So, you and your partner have decided on a destination wedding. You both have dreams of reciting your vows under palm trees or maybe making your lifelong promises amidst a lush, green landscape. While either scenario can make for some Pinterest-worthy wedding material, it can be tricky to navigate the planning process in an unfamiliar place.
Regardless of how you envision your big day, there are some major things to make note of before choosing your destination wedding venue.
Consider the Climate
Make sure your ideal ceremony date and your destination’s climate agree with one another. Many tropical locations are affected by hurricane season from July to October, so you may want to consider a safer choice to avoid unnecessary stress. Don’t worry – places outside of the hurricane belt like Aruba or Curacao will still give you tropical vibes without the threat.
If you can’t bear to part with your date or the idea of marrying in an area that’s hurricane-prone, make sure your venue has a specific inclement weather plan with precautions set in place.
Go All In(clusive)
Choosing a resort that’s all-inclusive can mean a few great things off the bat: you’ll be saving money with their wedding packages (be sure to check and see if they offer a free option!), you won’t be constantly pulling out your wallet while away, and you’ll most probably save the trouble of having to research multiple vendors. Most venues will have a wedding package inclusive of various vendor services (flowers, music, décor, etc.) And if they don’t, a preferred vendor list is only a small request away – aka, less stress for you and more time to enjoy your big day.
Ask About a Preview Tour
Believe it or not, a lot of resorts have grown to accommodate destination wedding planning by offering discounted trips to the couple as a site tour. This ‘dress rehearsal’ helps you make sure you’re choosing the venue that meets your expectations. You’ll meet with a resort wedding coordinator that will go over all wedding package details with you to cover any questions, concerns, or pre-wedding jitters.
If this isn’t an option for you and your partner, ask about video-chatting or Skyping with your coordinator. A virtual tour of the grounds will help to give you a better idea of what your big day will look like. Have him, or her, send you as many blueprints or photos as possible so you can get the bigger picture.
Must-Ask Questions for the Venue Manager
Almost every couple comes prepared with a list of questions for their venue manager as part of the planning process, but with a destination wedding, there are additional questions that you should ask to avoid any confusion once you arrive.
- How many weddings do you hold per day?
- How customizable are the wedding packages?
- What is the venue guest capacity?
- What is plan B (and C!) for inclement weather?
- Where else on the resort grounds can photos be taken?
- Can you walk me through a day-of timeline example?
- If I have guests staying at another resort, can they come over for the day for the festivities?
Do Your Homework
One of the most important things you and your soon-to-be spouse can do is to just do your research. Check out reviews of your intended resort, or see if you can find photos of what past couples have done with the venue space. At the end of the day, you want to ensure that you’ll have a great experience to remember, so go with your gut.
Feeling overwhelmed as you prep for your wedding is nothing but natural. Making use of the resources you have will put your mind at ease so all you’ll need to think about is saying ‘I do’!
Megan Velez is the Vice President of Product at Destination Wedding Travel Group, the world’s leading destination wedding and romantic travel planning company. Destination Wedding Travel Group, which encompasses GayDestinationWeddings.com, DestinationWeddings.com, and LuxuriousDestinationWeddings.com, has worked with over 20,000 couples and half a million guests to plan dream destination weddings around the world. For more information, visit DestinationWeddings.com.