Picture this: your toes in the sand, surrounded by palm trees, and the Caribbean Sea as the backdrop when you say "I do" to the love of your life. Many couples dream of having a destination wedding, but when it comes time to actually plan it, sometimes it can be a challenge to get family and friends on board. So, before you think about the details of the wedding itself, ask yourself these questions:
1. Do you want an intimate ceremony between just you and your partner, or do you want family and/or friends there to witness and share the experience with them?
2. If you want people there, who are the essential family members and/or friends?
Depending on your answer to the questions above, only discuss the idea with your partner and anyone who you feel is essential to be with you on that day. The reason I recommend this is because people love to share their opinions, which can affect your decisions on one of the most important days of your life. So, if "Aunt Sally" or "cousin Mike" are not part of your "essential" core group that must be with you on your wedding day, then wait until you and your partner have made a decision whether or not to have a destination wedding before sharing your plan with other family members and friends.
How do you know if a destination wedding is right for you? Your answers to these questions may help you decide:
1. Are you okay with the idea of a small, intimate ceremony? Some couples are fortunate to have most or all of their family members and friends travel with them for a destination wedding. But, on average, most couples will only have 15-25 of their closest family members and friends with them.
2. Are you comfortable waiting to see your wedding location until the week of your wedding? Most couples don't or can't travel to their destination wedding location prior to the event due to financial reasons or time off of work. However, some all-inclusive resorts offer a special package for couples to travel to the resort and "test drive" your wedding - you get to see different ceremony locations, different options for decor, meet with the chef and taste-test different options for food, and meet with onsite wedding staff and vendors to get a vision for what it would be like to have your wedding at that resort. These resorts may also offer a credit toward your wedding for booking your destination wedding within a certain amount of time after your visit.
3. Are you comfortable planning your wedding by phone and email with the wedding department at the resort? Most resorts will have a pre-wedding planner to help you work out the details prior to arriving. Once you arrive at the resort, you will be working directly with the wedding department onsite. Most couples love this process because it is very simple and convenient - all your planning is done in one place!
4. Are you okay with strangers witnessing your wedding ceremony? Most wedding locations at all-inclusive resorts can still be accessed by other guests at the resort. Some resorts may have a semi-private or private area for a wedding ceremony, but the locations at most resorts are not going to be private. So, it's important to decide if you are okay with other guests outside of your wedding group witnessing your special day. Or, more importantly, it is important to choose your resort and wedding location based on the options for a private or semi-private ceremony.
After thinking through these questions, if you have decided to move forward with your plans for a destination wedding, your next step is to contact a travel agent who can help you with destination and resort selection, booking your travel package, and setting up a room block or group code for guests who may be traveling with you. Contact me today to get started!