Today I’d like to wish my husband a happy anniversary! In 2010 we decided to skip the big expensive wedding and get married in the islands. We weren’t looking to elope, in fact it was a big deal for us to have our friends and family with us. So we gave everyone a year to save, and 45 people travelled to Jamaica to watch us get married. Maybe it was a good excuse for a vacation, maybe it was a good time in everyone’s life to go, or maybe they just loved us enough to be part of our special day. For whatever reasons they chose to come, we couldn’t have been more blessed on our special day.
But let’s get down to it. Destination wedding aren’t always easy. So if you’re thinking of doing a destination wedding, I have a few pointers!
- If you know you’ll have a bunch of people who will chose to come along and share the day with you, don’t get married on a couples resort. Don’t get me wrong, Sandals went out of their way to accommodate our big group. But what we failed to realize, was everyone was there to spend time with us, but Sandals is really set up for 2 people trying to get away. Finding a table that would hold more than 4 people or a restaurant that wanted to take on 45 people at once wasn’t in their standards. They made us feel welcome and went out of their way. For that I am grateful, but looking back, I wouldn’t put them through that again.
- The all inclusive is perfect. Even though it was challenging with so many people, we never had to worry about where our friends were going to eat, drink or be merry!
- It runs on island time! We filled out a whole questionnaire before we left and we thought we made every decision we needed to on the wedding. But when we got there we had several meetings and we felt like we weren’t getting to see our friends and family. So be prepared. This is still a wedding and you still have to decide how everything is going to shake out. It’s still work, so make sure you prepare yourself and your family for your absence.
- You have to be there a few days in advance. We were getting married on Saturday. So we had to be there on Wednesday. Which was fine, that gives you a couple buffer days incase your flight gets cancelled (which ours did – more on that another time). And to make all the decisions I mentioned above.
- Pick somewhere that is close to the airport. We had family that came for a long weekend. The time of year we planned was great for us, but not always great for the careers and lives of your guests. So if you select somewhere close to the airport and easy to get to, it makes it possible for friends and family to come for a short trip.
- One of the other blessings of Sandals was “stay at one, play at 3”. We wanted to get married on one of the nicer resorts close to the airport. But you can’t expect your guests to shell out a ton of money just for your location. So there was a smaller Sandals near by that some of our friends and family stayed at. The shuttle brought them over in the morning so they could stay with us all day, and took them home at night. So when you are planning, do your research to see if there are budget friendly options nearby that your guests can stay at.
- If you don’t want children at your wedding, plan your destination at a place that doesn’t allow them. We love all of the kids in our life, and we would have been fine with them being a part of our day. But if you’ve ever been on vacation to a resort or cruise that allows children, you know that you will encounter other people’s children. Maybe it’s for you, maybe it’s not, but we didn’t want to get married in a beautiful location while sponge bob entertained kids at the pool 100 feet away. However, if you are going to get married at an adults-only resort and you have family that just barely misses the cut off, you can arrange for them to be on the resort for a day for the wedding.
- Pay for the photographer. It goes by in such a flash, make sure you have someone documenting your day for you. Those who can’t make it will want to see the photos, and if your parents or grandparents aren’t healthy enough to travel, they will want the photos.