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Follow these tips to sail through your vows

More and more couples are having destination weddings — tying the knot in a beautiful honeymoon spot so their friends and family can enjoy the location with them.

In the last five years, destination weddings have gone from an offbeat option to a way many couples begin their marriages.

It also will set your wedding apart from others, making it even more memorable.

Cost is another factor in the burgeoning popularity of destination weddings. The trappings of a wedding reception usually are available to the couple as a package deal, and the honeymoon spot is right there.

Guests also take advantage by turning the wedding retreat into one of their vacations for the year. Couples may want to consider holding their destination wedding during a slightly off-peak season, at a time the locale may not be as crowded, for extra savings on rooms and airfare.

Places that are easy to travel to, offer sunny beaches and have lots of entertainment options are great choices for destination weddings. Popular choices include the Caribbean, Hawaii and cruises.

One cruise line offers all-inclusive wedding/romantic honeymoon packages aboard its Caribbean fleet. Many of the ships feature an onboard chapel where the ship's captain can marry couples while the ship is at sea.

Packages can include live music, bouquets, cake, souvenir champagne glasses and formal portraits, as well as catering by the ship's renowned chefs. Couples can even have their ceremony captured by the ship's exclusive "Wed Cam'' so friends and family not onboard can virtually attend the nuptials by viewing them online from home.

Here are some important tips. Send "save the dates'' early — even a year in advance — so guests can plan their vacation schedules and obtain good fares.

Make sure there is an in-house wedding coordinator who can help from start to finish, and who will let you know everything the destination will and won't provide. Get a checklist from the coordinator so you know what documentation you'll need. Double check information through the destination's official tourist bureau and consulate to be sure you'll have the proper documentation.

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