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Choosing a wedding site -- Page 2

Picture perfect wedding site
On any given day, you can find a bride at The McNay Art Museum in San Antonio. While they can't all afford to wed there (reservations start at $4,500), the stunning grounds create a setting many San Antonio brides want to be photographed within.

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"The sweeping grounds, columns, porches, the natural scenery -- the McNay has a lot more than just architectural interest," says Kay Sharp, special event coordinator for the museum. "You're not just renting the space, you're renting a gorgeous estate." The original works by Rodin, Cézanne, Picasso, Gauguin, Matisse, O'Keeffe and Hopper also add a certain attraction.

Unlike Caswell House, the McNay requires that you use caterers on its list and that guests and hosts are gone by midnight. The McNay will accommodate 300 guests for a seated dinner or a buffet-style reception.

To find local museums in your area, contact your local chamber of commerce. Wedding planners will also know many popular picturesque sites close to your home.

Fun? Yes. Polite? Questionable.
Some couples want the spirit of an elopement, but with an audience. Thus was born the destination wedding, an event where not only the honeymoon, but the entire wedding, is set in an exotic, away-from-home location. Are these weddings more fun? Possibly. Are they inconvenient? Definitely. Are they rude? Questionably.

In her book, Miss Manner's Guide for the Turn of the Millennium, etiquette advice columnist Judith Martin addresses the concerns of a destination wedding. An inquiring bride plans to be wed aboard a cruise ship. She asks Miss Manners if her guests would be offended that they would have to purchase passage to the event.

"Miss Manners promises you they will be," writes Martin. "While it is nice that you prefer your friends' company to wedding presents, the real decision is whether you prefer their company in a place where you can afford to entertain them to the glamour of being married on shipboard."

To avoid hurt feelings, you should be prepared to foot the bill. Depending on the size of the guest list, destination weddings can be quite costly. Even so, some couples might want to go ahead, with or without all their friends and family.

"They are difficult to do and certainly much more stressful," says Huntress of destination weddings. "It requires traveling to the location to make plans beforehand." Huntress also adds that the couple planning the wedding is, in most circumstances, unfamiliar with the surroundings, local businesses and the area in general. Because of the unfamiliarity with local florists and caters, Huntress recommends that if you are planning a destination wedding, you should hire a wedding planner local to the area of the wedding.

Nice day for a Walt wedding?
There's only one Prince William to go around, and he's a little young. So all girls who dream of being a real princess will have to settle for a Walt Disney World wedding. Ceremonies, receptions and honeymoons can range from the relatively normal ceremony and sit-down reception, to lavish affairs including delivery of the bride via Cinderella's Glass Coach, delivery of rings on a glass slipper, trumpet heralds and a fireworks display. Packages budgeted for 100 guests range from $20,000 to $55,000.

Another popular destination wedding site is the Hawaiian Islands. Haiku Gardens on the island of Oahu offers several wedding packages on the beach. Prices range from $1,000 (which includes a romantic wedding garden with rose petals sprinkled at the site) to $3,000 (which includes a floral arrangement and photograph package).

Back to reality
If all these choices seem a bit overwhelming, Huntress offers these final words of wisdom. "People can become so obsessed with the cake and the reception, but what really makes the wedding is the people you invite. It's about having the people who care about you there."

-- Updated: May 4, 2005




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