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Destination weddings solve location dilemmas
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- When couples cannot decide between traditional wedding locations, the South offers some ideal spots away -- but not far -- from home.
Mississippi couples do not have to travel to Hawaii or the Bahamas to find romantic settings. Beaches, resorts and antebellum homes are a few of the sites gaining popularity in what is known as destination weddings.
Maci Pittman Flautt of Sumner did not want a large, traditional wedding, but ended up spending about the same amount on her beach wedding in September 2004 to her husband, Graham. They had all the trimmings a typical wedding and reception would have, including plenty of catered food, flowers, a band, tuxedos and a traditional wedding gown.
“We had a smaller number of guests than if we'd tried to have it near either of our hometowns, but we still had about 200 people at the wedding,” Flautt said. “We got married on Labor Day weekend, so a lot of our guests used it as an opportunity for a last summer vacation at the beach.”
Flautt said the biggest advantage of her destination wedding was the relaxed atmosphere.
“We had a wedding coordinator who worked out most of the details. Another challenge was family dynamics. With one set of divorced parents, the setting allowed more flexibility on how much time was spent together,” Flautt said. “The biggest challenge with any beach wedding is the threat of hurricanes.”
Bobbie Shaffett, family resource management specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said couples should consider the cost to them and their guests when selecting wedding locations.
“Unless couples are purposefully trying to reduce the number of people involved, destination weddings can be cost prohibitive for family and friends who would otherwise attend,” Shaffett said.
The financial specialist also encouraged couples to investigate the policies of businesses that will be involved.
“Find out their policies on what they will do if changes are made in the plans, such as when an attendant drops out and a dress is not needed or if weather or some other reason postpones or cancels the wedding,” she said.
If couples are seeking a destination wedding to reduce their costs, they need to consider other costs that may result from additional hometown receptions at another time.
“My main concern is that the couple not start out their life together with debt,” Shaffett said. “Good communication with parents involved and good planning will help avoid additional stresses related to the wedding expenses.”