If you just got engaged, Congratulations! This will be the happiest and most stressful time of your life! Well, at least I can say that about my entire experience. Lucky for you, I’m here to help with the beginning phase of your planning.
There are different routes you can take when planning a destination wedding. You can go the expensive or the affordable route. My fiancé and I, of course, went the affordable route since buying a house was our priority after the wedding.
Below are some tips that I took when it came to planning for our wedding that helped me stay organized and on budget.
Step One – Deciding on a Location
I already had an image in mind when it came to walking down the aisle that left my fiancé in awe. With that in mind, I wanted to have a garden wedding that had an ocean view. In all honesty, I didn’t want to drag my gorgeous dress and have my heels sink into the sand. The search then began for a Caribbean destination that could accommodate me with all my wants and needs.
To keep the cost fairly low, we decided on an all-inclusive resort. After researching the different type of resorts in the Caribbean, what stuck out the most to us was Sandals.
Sandals and Beaches have a total of 18 different resorts on seven of its islands. The islands are:
To narrow down our search, I began to look into their wedding ceremony locations. Sandals offered numerous gazebos that were either in the water, on the beach, or in the garden. Once I spotted what I was looking for, it was a wrap since my search was officially over. St. Lucia Regency La Toc would be the future location of where we would soon share our vows.
When considering your wedding location, keep in mind where in the world you live in. If you live on the East Coast, consider having your wedding in any of the Caribbean islands.
Vice-versa, if you live on the West Coast, consider having your wedding in Hawaii or Mexico.
Also, consider and research the marriage laws when having a destination wedding because they differ from location to location.
Either way, it’s whatever you want to do, right? If cost is not an object, go ahead and have that Hawaiian wedding you dreamed of even if home is on the East coast.
Step Two – Deciding on a Date
Once we had our heart set on a St. Lucian wedding, it was time to make a decision on a date. Just keep in mind, depending on the time of year, it could be high season or low season at the resort. Also consider how the weather is that time of year when picking a date.
For example, we originally wanted a September wedding, but hurricane season is typically around that time in the Caribbean. With that in mind, we had to go change-up our dates and prompted for a March wedding instead.
Step Three – Deciding on Accommodations
Part of the decision when it came to choosing a Sandals Resort is that they offered a Beautiful Beginnings wedding for free when you book three nights or longer. This packaged included the following:
A few of our other expenses with the wedding came from our photographer, videographer, dinner reception, music, etc. Maybe I’ll discuss everything in detail in a future blog post.
Besides the resort accommodations, also plan ahead with your airfare. When purchasing tickets, research how many weeks in advance it’s best to buy. In our case, it was best to buy 2 to 4 weeks in advance before traveling to the Caribbean. Shop around for deals and compare other airfare sites before you make a commitment.
The cheapest days out of a week to purchase tickets are on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Flying on a Friday and Sunday will always be the most expensive day to fly due to the volume of travelers.
We decided to buy our tickets about 4 months in advance to keep the price low. We flew out on a Tuesday morning and returned the following week on a Wednesday afternoon.
Step Four – Send Out Save the Dates/ Wedding Invitations
With our destination wedding in the works, we wanted to give our guests enough time to plan out whether they would be attending or not. Our save the date and wedding invitations were combined and sent out 6 months in advance. It’s never too early in my opinion to send out your invites!
The majority of our wedding attendees decided to turn our wedding into their vacation, so it was a good idea that we did send them out way in advance for them to make their travel plans.
Below is a picture of my DIY save the date, wedding invitation, and rsvp card.
Don’t know what to expect, Ask Plenty of Question!
Since we planned for a St. Lucian wedding, the only problem was that we weren’t physically going to set foot on the resort until a few days before our wedding. I had a ton of “what ifs” in my mind and anxiety was starting to set in.
The best thing I ever did was to write out all of my questions and concerns, and our wedding planner was glad to address all of them.
I suggest doing so as well. It’s better to be prepared than surprised at the outcome.