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Your ticket to planning a destination wedding

Thinking of having a destination wedding? Planning one involves a lot of the same things as a traditional wedding -- choosing a guest list, selecting a venue, finding a florist, photographer and so on -- but doing so from another country adds another layer of difficulty into the mix.

Sarah Pease, owner and creative director of Brilliant Event Planning in New York City (which specializes in destination weddings in Ireland and Spanish-speaking locales) spoke to CBSNews.com and detailed some of the most important to-dos when it comes to saying "I do" abroad.

The first thing couples should do when planning a destination wedding is figure out the guest list, according to Pease.

"Before you can start hunting for locations, you need to know how many people you're accommodating," she explained.

Keeping in mind where guests will be traveling from is also important when choosing a wedding location, Pease added. For example, if the bride's family is based in a big city, they'll have more destinations and flight times easily available to them than a groom's family based in a small town elsewhere.

Which brings us to location, location, location. Couples should be sure to research the legality of getting married in their destination of choice -- and consider making a stop at their local courthouse before hopping an international flight.

"By and large, most of my couples are getting their civil ceremony done in the U.S. beforehand, because so many -- like Mexico, for example -- have crazy requirements when it comes to having a legal marriage," said Pease.

Another thing to consider when choosing a wedding locale: your religious affiliation. If a couple is getting married in a country where Catholicism is the main religion, for example, they may have a hard time finding a rabbi.

Once a destination is determined, when should couples begin planning? "That depends on your guest list and how important it is for certain guests to be there," Pease said. "Rule of thumb is six months or more, but plenty of couples if they're just doing more of an elopement destination -- where it's maybe just the bride and groom and immediate family -- that can be done in as little as six weeks before."

If couples decide to hire a planner, that person can help with everything from organizing flight information and ground transportation to traditional wedding tasks like finding the right florist and making sure everything is delivered correctly and promptly.

It might not be easy to find those perfect vendors (florist, photographer, makeup artist, etc) when planning from afar, but Pease noted, "If you have a wedding planner who has strong contacts and has done their homework, they should be able to find you people." In bigger countries there will be a wide variety of people ready and eager to help, but those may be harder to come by on smaller islands -- and while it could sometimes be easier to bring your own vendors along for the trip, some countries, like Bermuda, require you to use local ones.

Planning a wedding in another country also means being aware of that country's customs and culture, and anticipating that things may move slower in around-the-world locales than they do in the U.S. Getting a response to a request that might seem simple -- like whether or not the salad can be done without tomato, or making sure the officiant has a microphone for the ceremony -- could take longer than couples may expect.

And when it comes to planning out the details of the big day, Pease added, couples should be "overly specific" to ensure nothing gets lost in translation.

"Vendors in foreign countries might not 'know' what you mean when you're talking about your bouquet, or dance floor layout or how you want the chairs arranged. When possible, send photos or sketches or whatever it may be," she advised. "What we may consider standard might not be the case in other places. So these are all things that you'll have to keep in mind as you're planning -- be very specific about what your expectations are, because otherwise you may be disappointed."

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