At All Inclusive Weddings, we have been handling all the ins and outs of destination weddings since 2002. As seasoned destination wedding specialists, our job is to stay in the know about all things destination wedding planning.
Over 20 years ago, when we first started planning group travel and weddings, there were website forums that you could read and a few blogs. Today, everything revolves around social media, so the modern day forums are now Facebook Groups, and there are lots of them out there. They are as overwhelming as a Google search.
All that being said, the single most common question we see is:
"Any recommendations for a destination wedding in (this country)"?
Finding a tie-the-knot spot is one of the first tasks to cross off your list. Weekend weddings at popular venues are often booked months in advance, and in popular resort areas, hotels and other lodgings fill up quickly as peak season approaches. Until you know where you’re getting married, moving on to other decisions, such as ordering invitations and finalizing the menu, is next to impossible.
Unfortunately, when it comes to locations, there is a lot of bad advice out there. Don't get us wrong, they mean well, but that does not change the fact that regardless of their good intentions most of the time, the recommendations are based on their one and only experience with their wedding or a couples trip they took last year.
Choosing a resort for a vacation for you and your spouse is one thing, but choosing a resort for you and 60 of your closest friends and family is a WHOLE different ball game.
Tradition favors having the wedding in the bride’s hometown, but that’s not always feasible or desirable. If neither of you has roots in your present community, you may opt for your favorite vacation spot - based on availability, this may be a challenge.
So even though we've stayed and visited hundreds of resorts over the last two decades, we would not make a recommendation without a clear understanding of your needs, budget, wedding vision and your group's dynamic.
SEVEN MOST IMPORTANT QUESTIONS, THAT NOBODY IS ASKING YOU, BEFORE MAKING RESORT SUGGESTIONS:
What is your wedding vision?
All too often, people begin planning their wedding by setting a strict budget
and then trying to shoehorn in all the things they think they should have in
their wedding. This process doesn’t work and can leave you feeling like you
can’t afford to have your dream wedding in any way, shape, or form.
Why is your wedding vision important? Because not all resorts are made equal. If you want a Sky Terrace wedding and the resort does not offer it, it should not be in the running. Your vision matters even if you just want a "simple beach wedding.
How many guests are you expecting?
Don't go overboard! Make sure and hold off broadcasting your plans, even tentative plans, until you know how many of your 500 closest friends you can actually invite.
How many guests you are expecting is huge. While most destination wedding groups have an average of 50 guests, if you are expecting 90, 100, 150, etc. not every resort will be able to accommodate.
Depending on the resort and the wedding locations they have, most resorts have a cap which is directly related to their backup plan (in case of rain or other weather-related issues). Why fall in love with a resort that can't handle your group and have to start over?
What is your guest's budget?
Before talking to a travel agent or planner, it's atleast a good idea to have a range. We have had brides choose a more expensive property so their guest list does not get out of control, while others choose a resort below their usual comfort level and lifestyle so most guests can make it.
There is no right or wrong idea, but you don't want to sacrifice your wedding day by going to a resort that you or your guests would not enjoy. This is one of the key skills and where brides usually have that AHA! moment on how this part is key in choosing the perfect location.
What is your group dynamic?
Taking your wedding abroad does not take away the logistics of planning a special event. How far are guests willing to travel? How long is your group likely to stay? Is dad or grandma in a wheelchair and will need an elevator or easy to walk grounds? Is there a club at the resort or will the group be ok with going to bed at 10:00 PM?
This is where we sit down and ensure your entire weekend is delightful for everyone. Trust me there will be times where we give you permission to be selfish and focus on what YOU want but keeping your guests happy is key; after all, they are paying for their vacation to attend your wedding.
It's important to consider all the restaurant choices for your guests. Are a-la-carte restaurants reservations only? Will the group have the same buffet all week? Does your group need a burger joint where they don't have to dress up? Answering these questions will help you meet your guest's expectations and avoid stress on your big day.
How generous is the resort with brides and grooms? This one may not be known if you are just starting to research or plan your destination wedding but here is the deal: Most resorts can perform a beach wedding, and then there are resorts that specialize in weddings.
This means they have more inventory to customize your vision, they have the trained staff to run your events, and most importantly, because they specialize in weddings they actively seek group business which means more money in your pockets (savings). We can work with any resort really, but as someone who planned his own wedding, we know that every penny counts and well, realistically we don't want to pay for things we don't necessarily have to, right?
YOUR Best Interests
Lastly, while we know the focus often is in saving your guests money, we want to keep your best interest at heart and help you save money in some areas so that you can splurge on your must-haves! As you can see, despite the generosity and free sharing spirit that goes around in most bridal groups we want you to use caution and do your due diligence by connecting with someone who has planned more than one wedding in their lifetime.
For many reasons, the "perfect resort" for a bride with a $5,000 budget might not work for the bride with a $20,000 budget and vice versa. Think of your resort as if it was your local wedding venue. The most important piece of the puzzle for your budget, your vision, and your wedding guests' experience.
We hope you found this helpful! Contact All Inclusive Weddings for more information about booking your dream destination wedding.