Do you dream of walking barefoot towards your fiancé on the white sand beaches of the Caribbean, with the turquoise ocean as a backdrop, and the wind blowing through your hair? Or do you envision gliding down a stone pathway to a garden gazebo surrounded by tropical flowers and luscious greenery? No matter what you envision for your wedding day, we are here to make your dream destination wedding come true!

WHAT IS A DESTINATION WEDDING?

A destination wedding is when you travel to a destination other than your or your fiancé's home town to celebrate your wedding. It might just be the two of you or it may include a group of family and friends. Often when we think of the phrase "destination wedding" a vision of the beach and palm trees comes to mind, but that doesn't always have to be the case: a destination wedding is any wedding held in a location in which you and your guests must travel to get there. A destination wedding is a unique option if you want to do something different and memorable for your special day. Many couples will choose a destination that has special meaning to them, while others may choose an entirely new location that neither person has visited.   

SHOULD WE BRING GUESTS ALONG?

This is completely up to you! Some couples dream of eloping and reciting their vows just the two of them, while others will invite 100 of their closet friends and family to join them. There are no set rules when it comes to destination weddings. However, if you do intend to invite guests, most couples will discuss their wishes with their closest family and friends ahead of time to make sure that the most important people (parents, brothers, sisters, best friends) can (and will) travel with them. The majority of my wedding groups range from 20-50 guests; however, I've had some as small as 8 and as large as 70 guests!

IS A DESTINATION WEDDINGS CHEAPER THAN A TRADITIONAL WEDDING?

Yes and No. This really depends on the time of year, destination, resort, and number of guests attending your wedding. Often destination weddings are less expensive because there tend to be less guests to accommodate. However, your destination wedding can be as elaborate and expensive or as simple and inexpensive as you'd like.

DO YOU CHARGE ANY ADDITIONAL FEES TO PLAN OUR WEDDING?

Typically I do not charge any additional fees for my professional services beyond the quoted price of your group travel package. 

On occasion, if I deem the request to be complicated and feel that the request would require a large amount of research and planning, I may charge a $200 non-refundable planning fee. This planning fee would be applied to your final payment. If you decided not to go forward with me as your travel agent, this deposit would be retained for my services rendered.

Please note the request for this fee would be given to you after our initial consultation prior to any work being completed. Should you decide to proceed a Plan to Wed Fee form would be sent to you to be completed and submitted prior to me providing a quote. 

SHOULD I HIRE A WEDDING COORDINATOR?

This will depend on your situation. Typically, brides will not need to hire a wedding coordinator as the resort will provide an on-site wedding coordinator.  If you choose to get married off-resort or choose a non-all-inclusive villa style accommodation you may want to hire a coordinator to ensure that all of your vendors are on the same page.  It can be difficult to find vendors and to take care of the little details while planning a wedding from afar, and a wedding coordinator would be able to connect you with reputable and preferred vendors.

SHOULD WE BRING OUR OWN VENDOR FROM HOME (DJ/PHOTOGRAPHER)?

Most resorts will provide all of the vendors that you may need for your wedding. Typically, you will not have to bring your own vendor from home; however, some couples do choose to bring their own if they are a family member or good friend. It is important to keep in mind, though, that many resorts already contract these services out to local businesses and may charge you a vendor fee if you bring your own vendor. This fee varies from resort to resort and from destination to destination, but ranges from $200 to upwards of $900 in some instances. If the vendor is a guest of yours and is booked in for a minimum number of nights then the resort may waive their vendor fee, although this is not always the case. It is best if you (or I) check with the resort in advance of making a decision.

HOW DO WE SELECT THE RIGHT DESTINATION?

There are many fantastic destinations to choose from throughout the Caribbean, Mexico and beyond. Choosing the right destination is probably one of the most difficult and time-consuming decisions that you will make during this process. Are you looking for fabulous beaches, great sightseeing options, a budget-friendly hotel or a private villa on a secluded island? Do you need a family-friendly property that will cater to your smallest guests, or is something more elegant and adults-only more to your liking? Based upon your wish list I will help to guide you to the right destination.

