Let me guess... you are envisioning the white sand squishing between your toes, your veil blowing in the warm breeze while you walk down the aisle towards your husband-to-be with the sun shining and the turquoise water shimmering in the distance.
Sure this sounds idyllic and romantic. And you are probably excited and ready to jump right into the wedding planning. But have you thought about the logistics of a destination wedding and what it means for you and your guests?
There are a number of things you should consider before deciding if a destination wedding is right for you. I have compiled a list of things to think about, drawn from my personal and expert experience, which I hope will help you make the decision!
1) Ensure your reasons for having a destination wedding are in line with your expectations.
Think of the reasons why you want to have a destination wedding. Is it that you are thinking a destination wedding will be stress-free and less expensive than a traditional wedding? Is it that you and your fiance met at the destination? Does the destination have special meaning to the two of you?
Destination weddings can bring about their own challenges that may cause some stress including objections from friends and family or the stress of trying to plan from a far with vendors where there may be language barriers. And although destination weddings can be less expensive than a traditional wedding it is often because you have less guests attending, not necessarily because the wedding venues or vendors are less expensive. The good news is you can typically make a destination wedding as inexpensive or costly as you'd like.
2) Discuss your plans with your parents and important family members and friends who are on your “must attend” list.
It is important to discuss your plans with your parents and most important family members and friends to ensure that they will be able to attend. You may (or may not) encounter objections from these people and you need to make sure that you will still be happy with your decision even if those people can't attend. Keep in mind that when you have a destination wedding you are asking a lot of people in terms of time and money.
3) Understand that not everyone will be able to attend your wedding.
More often than not when couples announce their decision of a destination wedding to family and friends everyone is on board and so excited for the couple. Don't be disappointed when it comes time to put down deposits on the vacation package and you find that a number of those guests tell you they no longer can attend. Not to say that this will happen, but from personal and expert experience I have found this to be a common trend. But don't take it personally. As we stated above you are asking for people to take time off of work, use their vacation time, and spend a significant amount of money for your wedding. It is not that they do not want to attend, it is most likely a mix of the logistics of getting time off of work, time away from family, and finances. Keep in mind no matter what happens you and your fiancé are there to celebrate your marriage union and you will have the most amazing time with the friends and family members who do attend.
4) Let go of control and relax!
For “A” type personalities planning a destination wedding can be difficult. You will most likely be planning from a distance and will not have complete control over your wedding details. You will have to leave those details to your local wedding coordinator. If you can let go of the reigns and go with the flow though you will have an amazing stress-free and beautiful wedding! And don't worry, you will still be able to add your own personality and finishing touches to the wedding!
5) Have a back up venue / plan for your wedding ceremony.
When we envision a beach wedding we usually see a picture perfect day with the sun shinning and not a cloud in the sky. However, it does rain in the Caribbean. By doing your research and choosing to travel in the “dry” season will help you to limit your chances of rain. Some couples choose to “chance it” and travel during the rainy season because you can often receive great value on your travel packages during this time. We always recommend choosing a resort or venue that has a back up plan in case of inclement weather. This way no matter what mother natures has in store for you on your wedding day you can guarantee yourself an amazing wedding day. It will also help to eliminate any last minute stress if you have a back up plan in place!
If you are still reading this and thinking that a destination wedding is for you, then congratulations!!! You have just made the best and most exciting decision! Destination wedding are special and are amazing experiences for not only you but also your family and your guests! You will not regret your decision and you are well on your way to creating lasting memories of a lifetime for you and your family!