The Do's and Don'ts of Destination Weddings: Celebrity Wedding Planner Sasha Souza's Advice to Couples

If your friends and family are scattered across the country – or even the world – a destination wedding provides a neutral location that doesn't favor any particular side of the family. Why deal with disgruntled relatives on the most important occasion of your life?

A relaxing wedding…yes, they do exist!  With destination weddings, you can "unplug" from much of the stress and anxiety "attendant" on planning the ceremony. With the right combination of resort and exotic locale, not only will you have the expert help of the resort's wedding planner, you might also be surprised at how many family and friends will seize the chance to wish you well and enjoy their own carefree vacation at the same time.  Talk about a win-win situation!

Always choose a resort that specializes in destinations weddings. Do your research – it's quite obvious from websites these days whether a resort has the expertise and know-how (legal requirements, etc.) For example, the popular Grand Lido Resorts in Jamaica prominently feature weddings and honeymoons on their home page because they're true specialists: You don't want to be a hotel's dress rehearsal!

Personalize your special day. Destination weddings are on average more affordable than full-blown traditional ceremonies, and good wedding resorts provide upgrades and optional add-ons to suit different tastes and budgets. Upgrade and personalize for a truly one-of-a-kind experience.

Think beyond the wedding ceremony. One of the greatest appeals of a destination wedding is the built-in honeymoon – no extra spending on travel, no travel fatigue – in short, no muss, no fuss.  Make sure you choose a resort that meets your needs. The Grand Lidos, for example, offer stellar spas, outstanding cuisine and gorgeous private beaches.   

No one has white weddings anymore, so go ahead and pour on the color. Since flowers dress up an event and add drama, be lavish with exotic, colorful blooms. In the tropics, you can really go wild with flowers.  Pour them on!

If you didn't take a year off to plan your wedding, don't panic. Resorts that specialize in destination weddings typically have expert onsite wedding planners who can work on a turnkey affair in a snap. 

You don't even have to leave your kids at home. If young children are part of the wedding party, or you have kids from previous marriages, you can include them in the wedding without a problem.  Just look for resorts that combine family friendly amenities and onsite wedding planning expertise, such as Breezes Resorts in the Caribbean, 

Soft sand and three-inch heels don't mix. Neither do long veils and exposed wedding gazebos – the panoramic views also promise stronger breezes.  Choose a site that matches your dress, veil and hair, for the most positive, memorable experience – and pictures.

Last, but not least – never check in your rings with your luggage. Always keep them on your person. The best wedding planners can work with unexpected and unplanned surprises – but lost rings can make a catastrophe of your special day.