You have always pictured yourself on a gorgeous beach with the person you love saying “I DO”. You have the ring, and you know what you think your destination wedding should be like, but what do you do next? Do you pick a date? Do you choose a resort? Should you pick the Island or country first? Where do you begin?
So many times our clients come to us with a date or a island in mind. Sometimes a sentimental date can actually cause your location options to slowly dwindle. Take 11/11/11 for example, as we have many weddings scheduled on that date and almost have run out of our preferred locations. This makes it a bit more tricky to budget and pick the resort that truly is best for you. We have also encountered a couples’ dream island to have impossible hurdles to jump over that planning a wedding there caused so much additional stress.
There are some quick ways to narrow your search. First, prioritize the time of year you want to travel. Remember that hurricane season is at its peak from Aug-Oct. However, if your budget and the budget you have set for your guests isn’t all that big, then mid August to the end of October can provide you with many deals. Next, the rules for getting married on many islands and in different countries vary. If you can only go for a short period of time, you certainly don’t want to consider an island like St. Bart’s because they have rules that might have require you to stay there for 30 days before you can legally get married. Another aspect to consider is the day of the week. Your guests might really only be able to attend if they can travel over a long weekend. Typically Friday and Saturdays are ideal. Remember though that this means, those days of the week tend to get booked for wedding times the quickest. Also the most pursued time of the day (4pm-5pm) often fills up the fastest. This is the time where you can still get lovely photo’s of the cermony and yet enjoy the sunset for photo’s after the vows take place. Memorial Day weekend and Columbus Day weekend tend to be really great holidays to travel over because they are not celebrated in other countries/islands and children have off of school, so this means it is easier for your guests to travel and then they don’t have to take more time off of work or have their children miss too much school work. It also isn’t priced as a peak holiday time so you can really maximize these dates to your advantage.
These are some points to consider and rank in ‘your desired’ order when you are choosing your destination:
1) Are you looking for a family friendly property or adults only?
2) From your airport is a nonstop flight a deciding factor?
3) What budget are you hoping to meet for your guests attending?
4) How many days prior to your preferred date can you arrive?
5) Are you looking for all inclusive?
6) Do you want a wedding in English?
7) If blood work is required, are you ok with that?
8) Is the time of day for the ceremony the most important thing?
And there are some other factors that can create a little more time/effort—if you have been married before, or are not a U.S. citizen, please let your travel agent know as this can impact the location we first suggest.
Once you have your location/resort, then you can certainly start planning that ceremony you have dreamed about!