If it seems like everyone on your social media feed is getting engaged right now, you’re not alone. Research shows that one third of all engagements happen between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. And with holiday engagements, comes spring wedding planning.
In my side gig as a singing disc jockey, I’ve had the opportunity to objectively observe many weddings of all sizes and budgets. While each one is very special, there are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way to make your event one of kind for your guests.
Make it a Destination
One thing I hear over and over from brides and grooms is that their wedding day went too fast. One way to make it last longer is to select a destination location, where guests are more likely to travel and spend a few days away celebrating the special couple. From intimate dinners to cocktail receptions, destination weddings allow the opportunity for the betrothed to meet with guests over the course of the wedding week to spend time together and thank them for coming. I highly recommend selecting a destination that is easy to get to, affordable, offers a variety of accommodations to match any budget, and one that has many attractions to entertain multiple generations. Just make sure to tell your guests as far in advance as possible so they can plan their time away.
Pick a Unique Ceremony Location
The beach is a top choice for destination weddings because it gives guests a vacation setting to enjoy before, during and after your big day. I am fortunate enough to live in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, which allows non-commercial beach ceremonies on all public beaches. In fact, you only need a special event permit for your beach wedding if it doesn’t meet a short list of standards (see here). Of course there are dozens of other options in Myrtle Beach that offer Southern charm, historic significance or artistic intrigue. Brookgreen Gardens is a favorite for locals and visitors because of its picturesque sculptures and breathtaking gardens. I also love Pine Lakes for its gorgeous antebellum-style clubhouse and immaculate grounds. For an unexpected venue try Ripley’s Aquarium, where you can tie the knot under the watchful eye of serene aquatic life. Whatever you select, your wedding venue should match your unique style and taste.
Create Localized Gift Bags
With guests likely traveling from all over the country, start the experience right by creating localized gift bags to greet them upon their arrival. Shop a local boutique for a special gift, include a hand-picked list of favorite restaurant and attraction recommendations, or drop in the must-try dessert from the area.
Include Some Surprises
Unexpected surprises can make a magical day that much more memorable. If you selected an outdoor venue, consider offering fans during the ceremony. If you want your guests to dance the night away, a basket of flip-flops could help (at least their feet) feel more comfortable. If your new spouse has a special love for Adele, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson or Elvis, hire a celebrity look-alike from a local theater to make a surprise appearance.
The beauty of a destination wedding is that you are already in an amazing location, which means couples can save money and extend their stay into a honeymoon! Myrtle Beach has plenty of romantic resorts, like North Beach Plantation and Marina Inn at Grande Dunes, as well as private oceanfront homes and condos, to make a week away relaxing and special.
Remember, it’s your wedding and you should make it your own. A destination event is sure to leave a lasting impression on you and your guests for years to come.