Congratulations!  You’re engaged! As soon as that ring is on your finger, the reality of wedding planning sets in. You dream of getting married in a tropical destination, with the sound of the sea in the background.  

See below for 4 questions to ask yourself before deciding on a destination wedding. 

Destination Wedding1. Are your family and friends supportive of a destination wedding?  

I know, I know…it’s totally your day, and other people’s opinions shouldn’t matter.  However, this question is probably the most important one to consider before putting down that deposit for your beach wedding in Jamaica. 

Destination WeddingThe reality is that not everyone will be jumping for joy when you tell them that your wedding requires a plane ticket, passport, and time off work. Budgets, family commitments, and work constraints sometimes make it difficult for everyone on your guest list to eagerly check the “YES” box on your RSVP card. 

Have a conversation with your fiancé and discuss the possibility that some of your friends and family members may not be able to attend. Will you be okay with that?  

Destination weddings tend to be smaller and more intimate, allowing the bride and groom to spend more time with their guests. Many couples love this aspect, but if not having everyone there beside you on your special day is a deal breaker, you may want to reconsider your decision to have a destination wedding. 

Note: Many resorts are now offering live streaming services of the wedding and reception so that those that are unable to attend can still join in on your special day.

2. Will you be able to release some control of the wedding planning?

When confirming your wedding, you will be assigned a highly trained wedding planner.  Typically, you will begin working with a general wedding planner that is not on site. She will help you decide on your ceremony and reception locations, décor and flowers, menu options and overall theme. 

The timing varies by resort, but many times you will not begin working with this wedding planner until 8-12 months prior to the wedding. You will be introduced to the in-destination wedding team right before arrival and they will assist with helping you make final decisions when you arrive. 

You will be given plenty of time to make all of the decisions for your perfect wedding, but will you be okay with releasing some of the control?

Since you will be planning your wedding from afar, many times you will not personally see the destination and ceremony locations before you arrive for your wedding. Will you be comfortable trusting the wedding team to help you make suggestions based on their knowledge of the resort and experience from other weddings?

Note: Some resorts do offer a “test drive your wedding” program allowing you to visit your resort prior to your wedding, meet the wedding team, view wedding locations, taste cake, and more!

3. Are you flexible with your wedding vision? 

Yes, you have dreamed of this day since you were a little girl. You have Pinterest boards overflowing with ideas and inspiration. Destination wedding packages do allow you to customize your ceremony and reception. However, some décor, certain types of flowers, or ceremony set ups may not be possible in your destination. 

Destination Wedding

You may be permitted to bring items along, but keep in mind you will likely be flying and there will be extra costs associated with checking baggage.

Your wedding planner will certainly work her magic to make sure your wedding matches your vision, however there may be limitations on what can be done and included. The resorts work with some amazing vendors for photography, floral, music, and décor, and many will allow outside vendors that you choose, but it will typically be an extra fee. 

Note: If your vendor is a guest of your wedding staying at least 3 nights, many resorts will waive the vendor fee. Photographers are the #1 vendor that my brides ask if they can bring along! 

4. Are you ready for a seamless planning process? 

Okay, you are right, this is kind of a trick question! Who wouldn’t want a seamless wedding planning process?  Your onsite wedding planner will make the wedding planning seamless and will remind you of everything that you need to consider (many times, her services are complementary and she thinks of everything!)  

Your travel advisor (if you don’t have one, get one ASAP!) will assist with the selection of your destination, resort, and put you in touch with the resort planning team.  She will help with the travel arrangements for you and your guests, answer questions, keep your guests informed, and take care of everything behind the scenes. 

The best partnership will be shared between the wedding couple, travel advisor, and wedding planner.

Destination Wedding

However, if you want to take total control of all of the wedding details, be prepared to negotiate group contracts, book flights for all of your guests, handle passport questions, arrange airport transfers, reserve excursions, record room requests, and be there for travel emergencies.

Note: Be sure that your travel advisor specializes in groups and is highly trained in destination weddings. Not all travel advisors have this training and experience. 

What are the next steps?

Let’s Chat!  The Destination Wedding Specialists at Embrace the Journey Travel offer complimentary consultation calls for wedding couples. During this call, we will discuss your wedding vision and offer suggestions to make it a reality.  You will learn about the planning process and have an opportunity to ask questions. 

What are you waiting for?  Click here to schedule your call!

Thanks to Embrace the Journey Travel Planner, Andrea Cassidy, for writing this blog post for us. You can learn more about Andrea here.