Top 5 Things You Need to Know Before Planning a Destination Wedding


Why hello, from the depths of the cobWEBs of our little blog!  This has been a pretttty crazy year and a half! Folks have been procreating over here, having babies, we have started a Cali branch to our wee bitty company, I mean, it’s all good news, and we cannot wait to catch you up!

I’m going to dive right in, here. This is for the couple who wants to plan a destination wedding. Be forewarned, my loves, my friends, and random droppers-by. Destination weddings are NOT the easy way out that they appear to be, unless it is just you, your beau, and some close loved ones.

Here are a few reasons people typically opt for a Destination Wedding:

  1. They think it’s cheaper
  2. They want to minimalize their guest list
  3. They simply love travel and want to have a gorgeous tropical wedding

We have been hired for a few overseas I-Do’s, both as planners and as the design team, and have also been hired to manage the ‘day-of’. There is absolutely no such thing though; if you hire a planner to plan a destination wedding, expect to hire them for the entire time they are there. It is not as simple as a state-side wedding where we only need to run a rehearsal (not the dinner)—and be there on the day of the wedding to make sure it runs smoothly. We need to meet with the hotel staff days before, finalize decor, run the rehearsal and possibly dinner too! It is a lot more work 🙂 —which we are happy to do.

Ok so there are a lot of do’s and don’ts, but here are our top five things we feel you need to know before you consider diving into a Destination Wedding:

  1. Beware of Cultural Differences and Sensitivities

You ain’t Lady Grantham!

People in other countries typically DO NOT operate on our five-star-food-service-or-die rule that we live by in the wedding industry here. It is a simple fact that we have witnessed over and over again. There is this very American sense of urgency that you just cannot expect everyone else to scamper around trying to keep up with in other countries. And yelling at the hotel staff in a resort you have already paid to host your event, is not going to help you. If you cannot take on a go-with-the-flow attitude (not saying you cannot complain)— then be very particular about where you book your destination wedding, and go there before hand to ensure they are up to par with your service expectations.


2. Make sure that your guest itinerary is 100% solid before people arrive. 

This is your guests knowing where they are going.
Trying to add on an event to your weekend, or changing the rehearsal dinner location on the weekend of, can cause a lot of confusion. Save yourself a headache, and completely map out with your planner, every item on that weekend itinerary so that when you print one for your guests, (AND email it beforehand, should anything stupid happen with your welcome boxes)—–they have the latest, and FINAL weekend game-plan! 🙂


3. Try to keep your guests on one resort. 

Most resorts will charge you, or your guests, for a one day access pass to attend your rehearsal dinner, or that day-after brunch. You should be planning top spend a great deal of time entertaining your guests (they flew across the world after all)—so try to make your hotel room block as inclusive of all of your guests as possible. Ain’t nobody got time to pay for a pass and ride in a skeevy cab or moto-scooter to come to your rehearsal dinner!


4. Be prepared to possibly fly in your Photographer, or other vendors that you are super particular about. 

We have had some INCREDIBLE photographers for Destination Weddings, that came at the referral of the venue there (such as the photos featured in this post) — BUT we have also had some that just did not fit the expectations of our clients, and had to fly in a few other vendors. If you are a stickler for great music, and a bit of a DJ snob like Sugar, you will want to fly in a DJ. IF you are basically a beauty queen pretending to be a normal person like our Mexico bride, Ashley, you will want to fly in your own hair and make-up. Consider these things and their cost, before making that decision.


5. Do not assume that the rental and decor items will be cheaper.

THIS is what I think of your $25 chairs!
Duuuuuudette. If you are booking a wedding at a resort, you are paying a premium. Period. And trust and believe if it’s in the Caribbean, or an island like Puerto Rico which is still part of the US, it is not going to be much cheaper than it would be to host your wedding here, and simply trim your guestlist. My jaw unhooked, dropped, and rolled away when I saw the rental prices of some of the items for a recent destination wedding we did. I was like NO, but YES, because we don’t have any other options. They wouldn’t even let me touch the flowers for my bride to keep her cost down. It wasn’t even right. The cure? Ask for their list of rentals and available upgrades BEFORE you book and sign on the dotted line, so that you can get your negotiation on beforehand.
That’s all, Folks! 🙂



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