My Vacation Lady gets a good number of calls from couples who dream of getting married on the beach in a tropical island destination. It sounds incredibly romantic and it is. But, is a destination wedding the right choice for your wedding?
Just a couple of things to think of before jumping ahead and booking your destination wedding:
Are you the type of person who must be in control of every aspect of your wedding plans?
Do you want to know exactly what type of flowers and cake and meal you will have? Do you need this to be handled ASAP? If you answered YES, then a destination wedding might not be the right choice for you.
Most wedding coordinators at resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico will not even start planning the details of your wedding until about 60 days prior to your arrival. They are very hard working people who deal with lots and lots of brides and they may not get back to you on what you may consider to be a timely basis. Planning a wedding from thousands of miles away and in a country that may not speak English, is not like running down to your reception hall to talk over the details or running to the florist to see the flowers that you like.
Will you be upset if your grandmother or best friend can’t come to your destination wedding?
While destination weddings are typically less expensive than a local wedding and reception, it is much more expensive for your guests. Not everyone will be able to afford to attend, even if you choose a relatively inexpensive resort and destination. For those without passports, a destination wedding in an island or destination that requires one will add an extra $130+ to your guest’s expenses, if they don’t currently have a passport. On average, for a relatively inexpensive all inclusive resort + airfare, for a 3 night stay, we advise our couples to expect their guests to pay at least $1000-1200+ per person to attend.
Will you need your marriage license right away?
In many cases, especially if you get married in a Spanish speaking destination, the marriage license you receive from your destination wedding will have to be translated. Getting a marriage license can take months, so if you need it right away, please choose your destination wedding location carefully.
Do you have to be married on a specific date?
If you insist on getting married on a Saturday at sunset in June or on Valentine’s Day or a specific date and time, you may need to book your destination very far ahead. Many resorts will open their calendars at least a year out so plan on booking your wedding early. We booked a November 2014 destination wedding for clients in June of 2013. If you need a very close in wedding, you might need to be very flexible on the date, day of the week, time of the ceremony or even resort or island.
Do you need to have a religious ceremony?
In certain destinations, such as Mexico, a Catholic priest will not be able to marry a couple on the beach. It must be in a church. There are only a few resorts in the Riviera Maya that have a church on site for destination weddings.
Do you want a sit down dinner for your guests and a full cocktail hour and band, etc?
When you are looking at resorts, some will offer upgraded packages that will offer a full sit down dinner for a certain number of guests while for others, it will be an additional charge. The same goes for a cocktail hour and music. The FREE packages are typically pretty limited. Be prepared to pay extra for the extra amenities you want.
Do you have family members or friends that don’t get along with each other?
In many cases, where parents are divorced, there might be some animosity between them and the last thing they may want to do is spend a week on a cruise ship or even 3 nights at an all inclusive resort with the ex spouse. That may be something you might want to consider if you have family or friends in this situation.
Destination weddings are wonderful and romantic for the right couple. It’s a great choice for a couple that is very easy going and is looking for a beautiful way of getting married and sharing the memories with those guests that can join them. My Vacation Lady only works with a few select destination wedding couples per year so if you think a destination wedding is for you, Contact Us to schedule your destination wedding consultation. After speaking to you during that consultation, we can certainly help you figure out if a destination wedding is the right choice for you.