lead to upset and in some cases has led to families falling out. In addition with the recent Zica virus now spreading to holiday destinations this can also put off prospective parents to be from taking the risk of attending the wedding. Yet such problems can also occur when choosing to marry in the UK and indeed, if anyone saw the recent picture of our lovely Cornish coastline recently then why not stay at home? 

However for brides seeking warmer climates to say "I do" we thought who better to advise our brides than a real life destination bride. We at Iconic Bride therefore caught up with Lucy, who earlier this year travelled to the Caribbean climate of Barbados to marry her husband Steven.

 Here are her top tips...

TIP 1. Taking your wedding dress abroad.

Lucy says: After spending all that time looking for my dream dress I wasn't about to trust it to go into the hold. I checked with my airline and they advised I could take it on the plane and that it was best to have my dress travel in a cabin sized box or luggage case. I'm so glad I did because I had peace of mind throughout the long flight and my dress was still in perfect condition when we arrived. 

We say, We spoke with a former cabin crew about the best place to put your wedding dress on a plane. Her response " the luggage guys do a great job but at the end of the day packing a plane hold is like playing tetris".

Basically saying that so long as all fits in the the plane together, then handling your dress in the same loving manner in which you do, won't be top of their priorities. As such your dress could quite easily need urgent attention on arrival to your hotel after an eventful journey if not carefully protected. We recommend the best place for getting your dress abroad is with you in the overhead locker.

Tip 2. Check with your airline what other things can be taken as hand luggage. 

Lucy says: "I was very conscious about keeping my costs down and whilst buying into a package with our resort was much easier and less costly than trying to do it all ourselves, I hadn't wanted all the additional extra's that you can be drawn into having. One of those extra's was flowers for my bridesmaids for which my destination hotel was not offering a wide range of options for. I wanted my bridesmaids to have different flowers to my own bridal bouquet but that tied in with my orange colour theme. I had therefore seen some gorgeous silk flower bouquets for my bridesmaids at a really good price but I was unsure because of the metal in them if they could go as hand luggage. Again I didn't want to chance them not making it across by putting them into the hold. After contacting my airline it turned out they could come on the plane with me and this saved me money. 

We say: We spoke with local florist Jane from The Flower Room, Edwinstowe.

Here is what she said.. "I personally would always go with fresh cut flowers, there is nothing more wonderful than the look and smell of real flowers. Prices for a hand-tied bouquet can start from £10, but of course depends on what type of flowers you are wanting and the time of year. Its important brides don't forget that flowers are seasonal so may not always be available, its always upsetting when a bride has her heart set on a particular arrangement but discovers the flowers are out of season. For destination brides, a wedding coordinator will be best to advise you as to what flowers are in season and are often included in your package deal. 

At the Flower Room , we do of course do silk bouquets for destination brides wanting to sort this themselves, with a starting price again in the region of £10. We have found brides who favour silk bouquets, do so as it can be also be a great keepsake of their special day and is an especially lovely gift for their bridesmaids too. For brides looking to keep down costs, this can be great way of combining both flowers and gifts as a budget saver. 

TIP 3. Passports.

Lucy says:  Make sure his and your own passport are in date. It may seem an obvious thing to say but when you have so much going on, its really easy to forget the most simplest of things. One of the things I didn't know for brides who want to get ahead, is you can change your passport into your new married name up to 3 months before the wedding day. I didn't find this out until it was too late so it went onto the jobs list after our return, but had I known this sooner, its something I would loved to have done.

We say: Check out www.gov.uk/changing-passport-information/name-marriage-and-civil-partnership which provides you with advice on changing your passport and what you need to do. Be also mindful if this is something you do go ahead with that you check with the country you are visiting about any visa's required to be applied for before entering the country, as some countries won't issue visa's for post dated passports. In addition if all your paper work does not match you may be denied entry to your own wedding, so get checking to ensure both your outbound and return flights are in the same name as your passport . Lastly something that frequent flyers will know well, is to allow enough time for postal applications to be processed and returned, especially in the height of holiday season when it can take much longer. 

Tip 4. Timing.

Lucy says: It was good that we allowed a couple of weeks between returning back from Barbados to having an evening reception for everyone that didn't come. It took away lots of the stress of battling jet lag and having to finalise details for the reception. Most of all it meant that I wasn't stressed about getting my dress dry cleaned and back in time. We had lots of our photos taken on the beach and in the gardens after the ceremony and even paid extra for an additional sunset shoot the following day which was definitely worth the money plus I got to wear my dress again!. However it did mean that my dress was in desperate need of cleaning and a bit of TLC in readiness for the reception.  Having plenty of time to get this sorted made a massive difference to my stress levels. 

We say: Get your dress professionally cleaned and steamed by a reputable company who specialises in bridal wear. Having got through the main event why run the risk for the after party? Iconic Bride uses the UK's leading specialist in bridal dry cleaning to provide their brides with both a drop off and home delivery service. Ranging from the Standard Cleaning Package through to the Sealed Heirloom Service, in which after cleaning, your dress is packed into a beautiful hand made acid free box in a design of your choice and protected with layers of acid free tissue paper. This is an excellent way to store your bridal dress, protecting it from the ageing effects of discolouration, light and dust. 

Tip 5: Learn to let go. 

Lucy says: Don't worry if you don't know every aspect of your destination wedding. Our wedding coordinator was fantastic. We had to meet with her on a couple of occasions to complete paper work and she really couldn't help us enough. Don't think you are being a nuisance by keep asking them, its your wedding after all so if in any doubt then ask. 

We say: We know weddings can be very stressful, but remember it is a time which is meant to be happy and joyous. Consider who can help you get to your destination wedding and don't be afraid to delegate roles to those who are making the journey with you. You may find getting them involved not only take off your pressure but helps them to feel they really are part of your special day. 

Acknowledgements: Destination Bride Lucy Fletcher. Jane at The Flower Room Edwinstowe, Notts. References:  www.abta.com  www.gov.uk/changing-passport-information/name-marriage-and-civil-partnership.co.uk.