Although the planning process was not easy, everything just fell into place perfectly on my wedding day, and I couldn't be happier. The weather wasn't the greatest, but there is no need to complain when you are in paradise. Also, I could thank enough for the friends who came down to shows us their love and support. :)
With the wedding officially behind me, I can finally sit down and reminisce about it, and of course share with you all just in case this is something you are also considering. Here is a short list of pros and cons that I drew up for having a destination wedding.
Not as expensive as traditional weddings
Exotic and unique locations
Low attendance rate
Vacation for your and your guests
Knowledgeable WC from resort really made the planning process easy
Expensive for guest to travel
Low attendance rate
Require vacation days
Will have to visualize everything, as all communication is via email or phone
Having a destination is nothing short of fun (IMO), but I am sure you are bount to hear some complaints from relatives and friends, at least is the experience of most brides. If that doesn't bother you, by all means, just go with it.
Below is my planning process after deciding on a destination wedding:
People travel all over the world to have their dream wedding, some like tropical beachs, while other sought out mountain tops or even Arctic glaciers. Both R and I enjoy hot weather with gorgeous beaches, plus we want to get away from our own dreary and cold weather, that's why we ended up choosing Cancun Mexico. Hawaii was definitely a huge contender, but since both R and I have been there, so we decided to go with somewhere new.
2. Location, location, location
Choosing a resort really depend on many factors, such as location, venue, affordability, and wedding packages. Since there are over 300 hotels and resorts along the Maya Riveria coastline, it was certainly a daunting task to narrow down to one. We based on our decision 2 huge factors: wedding packages and vacation packages.
Wedding packages ranges from being free to several thousand dollars. The detail packages can be found directly on the resort website. Once you decide on a resort, I would suggest getting in touch directly with their wedding department to put down a deposit to secure your wedding date and time.
Once we narrow down to a few resorts we were interested in, I got in contact with several travel agents to obtain vacation packages with group rate. The prices I got are several hundred dollars in differences, so all I can say is it pays to shop around. (if you want know who my W/C was, email me)
3. Announcement, announcement, announcement
Once we got the group quote, we immediately sent out Save the Date to our friends to let them know all about our big day. Some people choose to sent out physical cards, but due to the limited time we had to book these vacation packages, we decided to go with the electronic route. Since there is only so much you can fit on the card, we also got a website to let everyone know the details. As for where to host the website, there are tons of wedding website that have template, so it's easy to set up. Most of these site do have free accounts, but if you require online RSVP, they mostly charge a fee. I ended up using Momentville, because they only charged an one time fee.
Once you have a rough idea how many guests can attend, this is when you can start communicating with the online W/C (wedding coordinator) about all your decisions for wedding. At this point, you will only be communicating through email and phone.
- Ceremony location: beach, gazebo, garden etc
- Reception location: inside or outside
- Colour scheme for your wedding
- Food: buffet or 3 or 4 course meal
- Cake: design and flavour
- Photographer: use resort photographer or bring your own. If you bring your own, many resort charges a outsider vendor fee, they range from $100-$500. My resort charged $350/vendor. So if you have videographer and photographer, that would be a whopping $700 extra in cost.
- Music: DJ (need to book early) or just Ipod dock
- Decorations: you get get through the resort (expensive), or bring your own (some resort charges to set it up)
- Flowers: bouquet, bountinere, and centerpiece (you can get it at the resort or buy from outside vendors, just make sure you meet them in the lobby, so you won't get charge the outside vendor fee)
At this point, it would also be good to start dress shopping, as it takes a long time for dresses to arrive after ordering.
This is when you get down to the nitty gritty (at least a few weeks before the wedding date) and decide on every little thing, such as:
- Get your invitations printed and sent out
- Accessories to wear on wedding date
- Wedding dress fitting and alterations
- What type of wedding favors to buy
- Timeline for your wedding day
- Wedding day set up, and table/guest arrangement
- Corresponding songs for all the required dances
- Communicate with your photographer/videographer on your preferred style and expectation
- Make/buy decorations which will be much cheaper than what the resort offer(chair bows/table runners, cake topper, etc.)
- Print all your brochures, menu, guest list, etc
- Vows (if you are writing your own)
- Make your makeup and hair appointments (if you are getting it done at the resort)
- Prepare your OOT (out of town) gift bags for your guest as a gesture of appreciation.
- Confirm all travel plans: flight, transfer to hotel, and room reservations.
Usually you will be transferred to a onsite W/C 3 to 4 weeks before your wedding. This is the person who you will meet at the resort and be there on your day to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.
At this point, you should be done and ready to go, and not to mention stressed, since all you can rely on is your imaginations. All I can say is the onsite W/C does this everyday, and they are highly trained (at least mine was). They know exactly what they are doing, and can help you with anything that you require. Just make sure to make an appointment with your onsite W/C before you leave, so you both can go over everything.
That's it, the 6 basic steps to your dream destination wedding. I am sure I am forgetting or missing some informations, so if you have any question, feel free to email me at email@example.com. I will try to get back to you ASAP.