Here are my favourite tips for planning your destination weddings in the Caribbean
1. Hot Marks the Spot: Wedding planning revolves around setting the scene so what could be more important than the resort itself when planning your destination weddings?! Time and funds permitting, take a “scouting” trip to the resort ahead of time and do some recon – at least that’s how you can sell it to your other half. Are there sufficient activities aside from the wedding ie. excursions, varied dining options, nightlife etc. for you and your guests? How do the resort ceremony location fit into your vision ie. ceremony on the beach vs. the garden gazebo?
2. Do your Homework: Online travel sites such as Tripadvisor offer a wealth of information and reviews. Many of these sites allow guests to upload their own photos along with their reviews. These photos are not polished or staged, and can provide you with a good feel for the resort.
3. When the Time is Right: The Caribbean is a beautiful place, however don’t assume you’ll have sunny, blue skies at any time. Research your location, Hurricane season generally runs from July to October in these warm tropical places. Also, what time of day do you plan on having your ceremony? Sunset ceremonies may seem romantic, however they don’t leave any time for sunset photos (which are spectacular!). Here are some important things to consider when starting to plan your destination wedding day.
4. Your Guests: They love you and are coming to show their support for your marriage, however they are also giving generously of their time and wallets. Arrange the best group rate possible and provide them specific details about the resort. Keep in mind, they are there for your wedding, however they are also there on vacation so don’t overload them with week-long wedding festivities. Also to consider, a wedding welcome gift bag with travel sized items like bug spray, lip balm, Pepto Bismal etc.
5. Legal Requirements: When planning destination weddings in the Caribbean, this is where things become yucky. Different countries have different rules about getting married destination style. Many times, you’ll be waiting for paperwork to be completed and translated. Fees can be involved, even residency requirements. A tip for you and your fiance… 007-it and get married on the sly before you leave your home country. Nobody needs to know and you’ll save so many headaches. This will allow you to enjoy your time in paradise without any legal yuckiness getting in the way.
6. Vendors: The interwebs make it easy to find potential vendors such as photographers (should you bring a photographer to your destination wedding?), DJs, stylists etc. However, with the reliance you’ll have on each of them, it’s important to take the time to read reviews, match their style to your needs etc. Google is great, however I recommend using social media even moreso. Does the resort have a Facebook page or Twitter account? Popular these days are Facebook groups where Brides from a specific resort exchange wedding planning ideas, tips, reviews etc. These are excellent resources to find out everything from photo locations to bouquet options to the best DJ available!
7. Your Dress: I’m a guy so I’ll tread lightly on this one It’s going to be HOT, so select your wedding dress accordingly (this goes for your Bridesmaids as well). Save the waterworks for the pool, you don’t want to be drenched in sweat saying your vows and for all the awesome photos you’ll have afterwards. Speaking for the fellas, please dress us lightly… a suit is gonna be crazy-hot. Snazzy, light linens are ideal.
8. Fair Warning: Once you’ve decided on planning a destination wedding, let your guests know asap. They’ll need time to save up and keep the week open. There is significant investment here, especially when entire families may be coming ie. parents with children.
9. No Shows: Planning destination weddings in the Caribbean has a downside… inevitably there will be friends and family who can’t make it. There can be travel issues, finances, logistics etc. You can’t take it personally, there can be many reasons at play. An option many Brides opt for is a “Home Reception” where they have a reception in their hometown for everyone else to come and celebrate. This is what my wife and I did after our destination wedding in Punta Cana a few years back.
10. Stay Cool: Like any wedding, it’s a huge moment in the lives of any couple. Your week will fly by with all the festivities involved. Sitting on the beach or poolside enjoying cocktails with friends and family is a fantastic experience and as the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun! Stay cool because “everyting irie mon!”
If you have a tip to add please leave a comment below :)
In the meantime, here are a few tips to fuel your planning:
- Song ideas for your walk down the aisle
- Beach vs Garden Gazebo
- Wedding Day Timeline Planning
- Should I bring a photographer with me to my destination wedding?
- Guest OOT Bag ideas
- 7 Reasons why you should have a destination wedding