I often joke with my friends who live in Jamaica, that they don’t have “seasons”; they simply have sunshine or rain. Of course there are wetter times during the year, but unlike much of the U.S., the temperature in the Caribbean is usually between 75-90 degrees. So is there really a better time of year to plan a destination wedding? Is there such thing as the perfect “season” to travel to paradise? At VIP, we often cringe at the “H” word (hurricane), but many may not realize that hurricane season runs from June 1- Oct. 31. Wow, that is virtually half of the year! But don’t let those months deter you! Most people have no idea of exactly how long hurricane season is; therefore, I must point out that the height of hurricane season is mid-August thru mid-October. September is the month that I have always assumed had the highest percentages of hurricanes effecting the Caribbean/Mexico. In fact, if I used to think that if I had it my way, I would like to avoid planning destination weddings in September altogether but then I started to research and discovered our own VIP statistics and in the past 20 years that I have been in the travel business, there were about 6 hurricanes that I remember completely causing travel nightmares and only 1 was in Sept. Just last year, the one that shut down many islands for weeks, was in the end of August. I guess September isn’t really all that bad. At VIP, we also dread January for fear that snow storms will impact flights and brides may never reach paradise. In actuality, this has happened only 2 times and we ultimately were able to reroute guests through other airports so they didn’t miss a thing.
If you have just read this and are looking at different times of the year to plan your amazing day, and have the ability to start fresh and pick any month, the best months we have found to be “paradise-like” would be: 1st- May, 2nd-November, 3rd-April (if it is not during Easter) and 4th-early June (if the rates are not higher than May). If you want the lowest rates, look at September, and if you want the fewest crowds, look to the first week of December. The most expensive time is Christmas week through New Year’s, followed by President’s week and Easter. If you need to incorporate a holiday so it gives you more time off work, I have found that Memorial Day weekend is rarely priced higher than other dates in May and often overlooked by families planning vacations, so the crowds are minimal.
I got married in the end of June. The weather was gorgeous and though it was hot, it was truly the best time of the year to travel for our children and friends. Selecting a date many times means evaluating costs, weather, and the availability of your guests. Planning 6 months in advance is also key. Are you worried that you picked a date that might be affected by weather? In the last 200 weddings VIP was a part of, only 1 was cancelled due to a hurricane and only 2 had issues due to snow at home (but it didn’t impact their actual wedding). Those are pretty good odds! Maybe mother nature is a true romantic!