Destination Weddings

Tips direct from the brides themselves for planning and executing a dream wedding in an exotic locale.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionThe location of Mollie and Eric's wedding put everything within walking distance for their guests.
The Couple: Mollie Tobin and Eric Harstad
The Location: Nevada City, Calif.

Mollie's Story:
"My husband and I were 33 when we married and we'd been to too many weddings that were 'perfect,' but not memorable. So, we did things that mattered to us, even though they weren't standard. We had our older siblings perform the ceremony, I had a Man of Honor, and my Dad played Stand by Your Man for our father-daughter dance. It was truly 'us,' and everybody knew it."

Her Tips:
Keep your destination wedding self-contained: "I chose my location because the property had 34 acres of cabins, chalets, motel rooms, two cafes, a waterfall and a narrow-gauge railroad. Everything was within walking distance for our guests, including the town. Guests could choose accommodations based on their personal needs. After our marriage ceremony at the waterfall, we went for a train ride and then onto one of the cafes for the reception."

Include your guests: "Because our guests were all on-property for the wedding, we invited everyone to the rehearsal dinner. We hired a shuttle to take everyone from the site to my parents' house for a bbq and everyone had a great time. Plus, thanks to everyone wearing nametags, the guests all knew each other by the time the ceremony came around."

Make it personal: Mollie recommends adding your own personal touches to your wedding wherever possible, "My mother is a quilter and she had our wedding guests sign individual quilt blocks, which she planned to turn into a Wedding Quilt. Also, in addition to centerpieces, we placed a different cake on each table and allowed our guest to seat themselves according to their preferred cake flavor."