My husband and I got married twice. Yes, you read that right. We had a private church ceremony exclusively for our immediate families in December of 2015. I wanted it to be super special and intimate without a crowd watching. We then had our destination wedding in July 2016 at Playa Del Carmen,Mexico. We chose the Azul Fives Resort which is part of the Karisma chain. It was a fabulous experience and I highly recommend getting married there.
Along the journey to the destination wedding I learned the ins and outs. Are you planning a destination wedding or just wonder what it really entails? I have included some pro's and con's along with 10 tips to guide you in your decision.
If you use www.destinationweddings.com, they make it super easy by assigning a certified destination wedding coordinator for you. The wedding coordinator assists in helping you find the perfect resort catered to your specific wants/needs. In addition, the coordinator is in contact with all your guests and takes care of room accommodations, travel arrangements (flights, seat on flight, airport pickup and drop off, etc) and sets up payment plans. In other words, LIFESAVER!
The actual wedding reception is less expensive than hosting a wedding in the U.S.
The scenery is beautiful and makes for great pictures.
It's a great vacation for your guests as they can go on excursions, go to the spa, lay out by the pool/beach or just enjoy the wedding activities.
Depending on the package you choose, there are wedding festivities included before your wedding day. We chose to have a welcome party with fire dancers, a rehearsal dinner and a cocktail happy hour.
For those guests who cannot attend your wedding, some resorts offer a live stream. option.
If you go the all inclusive route (which we did), you and your guests do not have to worry about extra expenses when it comes to food and drinks at the resort.
All of the vendors are there for you. There are packages for dj's, makeup artists, hairstylist, manicures/pedicures and even entertainment for your wedding or wedding events (e.g. fire dancers, mariachi band, mayan dancers, magicians, etc).
The on site wedding coordinators at whatever resort you chose plan your entire wedding! Again, LIFESAVER! My husband and I planned our entire wedding over the phone in about 30 minutes.
You have to be prepared for many friends and family to RSVP as "NO".
All the extra details (entertainment, extra decorations, etc) can add up in price.
Be prepared for rain in tropical areas. Expect daily rain in the summers in Mexico. We initially wanted our reception at the beach but changed it the day of the wedding as there was a 50% chance of rain. We didn't want to take that 50% chance so we chose to have it in the resort's ballroom. I NEVER go with the flow but I had to with this because we had 50 wedding guests and the reception was non-refundable as it would not take place outdoors if it rained. Ultimately, it was a win-win situation,
If you have the ceremony at the beach, be aware that the beach is public. Random strangers walk by and can also just stare at your ceremony if they'd like. Our wedding ceremony took place on a private terrace. Research your options.
10 Destination Wedding Tips
Pick a resort with a variety of ceremony and reception location options. Pick one that you love but be sure they have a backup location that you love as well. Again, we had to change our reception from the beach to an indoor ballroom because of inclement weather.
Know what decoration packages each resort has because you may not like the color scheme even if you love the resort.
You'll have to be okay with the fact that some people may not be able to attend.
Go to the resort beforehand, if possible. That way you can scope out the scene. Pictures can be deceptive.
Know exactly what you want and what you absolutely do not want in terms of ceremony and reception.
Read reviews on trip advisor.
Watch other wedding videos at the resort you are leaning towards on YouTube.
Do not be afraid to ask a million questions. I encourage you to do this!
Give your guests at least 12 months notice. That way its not a surprise and they can save.
Be prepared to pack anything you want at your wedding that are not included in the resort package. This includes but is not limited to: guestbooks, welcome gifts for your guests, extra decorations, photo booth props, cake topper, seating arrangement place cards, etc.
I hope this helps you decide if a destination wedding is for you! I have included some pictures of my wedding below.