I thought I would share this with brides-to-be who really are unsure if they want a traditional church wedding. When my then boyfriend popped the question, i was thrilled and excited!! My first thought was, “Wow, I totally wasn’t expecting that!” followed by, “Wedding!!!” “What kind of wedding would we want?”
While weddings are beautiful and special no matter the type you have… We had a baby when we got engaged and I felt like a church wedding wasn’t exactly the thing to do…so we thought destination wedding! A destination wedding would be something I would enjoy regardless, having our nuptials performed somewhere hot, where they took care of a lot of the planning seemed just thing for a couple with a small baby.
Did you know that, approximately 15% of couples plan destination weddings. That’s one in ten couples, an increase of 25% from 2009!!
If you’re engaged, and you think hey, a destination wedding will be fun and save us loads of cash… You might want to reconsider. It turns out, having a destination wedding can actually save some money but it can also cost quite a bit. It a ll depends on where you decide to have it….The Hilton in Bahamas might rack up the cash for wedding and flight quickly!
It takes a bit of research and some decision making. Where do we want to get married? What kinds of things are we looking to do where we go? How many people do we want to invite? Should it be all inclusive? A better price option might be inviting fewer people and not choosing Bora Bora as the destination!
Here are some tips that i learned from planning my destination wedding with my then fiance, who was equally involved in the planning:
What the families want:
Well based on my experience it feels like families seem to like traditional church sorts of weddings. But given our circumstances we didn’t want that. So we decided we are paying for this wedding and kept the family input at bay. That helped lower our stress.
Budget for the wedding:
We really did not anticipate that many people would want to go to a destination wedding as people had all been to most of the destination wedding locations we were looking at…we thought if we really want our families and friends to come…we need to think about a hot, beautiful place with lots of things to do for everyone! So we thought a great deal about this. We came across Costa Rica. It had something for everyone…the rain forest bird watching, volcano’s, whale/dolphin watching and snorkeling, sun, beaches, zip-lining through the forest canopy’s of Monteverde and Arenal where some of the best forest experiences and most reputable canopy tours are in the country. Hiking with a naturalist guide, touring coffee farms, marine tours, rafting raging rivers or soaking in a thermally-heated hot spring are some of the other popular activities.
But what does this kind of experience cost kept running through our minds.
Well we talked to a travel agency who provided us with pricing for various places and Costa Rica was not really more or less for the kind of destination wedding we wanted. Prices can vary greatly from place to place (and even what’s offered within the place), so knowing how much money you’re going in with, and trying to stick to that budget, will help you narrow down your options.
The Destination Wedding Resort Planner
OK now this is an important person to get to know! The person with whom helps you via email and phone calls to organize the wedding. They will help you plan your meal choices, cake, drinks, music, flowers everything. It is very helpful and reduces the stress tremendously. Plus there is no extra cost for this help! YAY!!
We kept the the bridal party small and intimate. That helped with costs, but if you have the extra budget here go as lavish as you would like!
What time of year to have the wedding:
When picking the date, keep weather in mind. Also hurricane seasons, rain seasons, and the 4 seasons… this will help you figure out which is more important to you, a specific date as your wedding anniversary (which means you might skip Florida as an option because, hello! Hurricane season!), or a specific place, which means you need to keep your date flexible.
Also, keep high travel seasons in mind. Getting married during off-peak travel seasons will mean better deals on travel for your guests.
What to wear!!
I think one of the most exciting things in the planning for me was the dress…and the clothing for the groom and wedding party! So fun if you love clothes like I do! Just remember check the weather for your destination, in Costa Rica when we were married in February it was 90 degrees everyday…so it was very HOT and humid! So i knew I needed to pick something light and airy, plus I was getting married on the beach so I knew I had to factor that in. So for us it was casual, laid-back beachfront attire. If you’re flying, steer towards lightweight, wrinkle-free fabrics for easy travel.
Some countries require you to stay there for a certain amount of time before you can be legally wed there. Or you could consider getting legally married in your hometown before jetting off to have the ceremony, that way you’ll be certain everything is legal!
Things to Keep in Mind for Your Guests:
Your guests will already be traveling in some form to your wedding, so pick a place with easy access for visitors (think big cities or places within a short driving distance from big airports).
Send out your save-the-dates as soon as you have the date and place in mind so people have ample time to save up if they’d like to come.
If it’s possible, consider throwing in a few group activities, paid for by you. Besides the dinner/party the night before your wedding and the brunch the day after (which are pretty standard), think about throwing in another group activity that shows off the fabulousness of the destination you picked, like a bus tour into the town, snorkeling or zip-lining.
Lastly, consider greeting guests at your destination with gift baskets in their rooms that include helpful things for the trip, like a map, bug spray, sun tan lotion or bottles of water.
Most important thing….Enjoy one of the most important and wonderful days you will ever have!!!