Why I Chose A Destination Wedding
What’s not to love about a gorgeous backdrop, the perfect weather, and your closest family and friends gathered together to celebrate you and the one you love? But is planning a destination wedding all it’s cracked up to be?
My husband and I were married last April, but we planned our wedding twice, every last detail was decided upon- twice. Why, you ask? Because my husband and I are gluttons for punishment. To be honest, when we first started planning our wedding we tossed around the idea of a destination wedding but I poo-pooed it and crossed it off the list of options. I had only been to one destination wedding in Mexico and assumed that a destination wedding meant you had no choice but to pick a hot, sticky, tropical locale, use tropical flowers and invite only your parents. None of that sounded fun. I can’t stand sweating, I hate tropical flowers, and sometimes a couple just needs their friends with them on their special day. It never dawned on me that we could pick any place we wanted! So we planned our entire wedding in Cleveland; a picturesque downtown garden wedding with a 1920’s themed outdoor reception at a mansion. Cakes were ordered, deposits were putdown, everything down to the napkins had been selected. And then it happened. We received an invitation to a close friends’ destination wedding in Charleston, SC. That wedding was the beginning of the end for our Cleveland wedding; on our way home we frantically started canceling our local wedding and planning our own Charleston destination wedding.
Now that I’ve planned both types of weddings I can say my destination was better than I could have dreamed! Obviously I’m no wedding planning expert but if you’re thinking about planning a destination wedding here are my tips:
Location, location, location. If you have the option and the budget to visit your destination and check out/compare a few wedding venues I highly suggest doing so. We didn't have that option so we chose our venue based on their location and their amenities and relied heavily on photos and customer reviews of the property. Remember that it may cost your guests extra to not only get to where you are but to stay there as well. With that being said, if your wedding venue’s lodging options seem a little steep it’s nice to offer other hotels or lodging options in the area that can accommodate a variety of budgets.
Become BFF’s with the staff they know the good stuff. The event coordinator at our resort was super accommodating and helped me with any questions I had, and I had a lot! She also had a list of vendors in the area that they frequently worked with and that knew the property well. Again, do your research on the vendors. I dropped the ball on that one and ended up HATING our florist. Our bouquets were nearly dead on arrival, our boutonnières fell apart directly after the ceremony, and our centerpieces were not anything like what I asked for. Make sure to send your vendors pictures of exactly what you’re looking for so there is no confusion. If you do end up choosing a tropical wedding venue most all inclusive resorts have vendors on staff that you can work with for flowers and cakes and such. Also, the staff was able to tell me their peak wedding/tourist season, what to expect weather-wise, the cool places only the locals go, and where to avoid and when.
Your guests are important. We wanted our wedding to be a small intimate gathering with our closest friends and family so we cut our guest list from 175 down to 35. It was so important to us to let our guests know how special they were and spend time as much time with them as possible since they traveled far and wide to spend their time with us. Choosing a city where there are lots of activities and things to do during the down time is key. We included in our gift bags a list of places our guests could visit, places to eat, and fun activities to do in the area. We also tried to plan a few fun but optional group activities for our guests such as spending time together at the pool or a group dinner.
Relax. Being so far away from our venue made it almost impossible for me to worry about the mundane little things that could have been blown out of proportion. Because we were at a disadvantage of being so far away from our venue we had to plan and strategize down to the last minute of the day. Once we got there being such a gorgeous place, and finally being able to see the venue in person, helped me to set my worries aside and just let things happen. Of course things did go wrong, it’s a wedding not a miracle. I got the worst case of strep throat I’ve ever had and lost my voice the entire week leading up to the wedding. But it didn’t matter because I was in this beautiful place, surrounded by people I loved most in the world, marrying the man of my dreams.
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