HOW FAR IN ADVANCE SHOULD WE PLAN OUR DESTINATION WEDDING?

Most commonly, destination weddings are booked anywhere from 12-18 months in advance; although I have successfully planned weddings in as little as 4 months. However, with the increasing popularity of destination weddings I recommend planning at 12 months in advance to ensure best the best availability and pricing. If you are planning on inviting friends and family this will also give them time to plan for time away from work or babysitting (if required) and it also gives them time to finance the trip.

WILL THERE BE ANOTHER WEDDING AT THE RESORT ON THE SAME DAY AS MINE?

More than likely there will be another wedding on the resort on the same day as yours, but don't let this deter you or make you feel as though your wedding won't feel special!  There are a few resorts that will host only one wedding per day, but most resorts perform up to three weddings per day and sometimes more on special occasions.  Because they have so much experience, however, you will feel as though you are the only bride in the world!

HOW DO WE NOTIFY GUESTS?

Some brides will send out "Save The Dates" with basic information (e.g. wedding location, date and website information), while others will send out detailed invitations including wedding location, date, pricing, deposit date and amount. Typically you will want to inform your guests as early as possible so that they will be able to make the appropriate arrangements early on.

CAN GUESTS NOT STAYING AT OUR RESORT STILL ATTEND OUR WEDDING?

For guest who plan on attending the wedding, but will not be staying at the same resort, a day guest pass will be required to be purchased. These range in price from $65 to $100 depending on the resort. You may opt to purchase these for your guests or you may want to let them know up front if they chose not to stay with your wedding group that there will be an additional cost for them to attend. Keep in mind if you have chosen an adults only resort, children may not be able to attend the wedding so this is something to discuss with friends and family members early on.

CAN WE STILL PLAN A HONEYMOON AFTER OUR DESTINATION WEDDING?

Most definitely! Many brides and grooms will chose to stay an additional few days or even a week after their wedding. If you have a larger wedding group attending you will definitely want at least a few days to enjoy yourselves as newlyweds. Some brides and grooms will remain on the same resort at which they were married, while others opt to change resorts (e.g. change from a family oriented resort to an adults-only venue).

WHAT IS THE BEST MONTH FOR A DESTINATION WEDDING?

This will ultimately depend upon your destination. For sun destinations, late April, May, October, and November are very popular. For most places this is at the very start or the very end of their rainy season so the pricing tends to be better overall. That said, if you want to ensure the best weather, the peak dry season in the Caribbean and Mexico is from late December through to early April. You may also find more budget-friendly pricing in the Caribbean and Mexico during July and August. Just be prepared for the heat and humidity when selecting your wedding dress!

HOW DO I GET MY DRESS TO MY DESTINATION WEDDING SAFELY?

Many of the Canadian tour operators provide brides and grooms with special perks.  This includes a special overhead cabin for your wedding dress so that you won't have to worry about other passengers placing their heavy carry-on luggage on top of your dress!

WILL I NEED A PASSPORT?

In short, YES, unless you are planning on destination wedding within Canada. In order to leave the country (even to the USA) you will require a passport and, depending on the destination, it may be required that your passport is valid for at least 6 months from your departure date. If you don't have a passport or need to renew it you can click here to get more information and/or to apply for your Canadian passport.

HOW DO WE CONFIRM OUR WEDDING DATE?

Once you have decided on your destination, resort, and wedding date and time, Carina will confirm that the date and time are available at your chosen resort and will book this on your behalf with the on-site wedding coordinator.

WE WANT A DESTINATION WEDDING!  WHAT’S OUR NEXT STEP?

You can click here to start planning your dream destination wedding with Carina! Or you may contact us by phone at 902-414-4270 or by email at cshortliffe@travelonly.com. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you begin your journey to planning your dream destination wedding!