Marsha’s Top 6 Tips for planning your Destination Wedding!
Congratulations on your engagement! This is such an exciting time as you are about to plan one of the most special days in your life. If your dream wedding has a backdrop of turquoise blue ocean, crashing waves, powder white sand, and a holiday filled with fun for you, your family, and friends here are some great tips on planning a destination wedding.
Tip #1 Find a reputable company to plan your group travel – Getting a group of family and friends together anywhere from 10 -100 guests can be extremely stressful on a bride and groom. Do your research to ensure that you are dealing with a reputable company who has experience in planning destination weddings and group travel. That is a ‘Destination Wedding Specialist” not a Travel Agent. This is a day that you and your guests are going to cherish for a lifetime and we want your experience to be like none other. Ask for testimonials and Credentials.
Tip #2 – Leave the DIY for another day! – Although resorts have wedding planners to help you, it’s strongly suggested to have your hire a wedding planner to do the leg work for you. Keep in mind that a lot of Caribbean countries speak Spanish – So language barriers can be an issue. Also getting responses in a timely fashion is also a challenge anyone will tell you. As your “Destination Wedding Specialist.” They are trained in Travel and Wedding Planning. MSDW as an example, already have relationships established with most wedding resorts and therefore the process is a lot more efficient and less stressful. Also they typically will not speak to you until about 6 – 3 months in advance of the planning. Where as we start a minimum of 1 year in advance. Your specialist will also keep a tally of budget, and work to keep within it. Also it can be over whelming to understand and work through the Wedding Package and decide which is the best one for you. Or whether doing a la carte is best. Just knowing all the in and outs and knowing what things can possibly go wrong is really worthwhile to have your specialist. Of course the Couple is included and making constant decisions all the way through the planning process, this is not the time to be doing the DIY thing. There is no room for trial and error this is a one shot deal. The few couples that chose to do there own planning come back to ask to have it taken over. This becomes a risk after planning has started and some specialist will not accept take over weddings. MSDW is one that has a non-take over policy. Lets face it, you want to spend your Day and your week in celebration with Family & Friends, assured that “All” is booked and taken care of.
Tip #3 – Destination & Resort choices Speak with your Specialist to make the perfect destination choice for you. Countries have different legal requirements when it comes to getting married, so it’s a great idea to familiarize yourself with these so you know what to expect, if you‘re wanting to have a legal wedding in the country of your choice. Typically, couples will do a symbolic wedding so that you don’t have to be worried about the legal requirements. A symbolic ceremony is where you get legally married here in your home town and then have a symbolic wedding in the country you choose. Not to worry though, the wedding will be the exact same as if you were having a legal wedding! This is what the majority of couples do and what is recommended.
Your specialist knows the Destinations and Resorts, and well. After qualifying you – understanding your needs, budget and preferences be able to guide you in choosing the best possible destination and resort. This is where their skill comes in. You can get overwhelmed on your own as you will have many options but not know which to chose or why one may or may not be a good choice for you or for a destination wedding. The internet is great for research and for gathering information, but for your wedding you also need the know underlying things. How to avoid things that can go wrong or most importantly how to prevent them from going wrong. You have to be skilled in the travel and wedding industry. You need to deal with reputable companies that are going to have your back.
Tip#4 – Come Prepared.
Ensure you take the time to review and ponder on things before seeing your specialist. Chat about what destination you may want. Go over your numbers m how many Guests you may have. What cities will they come from? What things are important to you? What overall experience are you looking for? Are you wanting a small intimate experience? Or maybe a mega resort with lots of activities, amenities, dining and more options. Will your group include children?
In other words be as clear as you can before you come in and you will get even more out of your consultation. Be prepared to take notes. Have any questions ready.
Tip #5 – Give you and your guests enough time to plan – An ideal amount of time for you, your guests is 18 months to a year. This will give you enough time to send out your “Save the Date” cards, your invitations, and allow everyone time to plan.
Also and importantly to get the “Early Bird Discounts“ the tour operators will offer. By booking in advance you can get this discount that can be anywhere from $250.00 – $750.00 per person. Also you want to book early so that you your specialist can get your desired wedding day booked off and your favorite venues booked off. We don’t want to have to disappoint you.
Tip 6 – Have fun! Remember to enjoy the process !
It’s easy to get caught up in the decision making and stress of it all. But learn to “Trust” your specialist.
If I can say anything, this is what I would say. Brides in particular are known to get caught up in the stress of it all. Part of it is just not trusting and allowing your professional to take care of all. They know what they are doing that is why you came to them in the first place. They know already what things can possibly go wrong and how to handle them if they do. All the planning in stages, and in order of priority. See our Blog on time line, for more details on this. “You” will make all the decisions. “You” will be given all the options. We are taking care of all the planning and all the deadlines. We want you to enjoy the process. So when it gets 30 days prior, just relax, all, always comes together. Relax and enjoy this is an experience you can always cherish and make it fun. Leave the Stress to the Specialist, trust me we are used to it! That is why you hired us! And when you are happy we are happy! Just anticipate the Day!
I hope you all find this helpful!