I can still remember sending out the Save the Dates to all our friends and family. I was so excited. I opened up the calendar and started to count the days until we would leave. I remember thinking, ” wow, I have so many months to get organized”. I knew there was only so much I could do that far out and all I could do was “day dream” about what was going to take place. It was like I was taking baby steps in slow motion along the way. Friends would slowly book their rooms and family members would call, but there were still those who told me they would certainly be there and as the months passed by, I began to realize that I had to just plan for a certain amount and “add on” later. I prepped my “out of town bags” and started to make a welcome letter.
Before I knew it, we were less than 90 days out. That is when those little baby steps got bigger and bigger. I had to really begin to plan the events. Having a destination wedding enables you to spend more than just 4 hours with your guests like traditional weddings normally do. BUT, having 4 or 5 days with guests meant that I needed to have some events/meetings places/ itineraries of activities detailed. Looking back, I really should have not been so worried about this. Some of the best times during the trip were spent hanging at the swim up bar with our crew! We did plan a “welcome dinner” on 1 night and a group sunset snorkel cruise on another night but aside from that, we just kind of spread the word where we would meet after dinner, or for breakfast. We were able to get 3 tables at the Hibachi restaurant one night and so about 35 of us caught food in our mouths and wore silly hats. Others who didn’t go to that dinner enjoyed a private dinner at one of the restaurants…after all this was their vacation too. But, if you had told me not to plan or make an agenda, I probably still would not have listened. I was so worried that someone would feel left out or not informed.
60 days prior it was time to start the race. I had to pick the dining choices for the reception, make sure all the flowers were paid for, create a DJ list, send down our rooming list to the resort with any specifications or requests for rooms, and ultimately, the entire wedding package and resort stay needed to be paid in full. Oddly, we still had people booking into our group at the 45 day mark. I have learned over the years that is very normal and asluck would have it, my guests were no different. This meant that I had to change the seating for the reception, prepare more out of town bags, and make additional payments. This is to be expected. So for all you brides out there, if you know it is normal for your guests to do this, it makes the annoyance easier to deal with. Trust me, I was more than thrilled the last minute guests came, but when you are stressed, little things can totally throw you off balance.
30 days prior, I started to pack (yes that is right!). I had so much to bring and custom fees are horrible if you ship things, so I knew I wouldn’t be shipping things down. I picked up my dress and our daughters dresses and made sure all the guys (hubby, plus 3 children and my darling brother) had all of their clothes ready and that everything fit! I had ordered these amazing program fans and when they arrived, I was mortified to find that they totally needed to be put together. Each panel needed to be punched out like paper dolls, and tied with a tiny little ribbon and thank goodness I ordered 100 because about 30 of them tore when I was separating them. When I was told I could pick them up the day before we were set to leave, I laughed because I don’t do things last minute. It was a good thing I picked them up the weekend before we left because it took hours for my daughter and I to put these suckers together. I am totally not a DIY gal! However, the pictures of these fans in the white basket I brought were gorgeous and they did come in handy too!
But in the days preceding our arrival, I still had so many unanswered questions. How would the reception look (the location??) Was there a back up spot in case of rain? I hadn’t picked out the flavor of the cake, or met with a photographer, I didn’t know if the DJ could use our IPOD or if they would have the music we wanted and how was I going to get all my welcome bags sent to my guests? I was starting to get hives! (not good for a bride!). It amazes me that for months I felt like I was twiddling my thumbs and then POOF, the day was here! I am also continually surprised at how the resort wedding planners MAGICALLY throw these marvelous events in such little time and with such little contact with the bride. Needless to say, it all came together. It always does and like childbirth, you forget the sheer pain of it all!
If you are planning your wedding and feel like the wedding coordinator is really slow to respond, or keeps saying that you make “those” decisions when you arrive, PLEASE trust me, this is totally true. They work on a different clock. It is even worse than Caribbean time…I call it DW time! It drags on for months and then like you are fast forwarding a tape, moves really quickly in the last weeks prior to your wedding. There are things you can do to prep so you aren’t so anxious, but if you EXPECT things to work this way, you are far less likely to get upset when things start heading in this direction. Hopefully, VIP can eliminate some stress and just know we are here to listen to you and hear what you need! It is an awesome journey, with many peaks and valleys, but if you take baby steps, you can prepare for that last GIANT leap!